Catholic University of the West

The Catholic University of the West (UCO; French: Université catholique de l'Ouest), known colloquially to its students as «la Catho», is a university located in Angers, France.

(UCO; Catholic University of the West)
Palais UCO.JPG
Catholic University of the West
DirectorDominique Vermersch
3 Place André Leroy BP10808 49008 ANGERS CEDEX 01
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Early in the 11th century this school became famous under the direction of Marbodus, later Bishop of Rennes, and of Ulger, later Bishop of Angers, both pupils of the renowned canonist, Fulbert de Chartres. It was enlarged in 1229 by an influx of students, many of them Englishmen, from the University of Paris, who sought in Angers a shelter from the direct control of the King of France. Angers then became a center for the study of civil law, and a "studium generale," although it was officially recognized as such by an Episcopal ordinance only in 1337. In 1364 it received from King Charles V a charter granting the same privileges as those enjoyed by the University of Orleans. It was only in 1432 that a papal bull of Pope Eugene IV added the usual colleges of Theology, Medicine and Arts to the College of Canon and Civil Law. This organization continued until the French Revolution.

After the National Assembly had granted to all freedom of teaching (July 1, 1875), the French bishops decided to found five Catholic universities, and Angers, thanks to Bishop Charles Émile Freppel, was chosen for the western portion of France, including the Dioceses of Angers, Rennes, Laval, Le Mans, Angoulême, Tours and Poitiers. The university then took the title of "Facultés Catholiques de l'Ouest." The University is regarded as one of the most prestigious private universities in France. The main campus is situated in a beautiful location in the city of Angers with more than 9,000 students. Catholic University of the West has international partnerships with more than 75 universities in the world. Starting from 2009, the university is trying to maintain international partnerships and agreements with more prestigious universities around the world.


  • 1229: During a crisis with the University of Paris, some students and faculty came to the Episcopal school system of Angers.
  • 1242: A "studium" was created, to be the origin of the future university.
  • 1363: Louis I, Duke of Anjou (the region in which Angers and the university are located), obtained from his brother Charles V patent letters formally recognizing the school as a university; however, it had already been recognized as such by various kings and popes.
  • At the end of the 14th century, the university in Angers had some 230 students.
  • 1432: The university added colleges of Theology, Medicine and the Arts, after a papal bull of Pope Eugene IV.
  • 1477: New buildings were constructed for the university (where the theater stands today).
  • 1604: The celebrated professor William Barclay became the Chair of Civil Law of the university.
  • 1792: The French Revolution suppressed and temporarily disbanded the university.
  • 1875: The Catholic University of Angers was re-founded by Monsignor Freppel. The College of Law, inaugurated at Cathedral St. Maurice on November 15, was the first of its kind in France. The other colleges reopened in the following years: Literature (1876), Sciences (1877) and Theology (1879).
  • 1879: The University was organized according to the catholic canon as a Catholic University by Pope Pius IX.
  • 1898: The School of Agriculture and Viticulture, predecessor of the current Superior School of Agriculture (ESA), was founded by Father Vétillart.
  • October 1909: The School of Commercial Sciences (ESSCA) was created.
  • 1947: The Foreign Center for French Language and Civilization Studies was founded.
  • 1950: The Technical School of Chemistry (ETSCO) was founded.
  • 1956: The School of Electronics of the West (ESEO) was created.
  • October 22, 1993: The ceremonial first brick was laid for the new buildings of the university.
  • 1 January 2008: Guy Bedouelle became the new Rector of the university.


10,000 students go to The Catholic University of the West. Today, it encompasses 7 campuses:


At Angers, there is the Campus of Theology as well as 10 other institutes:

  • the Institute for Enterprise Development and Council (IDCE)
  • the Institute of Art, Literature, and History (IALH)
  • the Institute of Living Foreign Languages (IPLV)
  • the Institute of Training of l'UCO and Education (IFUCOME)
  • the International Center of French Studies (CIDEF)
  • the Institute of Sciences of Communication and Education (ISCEA)
  • the Institute of Psychological and Sociological Applications (IPSA)
  • the Institute of Applied Mathematics (IMA)
  • the Institute of Biology and Applied Ecology (IBEA)
  • the Institute of Sports and Physical Education of Angers (IFEPSA)

In 1990, under the authority of l'Université Catholique d'Angers, the Catholic Institute of Higher Studies - ICES was opened in La Roche-sur-Yon. After three years of collaboration, the Superior Council of the Catholic University of the West awarded ICES its academic independence in 1993. François Garnier, Bishop of Luçon, became the institutional head of the establishment with the responsibility of maintaining its ecclesiastical membership.

Between 2002 and 2007, the Rector of the University was Robert Rousseau. On January 1, 2008, Father Guy Bedouelle succeeded him. Bedouelle, personally acclaimed in literature and theology, served the Church as juror, international historian, council member and teacher.

L'Université Catholique d'Angers is a member of the International Federation of Catholic Universities

Notable graduatesEdit


See alsoEdit


  •   This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. {{cite encyclopedia}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 47°27′53″N 0°32′55″W / 47.46472°N 0.54861°W / 47.46472; -0.54861