Giovanni Gentile (1928-1936, 1937-1943)

A philosopher, Gentile was Minister of Education of the first Fascist government; at the Scuola Normale he was first a commissioner and then director, in two successive moments.
Pushed to one side on a political level, he maintained a good personal relationship with Mussolini, thanks to whom he obtained funding to expand the Palazzo della Carovana and increase the number of students.
Under his directorship, the Mussolini College for Corporate Sciences and the National Medical College were created, then merged into the Medical-Juridical College: intended for the best students of Law and Medicine of the University of Pisa, they were both managed by the Scuola Normale.
Giovanni Gentile promoted a single category of students, internal boarders, thus strengthening the collegial nature of the Scuola Normale, from which, however, he excluded women, while appointing the first two women teachers: Medea Norsa and Beatrice Giglioli.
In 1938 he launched a statute by which the Scuola Normale became a "higher education institution" with "legal personality and administrative, didactic and disciplinary autonomy" with respect to the University of Pisa.
Among the many Normalisti of this era who were later to become protagonists of the history of the Republic was the future President of the Republic, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi.