Lovanium University (French: Université Lovanium) was a Catholic Jesuit university in Kinshasa in the Belgian Congo. The university was established in 1954 on the Kimwenza plateau, near Kinshasa. The university continued to function after independence until it was merged into other universities in the early 1970s. It can be considered an antecedent of the University of Kinshasa.
Before the foundation of Lovanium, the Catholic University of Louvain already operated multiple institutes for higher education in the Belgian Congo. The Fomulac (Fondation médicale de l'université de Louvain au Congo), was founded in 1926, with the goal of forming Congolese medical personnel and researchers specialized in tropical medicine. In 1932 the Catholic University of Louvain founded the Cadulac (Centres agronomiques de l'université de Louvain au Congo) in Kisantu. Cadulac was specialized in agricultural sciences and formed the basis for what was later to become Lovanium.
The university was established in 1954 on the Kimwenza plateau, near Leopoldville (now Kinshasa). Lovanium was founded by the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium, and was named after it (Lovanium being Latin for Leuven). When it opened, the university received heavy subsidies from the colonial government, it also received funding from the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation and the United States Agency for International Development and was lauded as the best university in Africa. The official opening of the university was in 1954, the first students were to graduate from Lovanium in 1958.
In August 1971, the university merged with two other universities in the Congo to form the federalised National University of Zaire (Université Nationale du Zaïre, UNAZA). Between 1980 and 1991, the universities were again divided into three institutions, the University of Kinshasa, Kisangani University, and the University of Lubumbashi.
- Hyacinthe Vanderyst: La future université catholique au Congo belge occidental, dans Revue missionnaire, 1927, pp.253–257.
- Muketa, Jacques Fumunzanza (2008). Kinshasa. Editions L'Harmattan. p. 215. ISBN 2-296-07658-0.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- World Bank (2005). Education in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Washington, D.C.: World Bank Publications. pp. 102–122. ISBN 9780821361214.
- Greenhouse, Steven (2 June 1988). "Kinshasa Journal; Hunger Competes With a Thirst for Knowledge". The New York Times. New York. pp. Section A, Page 4, Column 3, Foreign Desk.
- Williams, Susan (2016). Spies in the Congo. New York: Public Affairs. p. 258. ISBN 9781610396547.
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