What you may not have known about BUT…
BUT is the oldest existing university in Brno and the first Czech technical university in Moravia.
- Thanks to the number of students, BUT is rated as the largest technical university in the Czech Republic. Today the number of BUT students exceeds the number of students of Czech Technical University in Prague or Technical University of Ostrava.
- Emperor Franz Joseph I signed a decree founding the first Czech University in Brno, but from the very beginning the University struggled with the lack of funds and resistance of the German population. Initially BUT did not have any buildings of its own. The first Rector’s office was housed in the rented room at the Slavia Hotel in the center of Brno.
- Karel Zahradník – the mathematician, who came from Zagreb, Croatia, was elected the first Rector of BUT. Antonín Rezek called recruiting Mr. Zahradník for this position as a "jackpot". Professor Zahradník mastered German, French and Croatian languages. His textbook of geometry, first published in 1896, lived to see its 3rd edition in Croatia in 2003 and has been used by Croatian secondary school teachers up to now.
- The foundations of BUT were laid by the first four professors: Karel Zahradník (mathematics), Jan Sobotka (descriptive geometry), Jaroslav Jiljí Jahn (mineralogy and geology) and Hanuš Schwaiger (drawing). When Antonín Rezek, who had the merit of establishing Brno University of Technology, invited them for diner, the painter Schwaiger dedicated him a cartoon called “All 4 chairs thank for dinner" as a slight reproach that Mr. Rezek brought them to Brno where they had to cope with the makeshift conditions of the school.
- The first mentioned official seat of BUT was the building of the Women's Educational Society “Vesna” in the Brno center, today's Jaselská Street. Its small ground floor room with two windows housed the Rector's Office, the Rector's Secretariat, and Karel Zahradník's study in one. The two-meter-wide corridor served as a study of the laboratory assistant. There was the only one lecture hall on the left, a single drawing and technical drawing room one floor higher and the studies of professors and their assistants. On the last day of October 1899, the first 47 students of Brno University of Technology were enrolled.
- The first seven women registered in 1918. In preceding years women attended lectures only as "guests" or "external students". There are first woman engineers registered in 1923 – three at the Chemical Engineering and two at the Electrical Engineering Department. In most cases these enrolled women studied chemistry.
- The first campus built directly for BUT's needs was today's Faculty of Civil Engineering on Veveří Street. During the WWII this building housed military barracks.
- On November 17, 1939, the dormitories of BUT were attacked by SS troops and Gestapo. A total of 173 students were carted off to a concentration camp, and the former student campus suddenly became a prison where hundreds of people, mostly Czech patriots, university educators and activists, were executed. The commemorative plaque on the building serves as a memento of this bloody history. After the war, Kounic's dormitories began to serve as accommodation facilities for Brno students; however, in 1999 they came into possession of the Veterinary and Pharmaceutical University.
- When the Czech universities were closed in 1939, only the torso of the laboratories that the Army considered important remained: the Laboratory of Water Structures, the Tanning Industry Research Institute, the Fermentation Research Institute, and the Research Institute of Sugar Industry. Later these workplaces merged with then-functioning German Technical University at Brno.
- The University was renewed after the war; however its critical period came in the 1950s when the communist leaders decided to replace Brno University of Technology by the Military Technical Academy which “swallowed" most faculties and staff of the original University. The Faculty of Civil Engineering, Faculty of Architecture and Civil Engineering and, absurdly, the Department of Foundry, which were of no military importance, were built on the remains.
- Brno University of Technology changed its name several times. The school was established as the Imperial and Royal Czech Technical University in Brno, followed by the Imperial and Royal Technical University of Franz Josef in Brno, The Czech Technical University in Brno after the establishment of the republic, the Technical University of Doctor Edvard Beneš in Brno at the end of the 1930s, the University of Civil Engineering in the 1950s and Brno University of Technology since 1956.
- During 120 years of its existence, BUT has awarded honorary doctorates to more than 60 persons, (e.g. Nikola Tesla, Jan Antonín and Tomáš Baťa, T. G. Masaryk, Edvard Beneš, Eva Jiřičná and many others).
- At present, the University has already its 53rd Rector. The University has a history of the Rectors as: Vilibald Bezdíček – the expert on water structures, Karel Hugo Kepka and Jaroslav Syřiště – the architects and many others. Prof. Vladimír List – the electrician, was a former BUT Rector who substantially helped electrify Czechoslovakia. He graduated from Czech Technical University in Prague and had a great understanding for the difficult life of the students. “I can imagine the mental state of a technical university novice student from my own experience. When after completing high school and subsequent beautiful holidays spent in the forests of Dobříš, an avalanche of mathematics, descriptive and physics began to flood me in the way of five to eight lecture hours a week, without any books and aids, and I, who had been an honored student so far, walked along the Vltava river that Christmas time, wondering if to drown myself or become a gamekeeper instead."
- At present you will not currently find a school founding charter at BUT. The first archival material referring to the establishment of Brno University of Technology is a document of later date issued by the local government. One of the explanations says that during the previous regime the founding charter was lent to an exhibition in Slovakia, from where it has not returned. The search to find the missing document keeps going...
The BUT Archive is housed in the renovated premises of the former student's canteen on Klatovská Street. Inside, we can find two kilometers of documents. The archive is equipped with special freezing boxes available to save documents damaged by water.