Intellectual Paradise

Javish Rodriguez Rivera

March 21, 2012

Historical and Travel

100 miles away from San Juan, there is a place that many people know by many names. The place was established by a collaborative work of three people, Jose de Diego, Carmelo Alemar and D.W. May. It is also known as being a place of cultural exchange and by creating new life changing experiences.

In 1899, the city of Fajardo gave the offer of 15,000 dollars to the Insular Board of Public Instruction to establish the Normal School. In 1900, Samuel McCune Lindsay commissioner of public instruction said “(…) such an institution would contribute largely to making the Island better known (…)”. The Normal School opened in August 15, 1899.

The Normal School was closed two years later because of its low enrollment of students.  People said that the Normal School was located too far and the transportation to get to the school was almost nonexistent, since most residents lived in San Juan. These caused them to move the Normal School to the city of Rio Piedras in 1901 and it was provisionally located in the old Convalescence House of the Spanish governor.

In March 12, 1903, the Law 20 “A Bill to Establish the University of Porto Rico” was approved by government of the Unites States of America. Section 2 of the law stated, “That the University thus established shall provide the inhabitants of Porto Rico as soon as possible with the means of acquiring a thorough knowledge of the various branches of literature, science, and useful arts, including agriculture and mechanical trades and with professional and technical courses in medicine, law, engineering, pharmacy and the science and art of teaching.”  By 1911 the University of Porto Rico consisted of three academic units, located in Rio Piedras, the Normal School, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Liberal Arts.

In 1908, the Board of Trustees cancelled the courses of agriculture because of the low enrollment of students. The Department of Agriculture dedicated its full time to work on the farm, which was a laboratory to the students for demonstrating how a successful farm could be worked. After that, they hoped to create an academic program that attracted new students.

In 1909-1910, the university reopened the courses in agriculture, established a milking industry laboratory and started an experimental program of sowing. That same year, 1910, the Insular Legislature bought a land of 100 acres in the city of Mayaguez to move the Department of Agriculture. By 1911, the students of the department are moved to Mayaguez, now called College of Agriculture, and in 1912, the university changed the name to the College of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts.

Nowadays the institution is known as the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, more commonly called as “Colegio” (College) or referred to as Mayaguez. The campus after 100 years has left behind its small college structure and has become a big university campus with more than 11,000 enrolled students throughout its four academic units. The academic units consist of Agriculture (1911), Engineering (1942), Art and Science (1959) and Business Administration (1970).

The campus offers a variety of events besides the academic formation. Each week, on the website of the campus, all the events are posted. It offers from seminars, workshops and symposiums to kayaks on different cities, movie nights, fair of different themes, cycling on different cities, talent show, sports, competition and more.

Students, faculty and non-faculty members agree that the campus is the best campus in engineering and science of the University of Puerto Rico (UPR). They also agree that their experience in the university has been life changing., a fourth year student, Phillip Ongay  said, “This campus has given me the experience of having an independent life, giving me the opportunity to grow as an adult.”

Dr. Jose Arroyo a faculty member affirms, “The best thing that this campus offers is its culture and human development, achieved by the interaction of the university community.” Antonia Carrero a non-faculty member shared, “My best experience is to have students come to my office and to help them achieve their personal and academic goals.”

The Luis de Celis Hall inaugurated in 1937. Originally it was home to the Department of Agriculture and Biology

The Luis Monzon Hall inaugurated in 1939. It originally was home of the Department of Engineering.

The Fountain of the Eternal Alumni represents a tree that is made up of students who dedicated full time to the development of the campus that are roots and branches of the campus. In the background the tower of the campus in the Jose de Diego Building




  1. verorios1 said,

    April 14, 2012 at 12:00 am04

    It has a lot of infomration it looks like you really now what you talked about. Its very good

  2. Edna Cruz said,

    April 14, 2012 at 12:00 am04

    Great story on the origins of our Alma Mater! Truly informative and serves to remind us, the students, how our Colegio came to be. A little suggestion though, try to fix the pictures a bit, they seem too big to fit in the page.

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