Professors Jānis Arnolds Eglītis (1902–1986) and Irma Liepiņa-Eglītis (1907–2000) are associated with their merits in developing histology as a subject for the students of the University of Latvia Faculty of Medicine and in ensuring the study process. Both professors have provided a significant contribution to science.

Irma Liepiņa-Eglītis was born on 13 October 1907 in Riga. In 1931, she graduated from the University of Latvia, Faculty of Medicine.

Jānis Arnolds Eglītis was born on 16 December 1902 in Kārļi rural municipality, Cēsis district. Graduated from Riga City Gymnasium No. 1, in 1931 graduated from the University of Latvia, Faculty of Medicine.

Both commenced working as histology assistants at the Institute of Anatomy and Histology – Jānis Arnolds Eglītis in 1927, while Irma Liepiņa in 1932. Both were interested in science from the very beginning of their studies. Later, Irma Liepiņa headed the science club for students of the Faculty of Medicine.

During his studies, J. A. Eglītis received the Kristaps Morbergs scholarship and specialized abroad. In 1940, Eglītis defended his dissertation "Histological and Embryological Studies of Glands of Rodentia Anal Region". This work was awarded the Foundation of Culture Category 1 Award. In 1942, he defended a habilitation dissertation dedicated to the closure of the posterior neuropore of the spinal cord. Thus, he became the first histologist in Latvia to have defended both dissertations. In the late 1930s, he introduced his own style to histology studies: arranged collections of preparations, drew syllabuses for lectures. He was the first lecturer in histology to think about the aesthetics of teaching histology, and the first to take pictures of histological preparations for teaching and scientific purposes.

Spouses Eglītis had become acquainted with the histology institutes of Western European universities, therefore, they could collaborate to organize the study process of excellence at the UL Faculty of Medicine. They understood the importance of histologic knowledge in medical education.

Irma Liepiņa-Eglītis supported her husband's work and had developed a doctoral thesis on the causes of arterial tortuosity. It was an extensive macroscopic and microscopic study with significant results. Unfortunately, she was not able to defend her doctoral dissertation because she emigrated to Germany with her husband in 1944, and in 1950 she came to the United States. After the emigration of Eglītis, the histology teaching process during the first years of the Soviet occupation was disrupted.

At the University of Columbus, Ohio, Eglītis spouses became professors. As in Riga, both professors at the University of Columbus continually advanced the teaching of histology in line with the new scientific developments. At the newly-founded university, Eglītis spouses established a new, modern institute of histology. Both were deeply respected for their teaching and scientific work, as well as for their social activities.

Jānis Arnolds Eglītis passed away on 26 June 1986, in Ohio, USA.

Irma Liepiņa-Eglītis passed away on 3 December 2000, in Ohio, USA.

The patrons in their support to the University of Latvia affirmed that the links that unite alumni and faculty with the University of Latvia are stronger than distance, showed that true patriotism towards the state is manifested in supporting youth, helping to improve the education process and developing ideas of young talents.


In 2001, the University of Latvia received USD 410 000 endowment intended for improvement, modernization and optimization of the histology teaching process. This material support was the deciding factor enabling a much earlier modernisation of the study process. The endowment became the basis for the establishment of the fund named after both professors.

We greatly appreciate the generous support to education and development!