The University of Akureyri (UNAK) was established in the year 1987 and its first rector, Haraldur Bessason was appointed in the summer of that year. During the first year of operations programmes of study were offered in two faculties, i.e. those of health and management. Teaching was conducted in two offices in Akureyri Sports Hall and in two offices of university staff members at no. 23 Þingvallastræti. There were four permanent staff members and 31 students.
From the beginning the growth of the University has been rapid. The programmes of studies offered have constantly been increasing in number as well as the ranks of university staff members. Various cooperating partners have appeared and buildings have been constructed. Now studies are offered in the following academic fields: mass media studies, primary school studies, nursing, occupational therapy, pre-primary school teaching, biotechnology, law, modern studies, social science, psychology, fisheries research and management, natural resource sciences and business.
Main Events in the University History
- The University was established in the year 1987 and programmes of studies were offered in the faculties of health and management
- The Student Service Centre was established on 26 October 1988.
- The library was formally opened on 16 June 1988
- The first graduation ceremony in the faculty of management was on 16 June 1989 when 10 industrial management students graduated
- Útsteinn, student housing at Skarðshlíð, was taken into use at the inception of autumn semester in 1989
- The Faculty of Fisheries was established on 4 January 1990
- Student housing at Klettastígur was taken into use at the beginning of autumn semester in 1992
- In December of 1992 the Research Institute of the University of Akureyri started its operations
- Authorisation was granted by a letter, dated 10 December 1992, for the establishment of a faculty of teaching. Teaching in the faculty began in autumn semester of 1993
- Student housing at Klettastígur (the last two buildings) was taken into use at the end of August 1993
- Future housing at Sólborg was formally turned over to the University on 1 April 1995
- On 15 May 1998 an agreement was signed making the University of Akureyri responsible for supervision of distance learning in nursing for the municipality of Ísafjördur. This was the basis of the development that has taken place in distance learning at the University
- On 4 September 1999 an agreement was concluded between the University of Akureyri and the University of Iceland on the Iceland Tourism Research Centre
- The first master‘s degree students graduated on 26 February of the year 2000. These were students who had pursued studies for the master‘s degree programme in nursing conducted in cooperation with the University of Manchester in England
- Haraldur Bessason, former rector of the University of Akureyri, was elected the first honorary doctor of the University of Akureyri at a graduation ceremony on 10 June of the year 2000
- The Food Research Centre of the University of Akureyri began its operations at the beginning of the year 2000
- On 1 April 2001 the Community Research Centre began its operations. In a contract on the centre, reference is made to the fact that it is to constitute a research and information centre in the field of community studies at the University of Akureyri
- In autumn of the year 2001 a programme of computer studies was launched in a new faculty, that of information technology
- On 7 October 2002 a building for practical studies in the Faculty of Health of the University of Akureyri was taken into use
- On 17 June 2002 the first group of students in distance learning graduated. It consisted of 9 students in nursing who graduated in Ísafjörður
- On 17 January 2003 the University Council agreed to establish at the Univeristy the Páll S. Árdal Institute of Hume Studies
- The Faculty of Social Sciences and Law was established in the year 2002 and teaching began in autumn of 2003
- On 28 May 2003 the University of Akureyri took over the operations of the Entrepreneurship Institute of North Iceland
- In autumn of 2003 the Institute of Health Sciences of the University of Akureyri was established
- Student housing at 29 Tröllagil was taken into use in September of 2004
- In October of 2004 Borgir, research and innovation centre was taken into use
- Dr. Shirin Ebadi was appointed honorary doctor at the faculty of social science and law on 6 November 2004
- A physical fitness gym at Sólborg was taken into use on 10 October of 2005
- The Icelandic Centre for Asian Studies was established on 16 December 2005
The operations of the University of Akureyri are conducted at four locations. Borgir is an attractive research and innovation centre building that was taken into use in autumn of 2004. The building was initially constructed as a private project and its owners are Iceland Prime Contractor. Besides the University there are in the building several of its associated institutes.
Sólborg is university property and was built in the period from 1967 - 1984, but its most recently built part was taken into use in autumn of the year 2000. Older buildings have been extensively renovated and the next construction stage is in the design phase. Before the University received Sólborg it was operated as a home for retarded persons.