It’s true that the University of Stuttgart is a forward-looking and pioneering institution. However, by delving in its past we can gain a better insight into what it is like in the present. So here is a short overview of the most important milestones and people.
Cannstatt Fair, Arabian horses, the Wilhelma, University, the Swabian-Hall breed of pigs: we are not as special as we might like to think. The University of Stuttgart was established approximately 201 years ago, at which time it was known as the “Vereinigten Kunst-, Real- und Gewerbeschulen” (The United Art and Technical Colleges) and was located on the Königstraße.
It was founded by King William I of Württemberg, who was also responsible for the the Cannstatt Fair, the first Arabian stud farm to be seen outside of the Orient, the name of the Wilhelma zoo and the Swabian-Hall breed of pigs. Married to Katharina Pawlowna, who among other things established the Württembergische Landessparkasse (National Savings Bank) and the Katharinenhospital, it was thanks to him that his subjects survived a famine. So the fact that he laid the foundation of today’s university was surely not something that occupied his thoughts for long.
The “University of Stuttgart” Only Dates Back to 1967
Electrical Engineering and Siemens:
Werner von Siemens, who not only discovered the dynamo-electro principle, but also coined the German term for electrical engineering “elektrotechnik”, was awarded Germany’s first professorship in electrical engineering in Stuttgart during the nineteenth century. His first lecture took place at the university in 1882, at a time when the institution very much geared towards technology. It wasn’t until 85 years later, when the non-technical study programs on offer had developed to such an extent, that the “University of Stuttgart” came into being.
The First Female Students:
Women were first admitted to the university in 1905. The first two women however, left the university after just two semesters and as the subsequent female students took state examinations, it wasn’t until 1914 that the first female student received a degree in Stuttgart. As an engineer with a diploma, she was also the first woman to receive a PhD at the university. The first proper (not unscheduled) female professor was appointed in 1978. Even in 2014, the percentage of women at the university was just under a third (32 percent), and approximately eight times as many men teach at the university compared to women, so obviously there’s a lot of catching up to do! The gender equality commissioner and the Equal Opportunities Office are particularly committed to a gender-oriented university development at the University of Stuttgart.
The “Zukunftsoffensive” Was Prevented by Student Protests
Between Technology and Intellect:
A quick glance at the university’s more recent history reveals its current, more concentrated attempts to specialize in technical degree courses. The “Zukunftsoffensive” (future offensive) project, which among other things was intended to do away with teacher training programs in humanities subjects was prevented thanks to massive student protests.
It wasn’t until after the Second World War that the first halls of residence, the canteen, both of the K buildings and the library were built. 1957 began with the clearance of part of the Pfaffenwald forest to make space for the construction of the Vaihingen Campus, where around two thirds of all university institutions are located today. Student halls of residence were also constructed here, in addition to numerous auditoriums. The “Stuttgart Universität” station was added in 1985. Further changes are due to take place by 2030. A figure reaching into the hundreds of millions is to be made available for structural improvements alone.