Hokkaido University had its beginnings in Sapporo Agricultural College, founded in 1876 as the first college in Japan to give bachelor's degrees. In 1949 it was re-organized as a 'new system' university with seven faculties and one department of general education. It now consists of 12 faculties, 14 graduate schools and 20 research institutes and centers, with 2,150 academic staff, 11,400 undergraduate students, 5,200 graduate students and 712 non-degree research students; the student body includes 720 overseas students from 75 countries. The University has concluded exchange and cooperation agreements with 65 universities in 18 countries. The main campus of the University occupies a 170 hectare site close to the center of Sapporo. Hokkaido University, on the foundation of academic freedom, aims to promote world-class research to solve problems confronting humankind through flexible organization of its graduate schools and other networks leading to remarkable developments in its research and education functions, while promoting creative research without distinction of theory and practice. With the introduction of western customs and scientific technology, and lectures by foreign teachers, the Sapporo Agricultural College opened its mind to diverse directions from the beginning.