The National University of La Plata (Spanish: Universidad Nacional de La Plata, UNLP) is one of the most important Argentine national universities and the biggest one situated in the city of La Plata, capital of Buenos Aires Province. It has over 90,000 regular students, 10,000 teaching staff, 16 departments and 106 available degrees.
UNLP comprises the Rafael Hernández National College, the Victor Mercante Lyceum, the Bachelor of Fine Arts program, the School of Agronomy, the La Plata University Radio, the La Plata University Press and numerous academic centers for research and outreach including La Plata Museum of Natural Sciences, the University Public Library, the Samay Huasi Retreat for Artists and Writers, the Institute of Physical Education, the Astronomical Observatory and the Santa Catalina Rural Association.
The institution began operations on April 18, 1897, as the Universidad Provincial de La Plata with Dr. Dardo Rocha as its rector. In 1905, Joaquín V. González, the Minister of Justice and Public Education of the government of Manuel Quintana, decided to nationalize it. González also integrated many municipal scientific institutions into the university, and a year later he became the first President of the National University of La Plata. Today the university holds one of the most important paleontological and anthropological collections in South America.