The University of Naples was established in 1224 and it remains one of the world’s oldest universities to be founded by a head of state after Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Sicily, decided to create an educational institution that was not significantly influenced by the Pope.
However, it was not until 1987 that the university was renamed Federico II, an acknowledgement of its founder.
Today the university consists of three semi-independent divisions - the Division of Science and Technology, the Division of Life Sciences and the Division of Social and Human Sciences – which are responsible for the research and teaching of 13 schools and 82 different departments. Over the years the University of Naples has had several venues but today there are three major campuses, one in central Naples, one in the Fuorigrotta district in the west and one on the hill of Camaldoli in the north, with the latter also hosting the School of Medicine.
In the long history of the University of Naples Federico II there have been some very influential alumni, including philosopher and theologian Saint Thomas Aquinas who not only studied but later taught at the university. Other notable alumni include former Italian presidents Giovanni Leone, Enrico De Nicola and Giorgio Napolitano, Estee Lauder CEO Fabrizio Freda and astronauts Samantha Cristoforetti and Luca Parmitano.
Building relationships both nationally and internationally are high priorities and the University of Naples Federtico II is constantly developing exchange programs and cooperative projects. For instance, "Gulunap" is an initiative that was started in 2004 that aims to train doctors from Uganda and neighbouring countries to increase the number of medical professionals in some of the poorest areas in central and eastern Africa.