The initiative for the formation of Stockholm University was taken by the Stockholm City Council. The process was completed after a decision in December 1865 regarding the establishment of a fund and a committee to establish a higher education institution in the capital. The nine members of the Committee were respected and prominent citizens whose work have helped the evolution of science and society. In 1878, the university college Stockholms högskola started its operations with a series of lectures on natural sciences, open to curious citizens (a tradition still upheld by yearly publicly open lectures). Notable in the university's early history is the appointment of Sofia Kovalevskaya to hold a chair in mathematics department in 1889, making her the third female professor in Europe. In 1904 the college became an official degree granting institution. The University Board is the University's highest governing body. The board is responsible for the University as a government agency 's mission and for following the requirements of laws and regulations. The board reports to the government. The University board is above the principal who is the head of the authority and have operational responsibility for all operations. Education and research at Stockholm University is carried out within the natural sciences and the humanities/social sciences. Within these fields, there are four faculties with 70 departments, institutes and centers within the humanities, law, natural sciences and social sciences.