University of Malta
The University of Malta traces its origins to the founding of the Collegium Melitense which was set up through direct papal intervention on 12 November 1592. This college was run by the Jesuits on the lines of their other colleges established elsewhere and known as ‘Collegia Externorum’, catering for non-Jesuit students. By a papal Bull of Pope Pius IV, dated 29 August 1561, confirmed later by a further Bull of Pope Gregory XIII, dated 9 May 1578, the Jesuits were empowered to confer the degrees of Magister Philosophiae and Doctor Divinitatis. However, the foundation deed specified that besides Philosophy and Theology, other subjects such as Grammar and the Humanities should also be taught.
Following the abatement of the plague of 1675, Grandmaster Nicolò Cotoner appointed Fra Dr Giuseppe Zammit as ‘lettore’ in Anatomy and Surgery at the Sacra Infermeria on 19 October 1676. This attempt at formalising medical teaching at the Order’s hospital is considered by many as the beginning of our medical school. Zammit went on to establish the first medical library on the island as well as a medicinal herb garden in one of the ditches of Fort Saint Elmo. (IND)