The origins of the Warsaw University of Life Sciences (WULS – SGGW)* date back to 1816, to the creation of the Institute of Agronomy in Marymont, the first agricultural institution of higher education in Poland and only the fourth one in Europe. The Institute offered programs at two levels: the higher level, intended for the administrators and management, as well as for sons of large landowners, and the elementary level, for agricultural laborers.
The history of the Institute parallels the history of Poland. Russified, repeatedly closed after the defeats of national uprisings, transferred to Puławy and later to Russia, it kept coming back under new names. The tradition and the ideas of the Marymont Institute inspired the concept of forming a Department of Agriculture at the Society of Science Learning (in 1906), the Industrial-Agricultural College (in 1911), and the Royal Main School of Agriculture where Higher Agricultural School (1916) the first academic year was inaugurated on October 12, 1918. During World War II, the University was closed by the occupying power, and German troops were garrisoned on campus. This prompted underground teaching. After the war, WULS, as the first academic institution in Warsaw, inaugurated its first academic year on May 15, 1945. To commemorate this event, the Academic Senate declared in 2000 this date as the Day of WULS. In 1956, by the decision of the Council of Ministers and of the City of Warsaw, the University received a land grant in Ursynow whereto, by 2003, all faculties and departments have been transferred, thereby creating one of the most modern university campuses in Europe, both for its architecture and research equipment.
Among WULS’s faculty there were many of European stature, and there were many who, apart from their research, played significant roles in the development of independent Poland. Among them were Jozef Mikułowski-Pomorski, the first WULS Rector, two-time Minister of Religion and Public Education, and the Minister of Agriculture; Władysław Grabski – an economist, two time Prime Minister and the creator of the Polish currency system; Zdzisław Ludkiewicz – the creator of the Agricultural Bank and the Minister of Agricultural Reforms. Among others of considerable stature were Franciszek Staff, Jerzy Grochowski, Tadeusz Gorczyński, Roman Kuntze, Władysław Jedliński. Among the recipients of Honorary Doctorates of WULS are: the Pope John Paul II, President Ignacy Mościcki and Nobelists Norman Borlaug, Rolf Zinkernagel and Peter Doherty.