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On October 21th (November 1st), 1773 the Empress Catherine the Great wrote the Decree on foundation of the Mining Engineering School "so it be " putting into life Peter the First and M.V. Lomonosov’s ideas of training engineers for the development of mining and metallurgy. This date became not only the birthday of the University of Mines, but also the birthday of all Russian higher technical education.
Originally the Mining Engineering School was placed in two houses bought from Graph P.B. Sheremetiev and located at the corner of the 22nd line of the Vasilyevsky Island and the Neva River Embankment.
The university milestones:
The establishment and development (1773-1803) of the Mining School which aimed at highly qualified expert training for mining and metallurgical industries. A great role in the foundation of the Mining School belonged to the prominent statesman and scientist M.F. Soymonov who became its first Director.
On June 28th, 1774 first students were admitted to the Mining School. They were nineteen people from the Moscow State University who had already studied the basics of Chemistry, Arithmetic and Geometry, German, French and Latin languages, four Assayer’s trainees from the chemistry laboratory of the Berg-Collegium, and six boys to their "own kosht" (self-finance). The first class of mining officers received an accelerated education and graduated from the School in 1776 due to the fact that the students of the Moscow University were trained in general sciences before. By the end of the 18th century there were hundred and eight pupils at the Mining School. For the purposes of practical training there was installed a training mine and first “laboratories” like a melting furnace and an ore mining table in the school. Every six months all students had examination in the presence of the Berg Collegium members and many other prominent scientists. We have documented description of the student’s ceremonial official uniform of that time: a double-breasted scarlet uniform with white collar and lapels with golden passementerie.
The Mining Cadet’s Corps (1804-1833) and later the Institute of the Corps of Mining Engineers (1834-1866) was a higher educational institution of closed type which had similarities with military cadet’s corps. The Mining Cadet’s Corps was one of the leaders of the country in order of importance, breadth and depth of knowledge in general-theoretical and applied sciences and since 1806 it had the status of a university.
In 1804 the School was reorganized into the Cadet’s Corps. Soon they started construction of a complex of new buildings designed by A.N. Voronikhin and by 1811 a majestic architectural ensemble appeared on the embankment, the main entrance was decorated with the Twelve-columnar classical portico and sculptures of "Hercules strangling Antaeus " and "The stealing of Proserpina” made by Pimenov S.S. and Demut-Malinovsky V.I.
By 1816 there were 335 students in the Corps, and in 1824 it had more than five hundred students. In order of importance, breadth and depth of knowledge “it can be placed on the same footing as the first-rate in the State”. The Corps was also famous as an educational institution. In addition to general-theoretical subjects the list included law, history, logic, dancing, fencing, music, singing, dramatic art.
In 1817 the Russian Mineralogical Society was founded at the Mining Cadet’s Corps. It is one of the oldest world scientific communities, which has been publishing its own journal "Notes of the Mineralogical Society" since 1842. In 1818 there was established a joint Museum ("The Museum") uniting mineral, physical and modeling study offices.
In 1825 at the initiative of the Mining Cadet’s Corps there was founded "The Mining Journal". It was the world’s oldest mining technical journal, publishing works of such famous academic figures as Anosov P.P., Chebyshev P.L., Mendeleev D.I. and many others.
Since March 1833 the Mining Cadet’s Corps was renamed as the Institute of Mining Engineers Corps, and in 1866 it became the Mining Institute.