50 years of Paderborn University

We’re celebrating the future!

In 2022, we celebrated Paderborn University’s 50th anniversary. We look back with pride on 50 successful years in the scientific community and thus on 50 years of research and teaching in the heart of Paderborn. As part of the anniversary year, we not only celebrated the successful development of a research-strong and future-oriented university, but also a piece of the city’s history. This site highlights impressions and significant events in the university’s history that are firmly linked to the beautiful city of Paderborn and the OWL region.

A journey back in time: 50 years of Paderborn University

1970s: Foundation

On 1. August 1972, today’s Paderborn University was founded as a comprehensive university. The comprehensive university emerged from several predecessor institutions and continued the university tradition of the city of Paderborn. As early as October 1972, a large number of new rooms were built on the campus, followed by a university library and a canteen in 1977. Even in the founding phase, importance was attached to an international orientation. For this reason, the first of many further partnership agreements was signed with the Université du Maine in Le Mans in 1973. In 1979, the university was accepted into the German Research Foundation (DFG).

1980s: Growth

In 1980, the comprehensive university was renamed Paderborn University. Even before the end of the founding phase, the number of students exceeded 10,000 for the first time (1982). Furthermore, the Centre for Cultural Studies (ZfK) was founded (1989) and the Heinz Nixdorf Institute was established as an interdisciplinary research centre for computer science and technology (1987). The inauguration of the Art Silo (1986) created new space for artistic creation on campus.

1990s: Distinctive profile

The 1990s continued to be marked by research. This is reflected, among other things, in the establishment of the first graduate college at the university comprehensive (1993), the establishment of the first special research area (1995) and the inauguration of the Paderborn Teacher Training Centre (PLAZ) (1996). The link between business and science was also promoted with the founding of the Westphalian Environmental Centre (WUZ) (1993) and the expansion of the network around the Technology Park. In 1992, the Leibniz Prize was awarded for the first time to scientists at Paderborn University.

2000s: Restructuring

At the beginning of the 2000s, a restructuring phase took place. The existing ten departments became five faculties. In 2003, Paderborn University was officially renamed Paderborn University. The Health and Training Centre (GTZ) was established to promote the health of university staff. In the field of science, the university expanded with the establishment of the Software Quality Lab (s-lab) (2005) as a scientific facility of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Computer Science and Mathematics and the opening of the Centre for Language Teaching (ZfS) (2007).

After 2010: Expansion

The 2010s started with campus expansions – especially in the Paderborn city area. The Paderborn campus near Fürstenallee developed into an important location for innovation and research in the region with the research buildings ZM1 (2010) and ZM2 (2020). Laboratory, learning and work spaces were also being created, among other things through the establishment of the AStA city campus (2019). The Mensa was expanded, and in 2021 Building X was created as a new high-performance computing centre housing the Noctua supercomputer, one of the fastest and most powerful computers in Germany. In 2016, the student number of 20,000 was exceeded for the first time.

From 2022: #CelebratingTheFuture

In the anniversary year 2022, a large number of future-oriented projects were launched. Examples included the start of construction of the Akzelerator.OWL as a new home for the start-up scene in East Westphalia-Lippe and the expansion of funding for the international research centre on photonic quantum computing. We celebrated a research-strong, cosmopolitan, family-friendly, sustainable and future-oriented Paderborn Universtiy.

With all of Paderborn.