The establishment of the University of Thessaloniki, as the second Greek university, was legislated under Law 3341/1925, during the premiership of Alexandros Papanastassiou, during the period of the first Greek Republic. At first, according to Eleftherios Venizelos' plans, right after the end of the First World War, Smyrna was intended to be the seat of the second Greek university, while the third was to be established in Thessaloniki. However, these plans fell through because of the developments in Asia Minor (1922).
The need for the establishment of the University of Thessaloniki arose, undoubtedly, from the outcome of the Balkan Wars and the incorporation of the area of Northern Greece, which was then called "the New Countries", into the main body of the Greek State. Yet, the establishment of the new institute of higher education was brought about by another factor, perhaps not as important as the first but nevertheless interesting as is shown by the views of two of the people who played a leading part in the foundation of the University, the Prime Minister Alexandros Papanastassiou and the Minister of Education, I. Liberopoulos.
Chronology and stages
The chronological development of the University, which was renamed the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in 1954, can be divided into three stages , each covering a period of approximately twenty-five years.
During the first stage of its operation (1926-1950), the development focuses on those Schools which have been generally accepted as constituting one Institute, namely the Faculty of Philosophy, the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics, the Faculty of Law and Economics, the School of Theology and the Medical School. Only the Departments of Pharmacy (1955), Dentistry (part of Medical School since 1959, and an independent School since 1971) as well as the Institutes of Foreign Languages within the Faculty of Philosophy were established and became operational after this time (1950).
During the second stage (1951-1975) the focal point of development is the Polytechnic School, which in fact is an independent institute also called the Polytechnic or Technical University. So, for the first fifty years of its operation the Aristotle University consisted of two institutes, the University and the Polytechnic, which operate independently both in our country and abroad.
During the third stage of its development, the Aristotle University has acquired Departments and Faculties which were founded and operated, at first, as independent Institutes of higher Education, not only here but also abroad. These were the Faculty of Art, Music Academies, the Theatrical School, the Gymnastic Academy, etc.