In August of 1945, thanks to the vision and zeal of a Jesuit priest, Padre Roberto Saboia de Medeiros, the Foundation of Applied Sciences was established, which in 2002 altered its name in homage to its founder, in a clear reference to the statutory link which the institution preserves with the Company of Jesus, founded by Saint Ignatius of Loyola.
Thus the currently named Educational Foundation of Ignatius "Padre Saboia de Medeiros" – FEI was created with the collaboration of several founders, to have the autonomous nature of a foundation, in order to run learning institutions, mainly of higher education. From the very beginning it was consolidated as the board of trustees of the Faculty of Industrial Engineering and its history is closely tied to the evolution and development of the units governed by it. FEI, with its many different courses, has already graduated more than 35,000 professionals over the years, among them engineers, business administrators and IT professionals.
In January 1944, this same founder, Padre Saboia de Medeiros, set up an institution named Social Action which had a number of statutory objectives, one of which was to govern ESAN (Higher School of Business Administration) and the São Francisco de Borgia Technical School. Both institutions, Foundation and Social Action, work in parallel and share resources, especially human resources, and also the same President, named by the Company of Jesus, for several terms of the board of directors.
Founded in 1941, the Higher School of Business Administration – ESAN/SP – which marked the formal start of specific Administration studies in the country was originally linked to an independent governing body, Social Action. On the 28th of January 1961, then President of the Republic Juscelino de Oliveira signed the decree making ESAN the first Higher School of Business Administration in the Country to be officially recognized by the government. The same decree recognized the validity of the students’ diplomas who had graduated since 1941. In 1973, the transfer of the governing body was authorized, and the Foundation of Applied Sciences came to centralize the governance of learning institutions with higher level courses.
In 1998, the Foundation incorporated Social Action, grouping under one governing umbrella all the schools, their heritage and resources in order to administer them more profitably.
The old Faculty of Industrial Engineering – FEI, which was created to fill the lack of engineering professionals prepared for industry, who were the support of Brazil’s great economic push in the decade of the 40’s, was authorized to function by Presidential Decree no. 20.942 of the 9th of April 1946. It started its activities on the 20th of May 1946 with 50 places in the class of Chemical Engineering in São Paulo. In that same year, on the 22nd of August, FEI and other faculties, each one in its area of competence, joined to form the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo. At the end of 1971, FEI separated from PUC and returned to its condition as an independent institution of higher education.
In a lengthy period fraught with difficulties to establish itself after the demise of its founder, FEI went through a number of different administrations, with the following Jesuit presidents: Padre Roberto Saboia de Medeiros (from 1945 to 1955), Padre José Gomes Bueno (1955 to 1961), Padre Antonio Aquino (1961 to 1962) and Padre Mario Ghislandi (1962 to 1969), Padre Aldemar Pasini Moreira de Souza (1969 to 1997) and Padre Theodoro Paulo Severino Peters, since 1997.
In 1969, Padre Aldemar Moreira, S.J. was named to the Presidency of FEI and remained in that position till his death in July of 1997. In nearly 28 years of tenure he oversaw great strides of progress by the institution.
New needs to expand and complement knowledge acquired in graduation courses led to the creation of IPEI – the Institute of Industrial Studies – in 1975, with the intention of helping to sustain the courses and to develop and transfer technology to the production sector, by means of assistance, technological projects and services, testing and analysis in the areas of Mechanics, Chemistry, Electro-Electronics, Textiles and Metallurgy, thereby building a bridge to industry. Currently IPEI also backs institutional research at an academic level.
In 1982, IECAT – Institute of Specialization in Administrative and Technological Sciences – was created with the basic purpose of promoting professional advancement in the administrative and technological fields, organizing and administering post-graduation latu-sensu and extension courses. After the second half of 1997, IECAT was able to count on installations in São Paulo also and so expand its activities.
Given the importance of information technology in today’s world, the Faculty of IT was set up in 1999, with the course of Computer Science.
Along the same lines of integrating activities in support of industry, the Foundation took over administration of the Volkswagen School, holding courses at academic and professional levels and training people in the company’s own plant.
The Reverend Padre Theodoro Paulo Severino Peters, S.J., teacher and Jesuit priest, who was already acting as a member of the institution’s Council of Curators, became the president as of September 1997 and has remained in the post until the present day.
In January 2002, with a proposal to integrate and incorporate competencies, considering the excellence of their courses, the governed institutions of higher education were converted into the University Center of FEI, approved by MEC in accordance with Directive no. 2574 of the 4th of December 2001. IPEI and IECAT were also incorporated into the University Center.