From 1699 to 1710 a university founded by the Swedish king was operating in Pärnu, which is considered a phase in the history of the University of Tartu. Due to the Great Northern War the activities of the university were short-lived, however the impact of the university on the development of Pärnu was significant.
In 1990 the Town Council of Pärnu deemed it necessary to open an institute or a faculty of the University of Tartu in Pärnu for research into health resort treatment, tourism and holiday management and to prepare qualified personnel. Higher education was once again possible in Pärnu in 1991 when the Pärnu Post-Secondary School of Economics opened. From the moment that it opened, the objective of the school was to develop into a higher education institution. It also began a purposeful development project with the Association of Canadian Colleges in the field of tourism and hotel management. The establishment of the library was also undertaken.
Pärnu Post-Secondary School of Economics
In 1994 the municipal school was federalized, the number of students exceeded 200 and the tourism and hotel management department was opened. The Pärnu Post-Secondary School of Economics grew in popularity throughout Estonia and the number of students from outside Pärnu grew consistently.
The building of University of Tartu Pärnu College before the construction
At the end of 1994, The University of Tartu Days were held in Pärnu. At that time, discussions to open the College in Pärnu as part of the university were undertaken with municipal and county officials. A general commission was established to carry out these negotiations.
On March 20, 1996 the municipal government, Pärnu county government, University of Tartu, Ministry of Education and Pärnu Post-Secondary School of Economics all signed a collaboration agreement.
On May 17, 1996 Pärnu College, University of Tartu opened its doors upon the foundation of the Pärnu Post-Secondary School of Economics. Pärnu College is active as an institution of the University of Tartu and operates under its own charter. The last graduating class of the Pärnu Post-Secondary School of Economics finished in the spring of 1998.
1999 was declared the year of the university in Pärnu, as it was 300 years since the first university opened its doors there. The entire year’s activities, which were organized together by the University of Tartu, Pärnu College and the governments of both the city and county of Pärnu, were carried out under the slogan: UNIVERSITY IN PÄRNU - 300.
Building of University of Tartu Pärnu College
The first part of the college’s new building was finished in 1999; the second part, the library, was finished in 2001.