The history of Mackenzie Presbyterian University (UPM) dates from the 19th century, when Presbyterian missionaries and educators founded, in Sao Paulo, Escola Americana. The foundation of the new school represented a turning point in Brazil, which was basically an agricultural and pro-slavery country, then. The school introduced a series of pioneering and innovative pedagogical and social practices. Among them, we can mention that racial discrimination in admissions was abolished, mixed gender classes were created and physical punishments were not allowed. In 1896 the Engineering School was established in a construction called Mackenzie Building. It became the oldest private, communitarian and confessional school in the country. The new building gave birth to Mackenzie College that soon started to offer several courses. In 1952, aer six decades of tradition in offering solid scientific formation, the Brazilian government granted the institution the condition of University. Its contributions to the socioeconomic and technological needs of the city and the country were recognized. In the following decades, Mackenzie became one of the biggest and most reputable universities in the country.
Mackenzie Presbyterian University (UPM)main campus is located downtown São Paulo, a metropolis with over 11 million inhabitants. The city generates more than US $ 220 billion a year. It is also present in other important Brazilian cities like Campinas (1 million inhabitants and annual GDP of US$ 18 billion) and Rio de Janeiro (6 million inhabitants and annual GDP of US$100 billion). In this dynamic and full of opportunities environment, the university seeks to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship among all its academic community. It guarantees institutional policies that aim at developing its undergraduate and graduate courses. Its Technological Innovation Center (with its Business Incubator) and a variety of advanced research groups are ways of achieving this goal. Among these researches, it is important to mention some of the activities developed by our institution:
• Mackenzie Radio Astronomy and Astrophysics Center (CRAAM) – a partnership with some other research institutions in the country such as the National Institute of Spatial Research (Inpe). It also leads the Brazilian Space Geodesy Program in a partnership with NASA (USA). It is responsible for the observatory in Euzébio, Ceará that keeps themost accurate atomic clock in the country.
• The Autism Spectrum Disorder Clinic investigates and helps patients with this disorder.
• The Digital TV Lab, held by our institution, played an important role in the development of digital TV standard in Brazil.
• The Cognitive and Social Neuroscience Laboratory develops a non-invasive brain mapping research, working in association with international institutions such as the Laboratory of Neuromodulation of Harvard Medical School.
• The Advanced Research Center in Graphene, Nanomaterial and Nanotechnology (MackGraphe), also supported by the São Paulo Research Foundation (Fapesp), places Mackenzie Presbyterian University in a world leader position in this research field, and it will represent a strong impact in technology industry in the next few years.
Historically, Mackenzie undergraduate courses have been characterized by the active involvement in the Brazilian economic development. Our professionals have become leaders in several organized areas of society. Our students can count on a high level of employability because Mackenzie has a long historical connection to the industrial, service and cultural sectors. Annually, about 16,000 undergraduate students take internships in companies and different institutions, creating a profitable integration process. This experience allows them to unite academic knowledge and the reality of the labor market. UPM offers academic excellence in its 40 undergraduate courses. This excellence comes from a highly qualified teaching staff, a library with more than 500 thousand volumes, an infrastructure of laboratories, and high quality academic support. Our courses are based on an advanced Institutional Pedagogic Project, which places the student as a protagonist. It reflects the concept of integration and knowledge synthesis, entrepreneurship and internationalization. The international academic mobility has grown each year, by means of specific support programs. We promote academic partnerships with more than 50 foreign universities, of all continents, such as Universidad de Salamanca, Universidade do Porto, Politécnico di Milano, Pittsburgh University, National University of Singapore, amongmany others.
In face of all the transformations that happened in Brazil in the last two decades, the university became a fundamental part for the development of the country. The future of any university depends on the production and transmission of new knowledge to society by means of research. Conscious that scientific knowledge will never happen without a distinguished graduate program, Mackenzie Presbyterian University has made investments in its eleven graduation programs. Eight of them can offer doctoral degrees and all of them are able to offer master degrees (two of them are professional master courses). The remarkable qualifications of the teaching staff, installations and library standards have granted excellent evaluations from governmental organs, such as CAPES*.
Mackenzie Presbyterian University understands that it is necessary to create objective conditions to the development of its researchers. For this reason, it started to offer their PhD students full scholarships. In addition, the PhD student can count on sandwich scholarships funded by different institutions such as CAPES, Santander international mobility scholarships and also its own funding program called Mack-Pesquisa, that is also available for its professors.
Great emphasis has been given to hold international relevant scientific events and to receive national and international highly scientific, academic or cultural guest lecturers. That includes names such as Orhan Pamuk, Nobel Prize in Literature, and Robert Shapiro, politics expert.
The extension activities developed at Mackenzie Presbyterian University (UPM) reinforce its communitarian and philanthropic reputation, showing its social commitment. Following The National Extension Plan (2000), which defines that ‘academic extension is the educational, cultural and scientific process that joins teaching and research, in an inseparable way, and enables a transforming relation between university and society’, Mackenzie has continually tried to involve its professors and student in actions that are beyond the university walls.
Cultural practices, when guided by a broader policy, can allow the involvement of a great number of people in the preservation and deep understanding of representative cultural values in society. That is how events and exhibitions are held at Mackenzie Historical Center, encouraging the debate of cultural Brazilian aspects. Music and theater, promoted by our art groups like choirs, instrumental music and theater groups, are a pleasant way of ‘culture making’.
Formal education needs to fit several legal aspects that end, in spite of all regulation benefits, in certain restrictions to access what is produced inside the university. The Open University (UATU), with its variety of extension courses, has an important role in opening the university doors and the academic world to all citizens.
The mission of Mackenzie Presbyterian University (UPM) goes beyond teaching and research. It is part of its concern the valorization of the academic community, including deep ethic, social and cultural visions. For more than 145 years, Mackenzie has committed itself to the development of critical citizens who can build a better and more equitable world for everyone. The University Social Responsibility and Philanthropy are centered in three different actions: scholarships, social projects and sports actions. Through sports and social-educational actions, Mackenzie tries to reach an atmosphere of social inclusion that reinforces its social engagement.