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The Central University of Ecuador , is the oldest university and the second largest by number of students of the Republic of Ecuador . It is located in the north of the city of Quito , in the so-called university citadel, as well as its headquarters in the south of Quito, in the city of Santo Domingo de los Colorados , and in the Galapagos Islands. Affiliated since 2012 to the Ecuadorian Network of Universities for Research and Postgraduate Studies. Its origins go back to the Central University of Quito. Which originated from the union of the Universities: Seminary of St. Louis and St. Gregory the Great founded in 1651 by the Jesuits and St. Thomas Aquinas, founded in 1681 by the Dominicans. On the basis of the Royal Santo Tomas Public University, the Central University of Quito was founded. For in 1836, by means of a decree of President Vicente Rocafuerte , the word Quito was changed to Ecuador and the Central University of Ecuador (UCE) was finally established.