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Early Development of the University

1973 Society of Friends and Benefactors of the University of Wuppertal founded.
1974 July 17 – the First University Senate determines the name of the university as "Bergische Universität – Gesamthochschule Wuppertal" (University of Wuppertal).
1975 On request of the Foundation Senate the independent department of "Safety Engineering" was established with effect from October 1st. Initially it was represented by the scientific field General Safety Engineering followed later on by the departments of Occupational Engineering, Fire Safety Engineering as well as Traffic Safety Engineering.
1977 The new Grifflenberg Campus comes on stream in March. Official opening on October 24.
1978 Before the founding of UW in 1972 Wuppertal counted some 3500 students. This figure has now doubled to almost 7000. UW joins the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the German Rectors' Conference.
1980 The name of the university is legally ratified. UW Faculty of Chemistry's research project on "Quantum theory and related experimental investigations into the energy states of simple molecules" is accredited as a collaborative research center by the German Research Foundation (DFG) – the first such recognition for one of the new 'comprehensive' universities.
1981 The first program for informal auditors containing ongoing education offers for interested members of the general public is published.
1982 Ten years on, the number of students has more than trebled to some 11,000.
1983 The name of the university (as defined by the University Senate in 1974) is accepted by the first elected University Council and ratified by ministerial directive of May 26. UW's first Rector, German scholar Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Rainer Gruenter, steps down on October 31. Prof. Dr. Josef M. Häußling (Chair of Law) takes over, leading the first Rector's Office elected to a four-year term by the University Council acting in accordance with the powers constitutionally vested in it. The Wuppertal mathematician Professor Dr. Gerd Faltings – at 28 Germany's youngest math professor – is awarded the Fields Medal (on a par with a Nobel Prize). Exiled from the Soviet Union, the Russian literary scholar, Professor Dr. Lew Kopelew, accepts a research professorship at UW.
1984 The UNIVERSITY CONCERT and University Colloquium series start in the summer semester.
1985 A Knowledge Transfer Office is opened, providing a central information and advisory service for interface projects between the university and the business and industrial worlds – especially business startups by UW alumni.
1987 An honorary doctorate is awarded to Der Spiegel editor Rudolf Augstein on February 10, with Martin Walser holding the eulogy. Professor Dr. Dr. h.c. Siegfried Maser (Chair of Design Theory) takes over as Rector on October 1. Opening ceremony for the University Sports and Events Hall, designed for shared use with the City of Wuppertal. Professor Werner Schriefers donates a collection of more than 5000 design objects to create a special foundation. In the winter semester UW opens its doors to 'University of the Third Age' (U3A) students.
1989 16,000 students now fill a university planned for 8,500. UW's biggest research project so far wins external funding of almost DM 55m for an 11 year project investigating the earth's upper atmosphere. UW's first women's representative elected.
1990 On October 17 physicists and mathematicians go on stream with their new parallel computer containing more than 8000 processors.
1991 The Pauluskirche (St. Paul's Church) in Wuppertal's Unterbarmen district is leased as an additional lecture hall by the Departments of Architecture and Civil Engineering. Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Erich Hödl (Chair of Economics) takes over as Rector from October 1.
1992 January 1 sees the launch of a financial autonomy trial that, with a university budget of some DM 140m (including DM 100m HR costs), will considerably extend UW's freedom to make its own financial decisions. On October 1 UW's first DFG research training groups for outstanding young academics and scientists start work. These are devoted to phenomenology and hermeneutics (led by Prof. Dr. Klaus Held in cooperation with the University of Bochum), and theoretical field and numerical methods in elementary particle and statistical physics (led by Prof. Dr. Karl-Heinz Mütter).
1994 In November a NASA space shuttle launches the Wuppertal space probe CRISTA. Over a ten-year period (second launch 7.8.1997) the project, led by physicist Prof. Dr. Dirk Offermann, will collect valuable data on trace gases. On December 30 the purchase of the disused Generaloberst Hoepner barracks above the main Grifflenberg Campus is concluded. This will form the new Freudenberg Campus, providing space for some 3000 students.
1995 The University Library announces the purchase of its millionth book. In the wake of financial autonomy, the university administration introduces a new business-oriented accounting system in August.
1996 In the fifty years since the establishment of the School of Education in 1946, which was assimilated into UW in 1972, more than 10,000 teachers have completed their university education and training for all school levels and types in Wuppertal.
1997 UW celebrates its 25th anniversary on October 25 with an exhibition entitled "The Knowledge Adventure", the performance of a specially composed musical, and a big party.
1998 UW's Knowledge Transfer Office is one of five winners in a nationwide competition, gaining a prize of DM 8m for the development of a regional support network for business startups – especially those by UW graduates.