The university was formally opened on 7 October, 1960, as the climax to the Nigerian independence celebrations in the Eastern Region. Her Royal Highness, Princess Alexandra of Kent, representing Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at the Nigerian independence celebrations, performed the opening ceremonies and laid the foundation stone of one of the university's early buildings.
The university has 15 Faculties and 102 academic departments. The university offers 108 undergraduate programs and 211 postgraduate programmes.
Over 139 research groups exist in the university. The outputs of these groups that spread across faculties, centres, institutes and the library had brought the university to limelight in the global research community.
The University of Nigeria, Nsukka Libraries consist of the Nnamdi Azikiwe Library, the Enugu Campus Main Library and the Medical Library located at the College of Medicine, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Ituku-Ozalla. The Nnamdi Azikiwe Library is the second oldest University Library in Nigeria.
The Medical Centre is as old as the University. It was established to take care of minor ailments affecting the staff and students of the University. The centre has a good working relationship with the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital.
The main campus of the university is located on 871 hectares of hilly savannah in the town of Nsukka, about eighty kilometres north of Enugu, and enjoys a very pleasant and healthy climate. Additionally 209 hectares of arable land are available for an experimental agricultural farm and 207 hectares for staff housing development. There is regular road transport between Nsukka and Enugu, and Nsukka is also quite easily accessible from all parts of Nigeria. There are modern shopping facilities and a large market in Nsukka town.
The unit is headed by the director of sports domiciled at Nsukka and a deputy director of sports heading the enugu campus of the university. The unit organizes sporting activities for students and staff of the university
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