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City news, 10.02.2004 16:02

St. Petersburg State University marks its 280th birthday

St. Petersburg State University marks its 280th birthday The famed St. Petersburg State University, one of the top educational institutions in the country, marked its 280th birthday on Sunday.

The main celebration took place in the Mariinsky Theater, with many officials in attendance. President Vladimir Putin graduated from the university's law department. His wife Lyudmila Putina read out his address to his alma mater. "St. Petersburg University always taught students to think freely, stand up for one's position, and take brave decisions," Putin wrote.

Peter the Great signed a decree on the foundation of the Russian Academy of Science and St. Petersburg University on Feb. 8 1724. It was the first university in Russia. Since that time the university's graduates have included famous names such as natural scientist Mikhail Lomonosov; Dmitry Mendeleyev, who founded the periodic table of elements, physiologist Ivan Pavlov, writer Nikolai Chernyshevsky and poets Alexander Blok and Joseph Brodsky. The university trained seven Nobel Prize winners. Vladimir Ulyanov (Lenin), leader of the Bolshevik revolution, graduated from the university as a lawyer.

Today the university has 19 faculties with more than 17,000 students. Among them there are 2,500 foreign students from 91 countries.

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