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The University's Seventh Century Anniversary Celebrations

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The 7th Century Anniversary Celebrations
Occasion for the University's Revival

In 2008, the University of Perugia will celebrate the Seventh Century Anniversary of its founding. The "General Studium", established by the Papal Bull issued by Pope Clement V in 1308, marks the official birth of the Perugian University which, despite lacking official recognition, had already begun to operate as a community Studium in the 12th Century. It is an event of exceptional importance: it is not only celebratory, but it is also an occasion to formulate a development plan which will serve to revive the functions of the University with objectives that involve regional institutions and which take into consideration the actual social, cultural and economical realities of Perugia and Umbria.

This message was launched by the Honourable Rector, Professor Francesco Bistoni and Maria Rita Lorenzetti, President of the Regional Council during a press conference held at Palazzo Murena on the 2nd of July 2002.

"We have begun organising in advance - explained the Rector - in order to best prepare a plan of initiatives which engages not only the University, but also all public and private parties interested in the University now and above all, in its future". The occasion is a unique opportunity - he emphasised -, because it corresponds with the process of academic autonomy already begun and because within it, the University is seen as engaging in the outlining of new significant strategies. The growth and modernisation of the University are goals that require the involvement of institutions that don't take for granted the University simply because it exists, but instead those that are called upon to make their contribution, putting into play various collaborators including people active in the region, from the cities to the entrepreneurial associations. In this era of competition- added the Rector - the regional, multi-campus University will only enjoy success if it has at its disposition adequate financial and human resources that enable it to react reasonably rapidly to new demands and requirements.

"We have accepted - explained Francesco Bistoni - the Region's challenge with a pact for the development of Umbria, sending a strong signal: the University wants to play a leading role in the Region's development. The revival of the University is an essential factor, therefore, not only for the development of the University itself, but also for that of Umbria and it requires abandoning extreme ideas and respecting individuality.

How to support the plan for revival?

"The first problem is posed by financial resources and to this end - the Rector announced - consideration has been given to the possibility of a special law being proposed by Umbria's Regional Council, using as an example that which was created for the Ninth Century Anniversary of the University of Bologna. This law approved by the Parliament in 1987, provided for the financing of the organisational costs of the events as well as the restoration of buildings, and for other initiatives aimed at promoting the history and activities of the University. Moreover, the laws pertaining to education should provide that legacies and donations of personal items and property to the University be exempt from taxes just as contributions and gifts made by individuals.

The Celebrations

The celebrations include a broad programme of activities: national and international conferences with the participation of experts and scholars from all around the world, the conferment of Lauree Honoris Causa, or Honorary Degrees, meetings on relevant topics of interest for students and in particular, on the improvement of the University's logistical services.

Support from the Regional Government

"We appreciate and we support, as a Region, the initiatives that the Rector has promoted - stated President Maria Rita Lorenzetti: It is good, in fact, that the tools and the resources are being prepared in advance to launch the revival plan for the University." With regard to the right to university study, President Lorenzetti stated that she thinks it is necessary to do more to guarantee students with appropriate level services.

The Management of the Celebration Activities
The Rector, the Honourable Francesco Bistoni, announced that an institutional coordinating committee, composed of representatives from the Ministry of Education, the University, the Regional government, the Provincial government, the cities of Perugia and Terni and the other cities hosting university branches, is currently considering various initiatives.

Additional special committees will be charged with the task of planning academic related initiatives and individual events, leaving adequate space also for initiatives and events organised by students.

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