History of the VMU Agriculture Academy
Origins. The history of our school is inseparable from the history of Lithuania and it reflects all the dramatic shifts in the history of our country. The beginnings of higher education in agriculture are associated with the old Vilnius University that had the Department of Agriculture (Agronomy) under the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics in 1819-1832 and with the higher education courses launched in Kaunas in 1920 and the University of Lithuania established in 1922.
Agriculture Academy in Dotnuva. The Agriculture Academy was established on September 3rd, 1924 in Dotnuva as a result of the reorganization of the Agronomy and Forestry Division under the University of Lithuania (Kaunas) and Agricultural Technical School of Dotnuva. Its Statute of Establishment was approved by the Lithuanian Parliament Seimas in July of the same year. The celebratory constituent sitting took place on October 15th. This day is considered to be the date of establishment of the Academy. The first rector of the Academy, Prof. P. Matulionis became one of the members of the first Council of Professors appointed by President A. Stulginskis. The situation was very difficult in Lithuania at that time, and the Government did not have much capacity to support the new school of higher education. Nonetheless, the Academic continued growing and becoming increasingly stronger, giving rise to the new generation of researchers in the area of agriculture. 125 graduates passed the final exams and defended their final theses at the Academy of the interwar period (1924-1937).
Unfortunately, the peaceful operations were interrupted by the WWII followed by the Soviet, German, and then again Soviet occupations. The Soviet occupation with the genocide of the Lithuanian nation became one of the hardest moments in Lithuania’s history. A lot of professors, teachers from different schools were deported to the Siberia prison camps, and majority of them never came back. A lot of academic workers fled to the West.
The Lithuanian Academy of Agriculture in Kaunas. In 1945, the Academy was relocated to Kaunas, into the building of the former Ministry of Agriculture on Kęstučio street. At the beginning of 1946, the Academy received a part of Noreikiškių soviet farm for student practical training. In the same year, the engineering faculties of Agricultural Mechanization and Hydrotechnical Amelioration and Land Management were established at the Academy. The formation of the Academy in Kaunas was completed in 1947.
With the number of students growing and the part-time studies division established, the premises available in Kaunas no longer provided the necessary capacity. It was also problematic to drive the students to the training farm in Noreikiškės. It was therefore decided to build a separate campus of the Lithuanian Academy of Agriculture in Noreikiškės.
The Lithuanian Academy of Agriculture in Noreikiškės (currently Akademija). The cornerstone of the new building was laid down on October 15th, 1957, and the relocation into the campus was completed in 1964. The master development plan of the Academy was approved in 1969 and was partially implemented with certain amendments in 1989. The campus became home for the buildings of the Faculty of Water and Land Management and Faculty of Economy including the classroom and training laboratory wings. The Ministry of Forestry commissioned construction of the building for training forestry. 9 dormitories and Akademija settlement were built. At present, the settlement is home for many professors, associate professors, teachers, and other staff of the Academy. The training polygon was established and the experimental station was developing.
After the restoration of Lithuania’s independence, the Academy shifted to the new educational system involving new qualification degrees (Bachelor, Certified Specialist, Master) and new concepts (model, credit). The fundamental theoretical subjects became the basis of the studies and research. At the same time, applied studies were executed under the decision of the Faculty boards. Hence, the Agricultural Academy of Lithuania became the university-type school of higher education conducting research and preparing multidisciplinary, highly profiled specialists in land, forest, and water management capable of dealing with theoretical and practical tasks related to the agricultural branches.
The Lithuanian University of Agriculture. As a result of different reorganization processes and collaboration with the European universities, the whole team of the Academy decided to change its name. On October 8th, 1996, the Lithuanian Academy of Agriculture was renamed and became the Lithuanian University of Agriculture under the Decision of the Lithuanian Parliament Seimas.
Aleksandras Stulginskis University. At the decision of June 28th, 2011 of the Lithuanian Parliament Seimas, the Lithuanian University of Agriculture was renamed into Aleksandras Stulginskis University.
Vytautas Magnus University Agriculture Academy. On January 1st, 2019, the University became Vytautas Magnus University Agriculture Academy. This was the result of the reorganization of the Lithuanian universities, whereby three universities (Aleksandras Stulginskis University (ASU), the Lithuanian University of Education (LEU), and Vytautas Magnus University (VMU) officially united into the single consolidated Vytautas Magnus University at the beginning of 2019.