The UNA is preceded by the Escuela Normal de Costa Rica (1914), dedicated to the training of teachers, and the Escuela Normal Superior (1968), whose commitment was the training of high school teachers. From both institutions, he inherited not only the infrastructure but also a pedagogical culture that would later affect his educational-teaching and humanistic vocation. When UNA was created, the Pérez Zeledón and Liberia Normal Schools became regional sections of the new state university.
References made in this period to the necessary university that was born with the UNA are frequent. But more than a concept, it is a philosophy that was promulgated by its first rector and that has marked this institution. “In this task, we have had the concern not so much to conceive and build simply one more university, but to give the country a Necessary University that, by making an effective commitment to its national reality, can serve it to fulfill a historic destiny with prosperity, justice and freedom ", declared the priest Benjamín Núñez.
The slogan of providing a quality higher education to all sectors that make up society and greater opportunities to the neediest groups of the Costa Rican population remains as valid as then. UNA has not only managed to consolidate its image as a Necessary University, with which it was conceived and for which its leaders continue to bet, but it also reaffirms this commitment by expanding its borders to different regions of the country, where its presence is necessary.