University of the Andes was founded on November 16th, 1948 by a group of young men under the leadership of Mario Laserna Pinzón. It was the first private higher education institution in Colombia that was non- denominational and independent from traditional political parties, as well as from social or economic power groups. It was precisely due to these characteristics, that Universidad de los Andes was able to propitiate a visionary and avant-garde educational program, at a historical moment in Colombia, in which other private universities were bound by political stife
Within this historical context, according to Francisco Pizano de Brigard, one of the founders and former president of the university, “Universidad de los Andes’ birth did not just spring from the desire to found another university, or from a purely educational interest, but from the intention of building a new country with the purpose of shaping and educating the new generations for a new nation.”
This is the reason why Universidad de los Andes’ purpose continues to be that of providing a high quality education that will help to close the knowledge gap between Colombia and the latest and most advanced scientific knowledge available in the world. From its onset, Universidad de los Andes established agreements with the universities of Illinois, Pittsburgh, and Texas so that its students could study abroad. This was a very innovative program at that time.
With this vision – that would later be adopted by other Colombian universities as well – Universidad de los Andes began its work in 1949 with seven programs, 79 students, and 16 professors.