Founded in 1888 Sofia University was named after Saint Kliment of Ohrid, a medieval Bulgarian scholar, who was also the first bishop to preach in the Old Bulgarian language.
Sofia University is the oldest school of higher education in the country. It was established on October 1st 1888, when the Higher Pedagogical Class at the First Boys’ High School in Sofia was founded. The first class consisted of 43 students, all male. Two thirds of them were scholarship holders. The 7 lecturers (4 of them working full time and 3 part time) all had European degrees and scholarly achievements. A law passed on December 18th 1888 transformed the Higher Pedagogical Class into a School of Higher Education.
The first elected Rector was Alexander Theodorov – Balan, who had degrees from the universities of Prague and Leipzig and a doctorate from Prague University, and taught linguistics, dialectology and Slavic philology. In 1891 the first class of 34 students graduated from the Department of History and Philology and the next year a class of 23 graduated from the Department of Physics and Mathematics. In 1892 a third department – the School of Law – was founded, with 67 students and professors. At the end of 1894 a royal decree approved a Law of Higher Education and the departments became faculties. The Faculties of Medicine and Theology were added to the School of Higher Education and in 1904 it was transformed into a University.
People in Bulgaria, lead by the traditional respect for education, learning and culture, supported with donations the establishment of the University. The brothers Evlogy and Hristo Georgiev (whose monuments stand at the main entrance of the Rectorate building) donated 10 200 sq. m. of land and 6 800 000 golden levs for the construction of the main University building and support of educational activities.
Nowadays Sofia University provides higher education to more than 20 000 students in 16 faculties and is the biggest higher education institution in Bulgaria.