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World Teachers' Day – The first principal of Georgia’s first university
05 October, 2016
October 5 marks the World Teachers' Day, held annually since 1994. In relation to this important date, we would like to introduce you to one of the co-founders of Tbilisi State University, its first principal and first of all a great Georgian chemist Petre Melikishvili.

In 1868 he finished Tbilisi First Gymnasium where later, together with another outstanding professor and historian Ivane Javakhishvili, he opened the very first university of Georgia. In 1873 Petre ‘s first scientific work was published. It is noteworthy that during his lifetime Melikishvili wrote more than 80 scientific works on different topics in chemistry. In 1918 Petre was one of the first who supported Ivane Javakhishvili’s initiative to establish Georgian university and came to Georgia to personally take part in organizational works of the university.

As a result, on January 26, 1918 in the three rooms of the north part of Tbilisi First Gymnasium building the first university of Georgia was officially opened. In the beginning the university counted 369 students, 89 listeners, 7 professors, 5 secretaries, two head researches and 3 lecturers. This day became a big celebration and remained as a historic day.

It is noteworthy that during his twenty-month working period as a principal of Tbilisi State University Petre never received salary and did everything voluntarily. Petre was later succeeded by another great person and an honorable man Ivane Javakhishvili. Melikishvili has a big merit in creation of Georgian Chemical Terminology. He founded four chemical laboratories and departments of Inorganic, Organic and Agronomic Chemistry in TSU.He is buried in the garden of Tbilisi State University where a bust is erected on his grave.

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