History

Our Origins

Universidad de las Américas Puebla was founded in 1940, in the nation’s capital; it was known then as Mexico City College. In order to reflect the fraternity between the United States and Latin American countries, in the early 1960s it changed its name to University of the Americas. By then, the prestige of its professors and research projects, such as the Oaxaca Archeology Program, positioned the university abroad and in Mexico as one of the best options for students who wanted an excellent education with a bicultural vision.

In 1966, the Fundación Mary Street Jenkins assigned funds for the university to establish itself in the Cholula municipality, at the Santa Catarina Mártir hacienda, with over 80 hectares, and located between the Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl volcanoes. Now known as Universidad de las Américas Puebla, its innovative education project included not only the School of Arts and Science, but also opening the School of Engineering and the School of Administration and Business. The university received approval and official recognition from the federal Secretary of Public Education, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges - SACSCOC, as well as from the business sector and area governments.

In 1985, the university became independent, both legally and ideologically, from the Civil Association in Mexico City, and was now known as Fundación Universidad de las Américas, Puebla. Its philosophy was now education with human, scientific, and universal spirit, coupled with academic excellence and academic freedom.  The university began to be considered as one of the most important private education institutions in the country.

At UDLAP, history has taught us that an active conscience and community participation are important to guarantee the success of every member of the university.  Therefore, each triumph and advance in the different disciplines and fields of knowledge, position it as a leader.  In this sense, you cannot hear the name Universidad de las Américas Puebla without invoking, at the same time, the greatest victories of its Aztecas sports teams, which from the beginning have been outstanding in football, soccer, taekwondo, basketball, tennis, and athletics.  Their participation has made the institution a leader in the CONADEIP Premiere League.

Likewise, Aztecas have also excelled in the cultural area, presenting for society impeccable artistic shows: folkloric dance, dance, chamber music, opera, theater, cinema, and art exhibitions, to name a few of the most relevant activities the university has held on campus and in its cultural extensions, such the Capilla del Arte in downtown Puebla.

Today, the classrooms of UDLAP’s five Schools  – Social Sciences, Humanities, Engineering, Science and Business, and Economics – have been modernized to meet the technological and scientific advances of our age.  The modern laboratories, classrooms, sports facilities, library, IT, and university colleges have contributed to create a favorable and privileged environment for students and faculty to learn and grow. Seventy-seven generations have studied at the university, excelling in their accomplishments in research, scholarship, and consulting.

Presidents

Scholar UDLAP
1940

Universidad de las Américas was founded in Mexico City as Mexico City College, a two year college, by Dr. Henry L. Cain, who was then superintendent of the Fundación del Colegio Americano. Joining him was Dr. Paul V. Murray, director of the same high school. Dr. Cain became Mexico City College’s first president.

Scholar UDLAP
1953

Dr. Paul V. Murray was named the institution’s second president. He moved to a new campus in kilometer 16 of the Mexico-Toluca highway. The student paper "Collegian" obtained the first award of the All-American Rating. During his tenure, the university was accepted as a member of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges - SACSCOC.

Scholar UDLAP
1962

Dr. Ray D. Lindley was the third president. He changed the name of the institution to University of the Americas, organizing it into three Schools: Arts and Sciences, Graduate School, and Mexico City College. The name was legally changed to Universidad de las Américas, A.C. and its studies were recognized by the education authorities of Puebla State. He started the construction of the new campus in Ex-hacienda de Santa Catarina Mártir, in the San Andrés Cholula municipality. Engineering classes began in the building of the American School of Puebla.

Scholar UDLAP
1971

Dr. Richard Rubotton was named the fourth president and Dr. Ray Lindley the first university chancellor. The Technological Institute was created, offering a “Bachelor of Science” in Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Electronic Engineering.

Scholar UDLAP
1973

The Council named Dr. Byron K. Trippet as interim president, thus becoming the fifth president.

Scholar UDLAP
1975

Dr. Fernando Macías Rendón was named the sixth president and started an important “Mexicanization” process, increasing the number of Mexican students.

Scholar UDLAP
1985

The seventh president was Demetrio Bolaños Guillén. The Civil Association’s Board decided to separate and founded the Fundación Universidad de las Américas Puebla, based in the Cholula campus. Dr. Enrique Cárdenas was named its interim president.

Scholar UDLAP
1986

Dr. Enrique Cárdenas was ratified as the university’s eighth president by the recently created University Board. An ambitious program of academic and institutional development and renovation of the facilities and labs was started, with the support of the Mary Street Jenkins Foundation, and the Institute of Advanced Studies was born.

Scholar UDLAP
2001

The first two doctoral programs started: Economics and Computer Systems. Dr. Enrique Cárdenas resigned as president of Universidad de las Américas Puebla and a search Committee was created to look for a new president. After evaluating the final four candidates, the University Board unanimously backed Dr. Nora Lustig as university president and the FUDLAP Board of Trustees approved the recommendation. The inauguration ceremony, before the entire university community, was held on September 28, and Dr. Lustig became the ninth president of Universidad de las Américas Puebla.

Scholar UDLAP
2005

In July 2005 Dr. Pedro Ángel Palou García became the tenth president of Universidad de las Américas Puebla. During his administration the number of double degree academic programs increased to ten, initiating programs with universities in Germany, Spain, the United States, France and Italy. The university also offered programs that focused on encouraging criticism and creativity in students as part of their curricular map. The institution received two important awards, the International Top of Business and the Premio Iberoamericano a la Excelencia Educativa (Iberoamerican Award for Educational Excellence), given in Panama by the Iberoamerican Council for Educational Quality. Also, UDLAP Cultura Viva started, a project that included artistic activities such as theater, dance, music, literature, cinema, and fine arts on campus and abroad.

Scholar UDLAP
2008

On April 1, 2008, Dr. Luis Ernesto Derbez Bautista became the eleventh president of the university, continuing the institution’s commitment with society, its students, and its faculty. Dr. Derbez’ presidency is characterized by promoting a multicultural student environment, a faculty with high academic profile, and equal opportunities for all Mexican young people.

 

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