The Autonomous University of Yucatán is the largest such institution in the state. It has six campuses, including five in the state capital of Mérida, and a Multidisciplinary Unit in Tizimín, east of Yucatán.
Its history can be traced back to 1611, when an imperial decree allowed for the founding of the College of Mérida to educate local people. Over three centuries, the college went from being run by the Society of Jesus to becoming secularised and liberalised.
The university was established in 1922 by then-governor Felipe Carrillo Puerto as the National Southeast University, which taught medicine, engineering, jurisprudence and the arts. A reorganisation of the university began in 1938, when it was renamed the University of Yucatán. It was granted autonomy in 1984.
The University’s 15 faculties provide 21 undergraduate and 26 postgraduate courses: from skeletal anthropology to habitat design. According to its mission statement, it exists for humanistic education, to produce graduates who contribute to human development and face local, national and global challenges.
Its "Vision 2022" programme aims to make the university the most socially significant higher education institution in Mexico. Its alumni include historian Silvio Zavala, and politicians Rolando Zapata Bello and Angélica Araujo Lara.
The university is recognised for its regular Ballet Folklorico, and its sports mascot is the jaguar.