HISTORY OF HIGHER EDUCATION IN OSIJEK

The history of higher education in this area began almost three centuries ago, i.e. in 1707, when the first institution of higher education was founded in Osijek. It was the Higher Theological School, which was opened in the 1707/1708 academic year as Studium Philosophicum Essekini, and included a three-year course of studies in philosophy.
The significance of the first colleges in Osijek lies in their huge contribution to Croatian language and literature, the spreading of liberal-arts education, and the study of languages and classical literature.

The recent history of higher education in the area began in 1959 when the Zagreb Faculty of Economics, in accordance with the University of Zagreb, founded the Centre for part-time studies in Osijek as a branch of the Zagreb Faculty of Economics. The initiative for the founding of the University of Osijek dates back to 1975. On 26 March 1975, the Croatian Parliament (Sabor) passed the Decision granting consent for the establishing the University of Osijek. Two months later, on 31 May 1975, the Agreement concerning the founding of the University of Osijek was signed by the Faculty of Economics, the Faculty of Agriculture and Food Processing, the Institute of Agriculture, the Zagreb School of Engineering and Naval Architecture for Engineering Studies in Slavonski Brod, the Teacher Training College in Osijek, the Zagreb Music Academy for the Music Department in Osijek, the City Library and the Historical Archives in Osijek. Therefore, we celebrate 31 May as the day when the University of Osijek was founded.

In this brief outline we need to point out several important years in the history of the founding of the various faculties of the University of Osijek: in 1975 the Faculty of Law, in 1976 the Faculty of Food Technology, in 1977 the Faculty of Education, in 1979 the School of Engineering in Slavonski Brod and Medical Studies in Osijek, which developed into the Faculty of Medicine in 1998, in 1982 the Faculty of Civil Engineering, in 1990 the Electrical Engineering Studies developed into the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, and in the same year, the University Senate passed the Decision to include the name of Josip Juraj Strossmayer in the name of the university. Joseph George Strossmayer, (Croatian: Josip Juraj) was bishop and theologian, politician and statesman. He was one of the most famous Croats in the world, known as a promoter of Croatian culture and the people's tribune, whose entire life was devoted to advancing the welfare and progress of Croatian people. He was born on February 4, 1815 in Osijek, died April 8, 1905 in Đakovo. Strossmayer was a true predecessor of modern ecumenical quests for unification and open dialogue, and he strove for unity and cooperation despite differences, casting away centuries of misunderstanding and conflict. His personality, ideas, broad viewpoints, global reasoning and his overall legacy have been recognized and followed even today in the mission of the University of Osijek.

We need to point out that the academic year 1991/1992 began in wartime Croatia. We must emphasize that the University of Osijek was the only university in Croatia that suffered severe damage in the war for independence.  

FACULTY OF AGRICULTURE AND FOOD TECHNOLOGY

Due to needs of food industry of Slavonia and Baranja, the Economic Chamber Osijek in 1970 accepted the initiative of several professors from Zagreb, Faculty of Technology - Biotechnology Department for founding the Food Technology Department at the Higher Agricultural School in Osijek.. In 1971 the Higher Agricultural School evolved into the Faculty of Agriculture and Food Technology (FAFT) by the decision of the Parliament of Federal Republic of Croatia. Within the FAFT , Department of Food Technology has worked through the Committee for study, whose president at the same time also was the Assistant Dean. Study of Food Technology was held, according to the special curriculum, within the FAFT, the Pedagogical Faculty, Electrometal School Centre and Technical School "Ruđer Bošković".

Plaque at the entrance of Faculty of Agriculture and Food Technology

FACULTY OF FOOD TECHNOLOGY OSIJEK

The University of Josip Juraj Strossmayer was founded in 1975. It was established by decission of Croatian Parliament in March 1975, and the Agreement concering the founding of the Univerity of Osijek was signed by eight institutions on May 31st 1975. Development of the Food Technology Department and establishment of the University in Osijek resulted in the creation of real conditions for establishing the Faculty of Food Technology as an independent unit. Faculty of Food Technology was acted independently since 1976. At that time, at the Faculty of Food Technology engineers of Food Technology, Department of Food Engineering, have been educated with two orientations, food canning and food extractive orientation. Parallel to the independence a new, building of modern scientific-research complex was started on the Tenje road. After new building first construction phase completion, , Faculty started its relocation to Tenje road bb and entered into a building where they placed classrooms, offices and spaces for the dean's office in 1980. After six years, the Faculty was placed in second new building with modern student and research laboratories. The contemporary restaurant "Gaudeamus" and a modern library were opened at the Faculty for students' and employees' needs. The infrastructure was completed at the modern university center in 1989.
Faculty had sufficient number of scientists who have participated in numerous national and international conferences. In this way, they created all the conditions for intensive teaching and scientific research, as well as collaboration with industry where many engineers of Faculty of Food Technology Osijek already worked. 

FACULTY IN EXILE

Since the Faculty was situated on Tenjska road, during the war in 1991 and 1992, it suffered huge devastation. However, in spite of that and the fact that the significant part of the employees had left the Faculty, activities continued even in those difficult days. Thanks to the help of Faculty of Food Technology and Biotechnology Zagreb, some activities were transferred to Zagreb where students continued tending classes as guest students. Furthermore, some students and employees of the Faculty were actively involved in defending Croatia from the aggression.

Consequences of aggression in the Faculty on Tenjska road 1992

Despite all war dangers, employees who remained on the Faculty managed to save most of the equipment from Tenjska road although they were literally threatened by the grenades. The capital equipment was stored in the basement of Privredna Banka in Osijek and in December 1991 it was transferred to Zagreb. Thanks to that and due to rescuing the furniture from the same location afterwards, Faculty of Food Technology Osijek has equipped laboratories and cabinets today.
During the Croatian War of Independence and post-war years (till the final Faculty location in Tvrđa) teaching and other Faculty activities were performed at several locations in Osijek:

  • Public University (students’ office and classrooms for 2nd, 3rd and 4th year),
  • Student centre (1st year classroom),
  • Technological and Medical School (research and students’ laboratories),
  • Preschool Centre (legal services, accounting office and library),
  • Pedagogical Faculty (laboratories) and
  • Faculty of Electrical Engineering.

Thanks to help of listed institutions, the Faculty was able to work in exile as well. On the occasion of the 30th Anniversary of the Faculty, and due to the Faculty Council decision, acknowledgements were given to the Faculty employees, institutions and individuals, who had been helping the Faculty from its beginning and especially during the Croatian War of Independence, which enabled continuous action even during the time of aggression on Croatia.