The third oldest university in Chile, the University of Concepción has long been one of the South American country’s most well-known institutes of higher education. It is mostly based in the littoral city of Concepción, 500 kilometres south of the capital, Santiago. Concepción, at the mouth of the River Biobío, is a lively cultural and commercial city with a young population and busy nightlife, thanks in part to the university.
It opened its doors in 1919 following demand for a higher education institution outside the capital. Over the decades that followed, the institution expanded its presence across the country, opening campuses in the south Chilean cities of Chillan and Los Ángeles in 1955 and 1962 respectively. The Chillan campus, located 115km north of Concepción in the nation’s agricultural heart, places a particular focus on agriculture given the city’s status as an agricultural centre. A lively city, Chillan is also well-known for its murals and markets. Los Ángeles, around the same distance south east and a gateway to Laguna del Laja National Park, is a quieter town with roughly around 1,000 UC students. The institution is well regarded among other universities in Chile..
Its large, green campus has many highlights, including the House of Art, a widely-visited gallery which contains arguably the most complete collection of Chilean art in the country, as well as the famous Presence of Latin America mural by Mexican painter Jorge González Camarena, and the Clock Tower, built in 1943.
Famous alumni of the university include the politicians Edgardo Enriquez, Miguel Enriquez, and Jacqueline van Rysselberghe, who went on to become mayor of Concepción for a decade, plus cartoonist Pepo and poet Elicura Chihuailaf Nahuelpán.