The University of Vilnius, one of the oldest and most famous establishments of higher education in Eastern and Central Europe, was founded in 1579. Functioning for a long time as the only school of higher learning in Lithuania, it was a preserver of cultural and scientific traditions, and has played a significant part in the cultural life not only of Lithuania, but the neighboring countries as well. During more than four centuries of its existence, the University of Vilnius has seen periods of growth and decline, revival, and closure
The University is a unique witness to the history of the Lithuanian state. In 1579, King Stephen Bathory’s charter transformed the Jesuit college, founded in 1570, into an establishmentof higher education, Academia et Universitas Vilnensis Societatis Jesu, the transformation being confirmed by Pope Gregory XIII. Although being away from other European cultural centers, the University equaled other famous European Universities and had outstanding professors and students,some of who were: the poet Mathias
Casimir Sarbievius; the famous professor of rhetoric and philosophy Žygimantas Liauksminas; the author of the first history of Lithuania Albertas Vijūkas-Kojelavičius; professor Martin Smiglecki, whose book “Logics” was very popular in United Kingdom and France, and many others.