The tradition of higher education in Pardubice reaches back to the first months after the Second World War and is very closely connected to the development of the transport network and food, machine and chemical industry in the city and the region. In the autumn 1945, local chemical factories suggested the establishment of a chemical college in Pardubice. Five years later, on June 27, 1950, the Czech government established the Chemical Institute. The classes started on October 15, 1950 in the restored buildings of the former Technical College of Food Industry. In the following academic year, the former building of the Technical College of Engineering was reconstructed for the needs of the Chemical Institute and since then has been in use as the main building of the Faculty of Chemical Technology in the Cs. legii square.
In November 1953, the school became an independent body as the Institute of Chemical Technology headed by a Rector.
The Institute developed rapidly in "the city of chemistry". A four-year study curriculum was changed into a five-year and the students could choose gradually from seven specializations in Chemistry and Technical Chemistry. Later on, the number of specializations doubled. Theoretical subjects became the essential part of study and the research activities systematically improved at all departments. Many outstanding scientists joined the academic staff. In particular, it is worth mentioning Professor Miroslav Jureček, expert of European renown, in fact became the founder and pioneer of the Czech school of Organic Substances Analysis; Professor Jiří Klikorka, the first and long time Rector; and Assistant Prof. Jan Wanka, an outstanding expert in analysis. Those, together with other experienced specialists, became the founders of the first specialised departments of the Institute.
Additional lecture rooms and laboratories were needed for the increasing number of students and teachers. It took more than fifteen years to establish the requisite educational and research staff and adequate social environment. In the early 1960s, a new complex of technological departments was built on the outskirts of the city, and two new wings extended the original main building in the city centre. At the same time, new Halls of Residence, a Dining Hall and sports facilities were built on the north bank of the Labe (Elbe) river.
In 1991, an important restructuralization of the Institute took place and brought into existence two faculties, the Faculty of Chemical Technology and the Faculty of Economics and Administration. These two Faculties became the nuclei of the future University. While the former offers two tens of specializations within BSc., MSc. and postgraduate PhD. degree courses of Chemical Engineering, the latter provides a BSc., MSc. and PhD. study programmes in Public Administration, Regional and Economic Managements and Informatics. The newly established Faculty, in 1993 renamed the Faculty of Economics and Administration, answered the call for professionally trained specialists for local state and municipal authorities and private businesses.
In 1992, the Institute of Languages and Humanities was established in compliance with a project suggested by the Ministry of Education to meet the constant need of qualified teachers of foreign languages at elementary schools. In the late 1990s, the Institute became the nucleus of the future fourth Faculty oriented towards Philology and Social Sciences. It has been providing BA and MA degree courses. Other courses of foreign language training and humanities for students from all others University faculties and for public are also provided by the Faculty.
Social and economic changes in the society and the formation of the new independent Czech Republic in 1993 became the major stimulus for the establishment of the Transport Faculty. As the Institute of Chemical Technology and the city of Pardubice were able to offer the necessary background for the new Faculty, the Jan Perner Transport Faculty could be established on April 1st 1993. The new Faculty bears the name of Jan Perner, an outstanding 19th century railway engineer. The Faculty has gained all the attributes of an academic workplace. Bachelor and Master degree courses are complemented by Doctoral study programmes. The Faculty has also the right for Professorial appointment procedures. In 2017, the Faculty was renamed the Faculty of Transport Engineering.
Since March 31st 1994, the original Institute of Chemical Technology has become the University under the new name Univerzita Pardubice (University of Pardubice).
Another important chapter of the history of higher education in Pardubice has opened in January 2001, when the Faculty of Humanities was established and transformed from the Institute of Languages and Humanities. At the beginning of the third millennium, the new Faculty has become - besides the fifty years old Faculty of Chemical Technology, ten years old Faculty of Economics and Administration and eight years old Jan Perner Transport Faculty - the fourth pillar of the University reflecting the European academic traditions. In 2004, the Faculty was renamed the Faculty of Arts and Philosophy.
In 1992, the University gained a new high-rise building and a lecture hall near the Halls of Residence. The new buildings on the north bank of the Labe river together with the Halls of Residence have become the basis of the modern University campus with wide possibilities for the future development. In the centre of the campus, a high standard University library was built and opened to public in the autumn of 1997. In addition, a new University hall and lecture rooms were built next to the library in 1999.
In 2002, two new institutes were established, the Institute of Informatics, later re-named as Institute of Electrical Engineering and Informatics, focused on modern information technologies and electrical engineering, and the Institute of Health Studies.
In July 2005, new artistic faculty was established in Litomyšl - the Faculty of Restoration, that continues to broaden the educational, scientific activities and applied international projects in the field of arts, art restoration techniques and technologies carried on in the city of Litomyšl since 1993. The Faculty belongs to those few and unique workplaces of the Czech universities which provide higher education in the field of art restoration.
January 1st 2007, the Institute of Health Studies became the Faculty of Health Studies, that provides education in nursing and midwifery.
January 1st 2008, the Institute of Electrical Engineering and Informatics became the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Informatics.
Nowadays, the students can choose from different study programmes in the fields of science and engineering and social sciences in Bachelor´s, Master´s and to some extent postgraduate Doctoral degree courses. The students may also register for part-time studies. The length of studies varies according to the chosen course from three to five years.
Besides teaching, the University of Pardubice is also renowned for numerous scientific and research activities, which have contributed to the excellent national and international reputation. Moreover, a number of specialised laboratories, organisations, institutions and societies function as a part of the University. Teams of experienced professionals offer expert, consulting and guidance services to external customers. In the recent history of the University, the Rector has awarded the academic titles of "doctor honoris causa" in recognition of outstanding achievements in the field of science to nine distinguished specialists and world leading scientists.
During more than 65 years of its existence, the Institute of Chemical Technology and later the University of Pardubice has become an important centre of education with more than fifteen thousand professionally trained graduates. The University with its more than 8 thousand students and highly professional academic staff, the only higher education institution of the university type in the Pardubice region is deeply rooted in the city and the whole region enriching and inspiring them culturally.
Hopefully, the motto Omni thesauro sapientia praestat et auro - Wisdom is more valuable than gold and all the world’s treasures will be equally inspiring for the University of Pardubice in the future.