The Ionian Academy was the first Greek academic institution established in modern times. It was located in Corfu and was established by Frederick North, 5th Earl of Guilford in 1824. It is considered the precursor of the Ionian University and had Philological, Law and Medical Schools.
Frederick North, 5th Earl of Guilford GCMG 1766 – 1827 was an English statesman, son of the Prime Minister, Governor of Ceylon. In 1824 North established the Ionian Academy on the island of Corfu, which was under British control as part of the United States of the Ionian Islands. It was the first University to be established in Modern Greece. A statue of the Earl stands in the gardens in Corfu Town by the palace of St Michael & St George and a library and street are named after him.
The first period of existence of its Medical School was from 1824–1828. The second from 1844–1865 (when the Ionian Islands united with Greece). Many of the physicians at the Academy had followed the traditional path of studying in Italy, and in particular at the medical School of Bologna. Their scientific and educational activities in establishing the high level of the Medical School influenced the Greek medical science as a whole. In particular, George Therianos (Prof of General and Comparative Anatomy and Experimental Physics) from the island of Zakynthos met the Earl of Guilford in 1825 in England and was given the position of professor of the Academy’s Medical School.
Ioannis Karandinos who had already learnt mathematics with Charles Dupin at the original Ionian Academy established by the French during their occupation of the Septinsular Republic (1807–1824), was sent by Lord Guilford to study at the École Polytechnique in Paris, France, in Italy and in England between 1820 and 1823, and became the director of the school of Mathematics at the Academy.
After the union of the Ionian Islands to the Kingdom of Greece in 1864, the Ionian Academy was closed to support the newly established University of Athens. Parts of the staff moved to Athens and also the library was brought there.