After the Revolution of 1917 and the Civil War, only four departments functioned at Tomsk University: medical, legal, historical and philological, and physics and mathematics. At the beginning of the Civil War, some teachers and students of Kazan and Perm universities were evacuated to Tomsk by the White Army. Fleeing from the Soviet authorities, some students from Moscow and Petrograd moved to Tomsk. Thus, the number of students here increased up to 4,900. In the middle of December 1919, the Red Army entered Tomsk and the Soviet power was restored in the city.
During the first decade after the Revolution, Tomsk State University played an exceptional role in the training of specialists for the rapidly developing national economy of the country.
In 1923, People's Commissar of Education Anatoly Lunacharsky came to Tomsk. Visiting local educational institutions, he noted that "the polytechnic college and the university can compete with the best institutions in Russia, as well as with many European educational institutions." When he came back to Moscow, he shared his impressions of the trip to Siberia in the central newspaper Izvestia. Lunacharsky believed that Tomsk would become a cultural centre of Northern Asia.
The university kept on developing. New faculties and majors were established. In 1925, the first geologists graduated from the university. Among the first graduates was Yuri Kuznetsov, who became the first post-raduate student and subsequently a full member of the USSR Academy of Sciences. The first women doctors of sciences in physics Natalia Prilezaeva and Vera Kudryavtseva also graduated from TSU.
At that time, a new tradition of inviting leading professors and scientists was born. For example, in January 1934, a series of lectures on mathematical physics was conducted by professor Nikolay Koshlyakov, Corresponding Member of the USSR Academy of Sciences.
In the 1930s, students combined learning and research. In February 1940, the first research student conference was held at TSU.
During the Soviet era, students not only studied and did research, but also initiated various public, sports, and cultural events at Tomsk University and in the city.
In 1960, students of Tomsk State University went to the "Blue Virgin Lands". This name was given to the virgin lands, where instead of harvesting, they were building collective farms. A group of students from the Mechanics and Mathematics Faculty initiated the trip to the "Blue Virgin Lands”. Later, students from other faculties joined them. Thus, the history of the TSU’s student construction movement began.
Two important initiatives of the TSU’s construction teams are worth special mentioning. The first is raising money for the construction of two most famous city monuments: in Lagerny Sad and near the main building of the University. The second is providing free assistance for veterans of wars and labor.
In addition, in 1967, employees and students of TSU raised money for the monument in the University Grove for those who perished in the Great Patriotic War.
In the autumn of 1959, the TSU’s choir chapel was established. The university has strong sports traditions too. The most successful sports team is a team of skin divers.
The environment as a place of residence plays a big role in the life of students. From the first years of the existence of Tomsk State University, its chief planner Vasiliy Florinsky paid great attention to where students will study, as well as to where they will live. The first dormitory was built solely on the donations of the community. It was designed for 74 residents. In 1904, the University had already two dormitories for 224 people. In 1935, the first five-story dormitory was built. Later, several other buildings appeared on Lenin Avenue, the central street of the city.
In order to make the educational and scientific process sucsessful, Florinsky drew attention to the creation of a fundamental university library that could "satisfy the scientists and the educational needs of the four faculties that were being designed at the time."
By the opening of the University, the library had about 96,000 books and was one of the largest university libraries in Russia. In 1914, a special building for the library was built on the territory of the University Grove. In 1978, a new multi-storey building was added to the library. Now the library's funds have 3, 800 000 books.
Tomsk State University has entered the world educational community. Its graduates are in demand in various spheres of the national economy. Today, Tomsk State University is a "university open to the world". Our graduates work all over the world.
In 1980, the graduates of the pre-war years gathered for their reunion at TSU and here is what they said, “Nothing will ever replace the university, where our youth ended and our adult life began.”
In the year of the 140th anniversary, we want to address these words to our graduates and to our students: you were and you are our everything!