The Escuela Superior Politécnica del Litoral, ESPOL, was born in response to a perceived need at region-wide level for Institutions of Higher Education Specialized in Scientific and Technical Education. It was created via Executive Decree Nº 1664, issued by the then President of the Republic of Ecuador, Dr. Camilo Ponce Enríquez, on 29 October 1958.
On 25 May 1959, in two classrooms in the University Halls situated in calle Chile, 51 students attended the first classes under the leadership of the first Rector, Ing. Walter Camacho Navarro.
On 29 May 1959, ESPOL was officially inaugurated in the presence of the President of the Republic, Dr. Camilo Ponce Enríquez.
In 1969, the Governing Body of ESPOL entered into conversation with representatives of the Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo (BID) in order to obtain a loan for improving the physical and technological infrastructure of the campus. 1972 saw the beginning of the BID/ESPOL I joint project.
The birth of the Escuela Superior Politécnica del Litoral coincides with significant events in the economy and in science both nationally and on the world stage. The Great Hall of the Universidad de Guayaquil is the place where ESPOL gave its first classes.
Commencement of academic activities. In the picture, various authorities and students appear together with Walter Camacho Navarro, Rector of ESPOL, during the inauguration of the first semester of studies.
In the presence of the President of the Republic, José María Velasco Ibarra, ESPOL inaugurated the first Computer Center. The President was received by the Rector, Walter Valdano Raffo.
Substantial improvements in the physical and technological infrastructure were financed with the BID/ESPOL I project, an investment amounting to nearly 4 million dollars. Work began on rebuilding the former Customs Offices, where the buildings and workshops of the Campus Las Peñas of ESPOL would thenceforth be situated.
The first institutional priority became the execution of the BID ESPOL II Development Plan, which made it possible to expand the offer of degree courses in Electrical Engineering, create postgraduate courses, improve the quality of teaching, promote and support research activities, and develop support programs addressed to the productive sector. In the photograph, Walter Valdano, the Rector, oversees the presentation of the model of the new Campus Prosperina.
The Centro Nacional de Acuicultura e Investigaciones Marinas (National Center for Aquiculture and Marine Research), CENAIM-ESPOL, a cornerstone of the sustainability of the shrimp farming industry insofar as it constitutes the sole research center in Biotechnology for the farming of shrimps and other sea fauna in Ecuador, was formally inaugurated. The applied research of CENAIM led to solving the problem of “white spot” in Ecuador.
The Campus Politécnico Gustavo Galindo Velasco, in La Prosperina, an attractive place of study in contact with nature, was inaugurated. This campus is the result of a Development Plan, supported by all governments since 1979 and financed by means of a loan from the BID. In the photograph, a view of the new Rectorate Building.
The VLIR-ESPOL program contributed significantly to strengthening research in ESPOL and to training up 16 professionals with the degree of Ph.D., who developed doctoral programs in the Flemish universities of Belgium. The project was extended into a second phase ending in 2008.
ESPOL obtains Institutional Accreditation of Quality from CONEA, a considerable achievement involving a process of self-evaluation and external evaluation, where the functions analyzed included teaching, research, links with society and administrative management.
The Escuela Superior Politécnica del Litoral is recognized by CONEA as a Class A university, according to the report “Evaluation of Performance of Institutions of Higher Education” presented to the country's National Assembly.
ESPOL is ratified by CEAACES as a Class A university following the national process of university evaluation. ESPOL now stands as the only public institution of Higher Education in Latin America which has international accreditation, since the degree courses of Engineering in Computer Science and Mechanical Engineering were accredited by ABET. In addition, ESPOL’s Business School, ESPAE, obtained international accreditation with AACSB.
The first doctorates in the history of the institution were created: Doctorate in Applied Computational Sciences, and Doctorate in Applied Biosciences. The College of Life Sciences opens with three degree courses which are still current: Marine Biology, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, and Bachelor in Nutrition. ESPOL remains at the forefront of research and offers 9 Master’s Research Degrees accredited by CES.