Simón Bolívar University (USB) is a public higher education institution in Venezuela which often ranks well among similar institutions in Latin America. It has also consistently made appearances in the world rankings. Its specialisms include architecture, urban planning and engineering.
USB’s campuses lie in two of the country’s northernmost states, Miranda and Vargas. Its main campus is in Sartenejas, south of Caracas city centre. The nation’s political, industrial, cultural and educational capital, home to a mild climate and some of the best food and museums in the country, Caracas is separated from the sea by the Venezuelan Coastal Range of mountains, which reach 2,765 metres in altitude.
Initially known as the University of Caracas, USB opened its doors in 1970. In 1977, it added a second campus in Camuri Grande Valley, in the far northern state of Vargas, on the Caribbean Sea.
USB is named after independence hero Simón Bolívar, who, among other things, also gives his name to Venezuela’s currency and the Bolivian nation state. A general famous across the continent for fighting the Spanish empire, he is credited with liberating Venezuela, Colombia, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Panama from colonial rule. There is a statue of Simón Bolívar on campus, while other symbols include the Hydro-Kinetic Sculpture, an unusual water fountain designed by then architecture student Gabriel Martín Landrove in 1975 but not finished until 16 years later.
Like other Venezuelan universities, USB is predominantly publicly-funded, although alumni donations have increased as public investment has fallen.
Arguably, its most famous former student is long-time president Hugo Chávez.