Innovators and Educators
On November 5, 1804, Emperor Alexander I granted a Royal Charter to Kazan Imperial University. This date is now known as the birthday of Russia's second oldest university, an institution fated from its birth to play a prominent role in developing Russian science, education and culture.
Since its foundation, the University has been the centre of the Kazan Educational District, a district covering the vast regions surrounding the Volga River, including the cities of Nizhniy Novgorod, Yekaterinburg, Perm, Orenburg, Penza and Tambov, as well as areas of the Caucasus, the Urals, and Siberian provinces reaching as far as the Pacific. During the first century of the University's existence, its professors, managers and alumni greatly contributed to the development of new universities in Russia. One of these luminaries, professor Vasiliy Florinskiy, was appointed Head of the West Siberian Educational District in 1885, opening Tomsk University in 1888 and becoming that university's first Rector. Professor of medicine Vasiliy Razumovskiy was appointed the first rector of Saratov University (1909) and later the first rector of Tbilisi University (1918), eventually also contributing to the opening of Baku University in 1919. In the 19th and early 20th centuries our alumni have headed Moscow's Lomonosov University (mathematician and astronomer Dmitriy Perevozchikov), Saint-Petersburg University (botanist Andrey Beketov), Kharkov University (linguist Karl Feugt) and the Novorossiysky University at Odessa (geologist Nikolay Golovkinskiy). Professor of medicine Nikolay Bushmakin helped establish Irkutsk University in 1919. A KSU graduate from the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics, Professor Semyon Saikin, was the first rector of Chuvash University.
The University's history abounds with the names of prominent people who have worked here and created numerous research schools of international acclaim. Since the 1920s, over 50 KSU professors and alumni have been elected to the Soviet and Russian Academies of Sciences, many of them going on to head distinguished research institutions.
It is noteworthy that during the course of the development of the city of Kazan, at the heart of which KFU is situated, of the city's dozen 'older' universities, five have been raised as Kazan's daughter institutions. Still today the professors and students of the city's Medical University, Technical University (the former 'Aircraft Institute'), Technological University (the former 'Chemical Institute'), Agricultural Academy and Institute of Finance and Economics consider KSU their second home.
The University reflects and exemplifies classical Russian culture in all senses, and is a masterpiece of architectural classicism. It was originally housed in a large and beautiful mansion of the Imperial School built in 1796, later reconstructed together with three neighboring houses as the present KFU main building. During the rectorship of the great mathematician, the father of non-Euclidian geometry and devoted librarian Nikolay Ivanovich Lobachevskiy, the University's classical architectural ensemble was completed with the addition of a chemistry laboratory, an anatomy theatre, library and an astronomical laboratory. The Faculty of Geology later occupied the building of an 18th century theological seminary. In the 1950s KSU built the Faculty of Chemistry and since the 1970s has added two high-rise blocks, one for the Faculty of Physics and the other for mathematics and humanities. Also constructed were a cultural and sports complex and a few new dormitories.
It was at the University that theatre and musical performance evolved in Kazan. The University's atmosphere of creative searching and imagination has always resulted in an aesthetic flair and a propensity to artistic creativity. Musical masters consider it an honor to perform at the University's historical Assembly Hall, with its superb acoustics.
Kazan, a major Eurasian crossroads and formerly the capital of a Khanate that succeeded the ancient Bolgar Kingdom, the empire of Genghis Khan and the Golden Horde, was conquered in 1552 by Ivan the Terrible as the first large-scale acquisition of the future Russian Empire. In the 18th and 19th centuries the city became the centre of culture and European enlightenment for Russians, Tatars and other Turkic and Finno-Ugric peoples living between Moscow and the Urals. Today the renaissance of Tatar language and culture, which have greatly contributed to the development of modern Russian Federation, is in many ways aided by the University's involvement in all spheres of the Republic of Tatarstan's intellectual and social development.
Kazan is one of the most economically dynamic and culturally diverse cities in Russia, and is nowadays recognized by many as Russia's 'third capital'. With the long-term peaceful coexistence of its Christian Russian and Muslim Tatar populations, Kazan has had the unique honor of being simultaneously an eastern outpost of Christianity and the northernmost Islamic cultural centre on the planet. This vibrant mixture of cultures has welcomed the modern world: with its forty institutions of higher education, numerous theatres and sports facilities, modern industries from oil production to aircraft engineering and a rapidly developing tourist infrastructure the city buzzes with life while cherishing the University as its special pride. In return, the University breeds good citizenship and encourages insightful visions of peace and harmony for a diverse world in the age of globalization.