UNESP — Universidade Estadual Paulista (São Paulo State University) — is the most successful experiment of a multicampus university in Brazil, maintaining intense and diversified activities in the most developed state of the Federation: the state of São Paulo. This is due to its very origin.
In 1923, the School of Pharmacy and Dentistry of Araraquara was founded. Since then , it has been separated into two: the School of Dentistry and the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences. In the fifties and sixties, a time of great urban and industrial development, the government founded the Isolated Institutes of Higher Education in many towns in the central region of the state of São Paulo.
Having attained a high cultural and scientific performance in a wide range of areas, the next natural step was to join these institutes to form a university, thus enabling a joint action that would both exploit its potentialities to the fullest while preserving its singularities.
Thus, on January 30th, 1976, through act 952 of the state law, the government of the state of São Paulo founded the Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP) officially recognized by the federal government, under the terms of act 80 of September 23rd, 1977.
Henceforth, the former Isolated Institutes have been Academic Units of UNESP, having common goals: production, preservation and transmission of knowledge in all fields: arts and sciences, humanities and technology, offering high quality, tuition free, public education both at the undergraduate and graduate levels, setting up research units and rendering services to the community. UNESP integrates the state public university system, which also includes Universidade de São Paulo (USP) and Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Unicamp).
It has one campus in the capital, 21 in the central region, one on the coast and several complementary units. In this way, its presence can be felt statewide. Its multicampi structure seemed, at first, a drawback. However, the geographic distribution of the units turned out to be a positive and innovative stimulus fostering closer ties between society and university. Furthermore, it has become a model of decentralization of outstanding higher education, scientific research and a wide range of university extension programs, making all this available in cities other than the state capital, which in Brazilian states is the socioeconomic hub and all too often the exclusive seat of the universities.