Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

Infobox University
name = Catholic University of Leuven
name_native = Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
latin_name = Universitas Catholica Lovaniensis

motto = "Sedes Sapientiae" (Latin)
mottoeng = Seat of Wisdom, Seat of Knowledge
established = 1425 / 1834 / 1970
type = Independent/Partly state funded
endowment = 586.9 million EUR
staff = 8,617
rector = Marc Vervenne (2005- )
city = Leuven
country = Belgium
campus = Leuven, Kortrijk
students = 31.420
doctoral = 3.677
affiliations = Coimbra Group
website = [http://www.kuleuven.be/english/ www.kuleuven.be]
footnotes = Data as of 2006

The Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (in short K.U. Leuven) is the Flemish offshoot of the oldest university in the Low Countries which was originally founded in 1425 (see Catholic University of Leuven). Centrally located in the historic town of Leuven in Flanders, the K.U. Leuven is officially a Dutch-speaking institution. With more than 31,000 students in 2006, the K.U. Leuven is also the largest university in the Low Countries. The university of Leuven was for centuries a major contributor to the development of Catholic theology. With predecessor institutions dating back to 1425, the K.U. Leuven and its French-speaking counterpart, the Université catholique de Louvain, are regarded as the oldest existing Catholic universities in the world.

The Katholieke Universiteit Leuven also has a campus at Kortrijk, formerly known as Katholieke Universiteit Leuven Afdeling Kortrijk (KULAK).

General description

In 2006, more than 30,000 students were attending classes at the 14 faculties of the K.U.Leuven, about 4000 of whom were foreign students, many of whom were able to follow courses offered in English. Most courses, however, are taught in Dutch. The K.U.Leuven is a member of the Coimbra Group (a network of leading European universities) as well as of the LERU Group (League of European Research Universities). Since August 2005, the university has been led by Marc Vervenne who replaced former rector André Oosterlinck. The Belgian archbishop, Cardinal Godfried Danneels is the current "Grand Chancellor" and a member of the university board.

The K.U.Leuven is dedicated to Mary, the mother of Jesus, under her traditional attribute as 'Seat of Wisdom', and organizes an annual celebration on 2 February in her honour. On that day, the university also awards its honorary doctorates. The seal used by the university depicts a sitting Mary as Sedes Sapientiae, in a vesica piscis shape.

In Flanders, the K.U.Leuven is nominally Catholic, whereas the University of Ghent and the University of Antwerp are officially neutral on issues of religious/philosophical orientation, and the Free University of Brussels is Freethinking. [The Vrije Universiteit Brussel [http://www.vub.ac.be/english/home/about.html explicitly subscribes] to a principle of Freethought enunciated by Henri Poincaré] However, nowadays these classifications are less relevant than they once were. Students and staff tend to choose a university rather for pragmatic reasons - such as the quality of education, the distance to the campus or even the offered opportunities - than purely for religious or philosophical reasons.

The K.U.Leuven is a strongly research-oriented university, and among its achievements is to be reckoned among the top universities of Europe. In the 2007 Times Higher Education Supplement (THES) university world ranking, the K.U. Leuven was ranked 61, making it the highest ranked university from Belgium as well as being the 6th highest ranked university in Continental Europe.


:"For the history of the pre-1970 university see Catholic University of Leuven#History."

In 1968 tensions between the Dutch-speaking and French-speaking communities led to the splitting of the bilingual Catholic University of Leuven into two "sister" universities, with the Dutch-language university becoming a fully-functioning independent institution in Leuven in 1970, and the Université Catholique de Louvain decamping to a greenfield campus site in the French-speaking part of Belgium. Pieter De Somer became the first rector of the K.U. Leuven.

In 1972 the K.U. Leuven set up a separate entity, "Leuven Research & Development" (LRD), to support industrial and commercial applications of university research. It has led to numerous spin-offs, such as the technology companies Option and Metris, and manages tens of millions of euros in investments and venture capital.

On 11 July 2002 the K.U.Leuven became the dominant institution in the "K.U.Leuven Association" (see below).


:"For the history of the university library prior to 1970, see Catholic University of Leuven#Library."

When the university was split, those books that could not be divided otherwise (e.g. according to the wishes of the benefactors who donated them) were divided as follows: those with an odd-numbered shelfmark stayed in Leuven, while the even-numbered ones moved to Louvain-la-Neuve. This gave rise to the widespread myth that every other volume was separated - splitting up runs of journals and volumes of encyclopedias - but since such series each had a single shelfmark this was never in fact the case. The library now owns about one million works.

The K.U. Leuven's Faculty of Theology library is among the most comprehensive in the world.


* [http://theo.kuleuven.be/page/en/ Faculty of Theology]
* [http://www.hiw.kuleuven.be/eng/ Institute of Philosophy]
* [http://www.law.kuleuven.be/canon_law/ (Extraordinary) Faculty of Canon Law]
* [http://www.law.kuleuven.be/english.phtml/ Faculty of Law]
* [http://www.econ.kuleuven.be/eng/ Faculty of Business and Economics]
* [http://www.kuleuven.be/facdep/social/en/ Faculty of Social Sciences]
* [http://www.arts.kuleuven.be/english/ Faculty of Arts]
* [http://ppw.kuleuven.be/ppw/english/ Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences]
* [http://wet.kuleuven.be/english/ Faculty of Science]
* [http://eng.kuleuven.be/english/ Faculty of Engineering]
* [http://www.agr.kuleuven.ac.be/english/ Faculty of Bioscience Engineering]
* [http://med.kuleuven.be/index_en.html Faculty of Medicine]
* [https://pharm.kuleuven.be/english/index.htm Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences]
* [http://faber.kuleuven.be/english/ Faculty of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Sciences]

Interfaculty and interuniversity institutes

* [http://www.kuleuven.be/cetra/index/ Centre for Translation Studies]
* [http://kadoc.kuleuven.be/eng/index.html KADOC Documentation and Research Centre for Religion, Culture and Society]
* [http://www.kuleuven.be/ei/ Energy Institute]
* [http://www.kuleuven.ac.be/ces/ Centre for European Studies]
* [http://www.kuleuven.be/cwte/index.php?LAN=E Centre for Science, Technology and Ethics]
* Interdisciplinary Centre for Law and ICT

Notable alumni

:"For pre-1970 alumni see Catholic University of Leuven#Notable alumni."
* Leon Bekaert (b. 1958), economics, businessman
* Paul Bulcke (b. 1954), economics, businessman
* Jan Callewaert, commercial engineer, founder of Option N.V.
* Mathias Cormann (b. 1970), Belgian-born Australian Senator
* Jo Cornu, civil engineer
* Joan Daemen (1965 - ), cryptographer, one of the designers of Advanced Encryption Standard (AES).
* Noël Devisch(1943 - ), agriculture
* Julien De Wilde (1967 - ), civil engineer, businessman
* Gabriel Fehervari, (1970 -) law, businessman
* Willy Geysen, law, head of the Centre for Intellectual Property Rights (CIR)
* Dr. A. Q. Khan (1935 - ), Founder of Pakistan's Nuclear Program.
* Rudi Pauwels, pharmacologist, (1960-) co-founder of Tibotec and Virco
* Frank Robben (1961 - ), law, general manager of the Belgian Crossroads Bank for Social Security
* Vincent Rijmen (1970 - ), cryptographer, one of the designers of Advanced Encryption Standard (AES).
* Francine Swiggers, economy, businesswoman
* Els Vanheusden, physician, General Manager of FlandersBio.
* Frans Vanistendael, law
* Marc Van Ranst (1965-), physician, virologist
* Catherine Verfaillie, (1957 - ) physician, stem cell scientist
* Koen Vervaeke (1959-), history, diplomat

Honorary doctorates

Famous recipients of honorary doctorates at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven include:

* Roger Penrose, professor in Mathematical Physics, University of Oxford
* Mario Vargas Llosa, Peruvian writer
* Carla Del Ponte, former Chief UN War Crimes Prosecutor
* Alan Greenspan, economist, former chairman of the Board of Governors of the US Federal Reserve
* Helmut Kohl, former Chancellor of Germany
* Jacques Derrida, French philosopher
* Nadine Gordimer, South African author, Booker Prize 1974, Nobel Prize in Literature 1991
* Oscar Arnulfo Romero, former cardinal of San Salvador (El Salvador), human rights activist
* Jeanne Devos, founder of the National Domestic Workers Movement in India
* Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople


Notable divisions of the university include the Higher Institute of Philosophy and the Rega Institute for Medical Research.

The university is a member of the Flanders Interuniversity Institute of Biotechnology (VIB). The Interuniversity Microelectronics Centre (IMEC) is a spin-off company of the university.

Since July 2002, thirteen higher education institutes have formed the K.U.Leuven Association. The members are [http://associatie.kuleuven.be/eng/members.htm Associations Members] . Retrieved March 4, 2007.] :

* Europese Hogeschool Brussel
* Groep T
* Hogeschool Sint-Lukas Brussel
* Hogeschool voor Wetenschap en Kunst
* Katholieke Hogeschool Brugge-Oostende
* Katholieke Hogeschool Kempen
* Katholieke Hogeschool Leuven
* Katholieke Hogeschool Limburg
* Katholieke Hogeschool Mechelen
* Katholieke Hogeschool Sint-Lieven
* Katholieke Hogeschool Zuid-West-Vlaanderen
* Lessius Hogeschool
* Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

Electronic learning environment: TOLEDO

Toledo, which started in September 2001, was gradually developed into the central electronic learning environment at the Association K.U.Leuven.

The word is an acronym for "TOetsen en LEren Doeltreffend Ondersteunen" (English: "effectively supporting testing and learning"). It is the collective name for a number of commercial software programs and tools, such as Blackboard. The project offers the Question Mark Perception assignment software to all institution members and has implemented the Ariadne KPS to reuse digital learning objects inside the Blackboard environment.

See also

* Science and technology in Flanders
* List of universities in Belgium
* University Foundation
* Haasrode Research-Park
* Arenberg Research-Park


External links

* [http://www.kuleuven.be/english/ Official website of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven]

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