A brief history…
With the settlement of the archipelago of Madeira, throughout the fifteenth century, reading schools were set up in various parishes, and the first national teaching institution emerged in the middle of the following century, by a royal letter from king Sebastião, dated August 20th, 1599, who created the Jesuit College in Funchal. In 1599, construction begun on the great college building, in the centre of the city, where today the Rectory of the University of Madeira is installed. At the same time, the Diocesan Seminary was also installed, and in the mid-eighteenth century, with the extinction of the Society of Jesus, the old College, in 1768, the Geometry and Drawing curricula was still in operation, essentially dedicated to military education. The beginning of the following century saw the first university institution emerge: the Medical-Surgical School of Funchal. The first lectured activity of this nature dates back to 1816, with the project for the new regiment of Santa Casa da Misericórdia (Holy House of Mercy) in Funchal approved three years later. In 1824, a request was submitted in Lisbon to amplify the course with an Operative Surgery curriculum, approved by the 1836 decree, which established the opening of medical and surgical schools in all the capitals of the overseas districts. It closed within the first months of the Republic, by decree of November 11th, 1910. In its existence of more than 73 years, 250 doctors grauated from this school, furthermore, in 1902, two (female) doctors, practiced general clinics in Portugal and abroad.
The University of Madeira
Through a joint dispatch, from 1983, of the State Secretariat for Higher Education and the Regional Secretariat for Education, then supervised by Dr. Eduardo Coelho de Castro, who created “a commission to study the feasibility of creating and operating a university in the Autonomous Region of Madeira or other institutional alternatives”. In 1985, this commission presented a “Study on the Feasibility of the University of Madeira” opposing the Napoleonic University model, instead, another model presumably more adapted to the reality of Madeira. Three years later, by Decree-Law No 319-A/88, September 13th of 1988 the University of Madeira was born, part of the first Installation Committee Member President Prof. Doctor Raúl de Albuquerque Sardinha, the members Prof. Doctor Fernando Santos Henriques and Prof. Doctor José Luís Morais Ferreira Mendes and the Administrator Dr. Ana Isabel of Portugal Almada Cardoso. With the approval of the Statutes of the University by his Excellency the Minister of Education, Prof. Doctor Marçal Grilo, in the amphitheater of the college building, on May 13th, 1996, and consequent election of the person responsible for the next two years, the University of Madeira entered a new and crucial phase of its life. A period that should see the University assert itself in a national context, as a fully-fledged University, as well as achieving, at its internal level, the minimum variations to face the major challenges facing any institution of higher education, at the threshold of the XXI century.