History of the Faculty of Economics

Campus Lugano - immagine storica
Stabile principale, Lugano
Sala del Gran Consiglio, Bellinzona. Votazione sull'Università, 3 ottobre 1995
Campus Lugano - immagine storica
Stabile principale, Lugano
Ruth Deifuss, allora Direttrice del Dipartimento federale dell'interno, al Dies academicus del 1997

The USI Faculty of Economics was established in 1996 and it is one of the three founding Faculties of Università della Svizzera italiana, together with the Academy of Architecture and the Faculty of Communication Sciences.

Among other reasons, the Faculty was created to consolidate and to bolster the financial centre of the Canton of Ticino (the third in Switzerland) through academic-level education that combines quantitative approaches and social analysis, and through research aimed at broadening disciplinary horizons.

The original project for the creation of the Faculty was developed by a steering committee, in which Mauro Baranzini, Remigio Ratti, and Lanfranco Senn sought a balance between a study curriculum very similar to that of "classic" Swiss universities on the one hand and more typical aspects of business schools such as Bocconi University or the University of St. Gallen on the other.

The first Dean of the Faculty was Pietro Balestra (1997-2001) who, with rigour and virtue succeeded in attracting to Lugano several internationally acclaimed professors and thus outlined a sound path for the development of our Faculty.


"For there to be a genuine industrial or services revolution, a combination of favourable conditions are required. It is somewhat like mushrooms in the forests in autumn, which sprout only when there is the right temperature, the right humidity, and perhaps even the right moon phase. This is what occured in our Canton, in the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland, from the end of the 1980s to the beginning of the new Millenium, which led to the creation of a comprehensive scientific and cultural initiative that is Università della Svizzera italiana with its Faculty of Economics."

Mauro Baranzini, former Dean and founding member of the Faculty