Pavel Demidov (Pavel Grigoryevich Demidov, 1738-1821) — the famous Russian manufacturer, scientist in natural science, full state councilor, patron, founder of the Demidov Law Lyceum in Yaroslavl (today – the Yaroslavl State University).
Received education in the Gottingen University and the Freiberg Academy. Traveled around the Western Europe. Ekaterina II rewarded him with a title of Councilor of the Berg-Collegium “for spacious knowledge in history of natural sciences and mineralogy”. Demidov was in correspondence with Linney, Buffon and other foreign scientists; constituted the wonderful natural-science collection, which together with his library and money in sum of 100,000 Rubles granted to the Moscow University (1803).
During his trips abroad and around Russia P.G. Demidov had constituted the essential natural-science collection, collection of medals and coins, artistic rarities and a large library.
When in 1802 a decree for establishment of ministerial services was issued, containing appeal to the Russian citizens to donate money for education development in Russia, P.G. Demidov was one of the first who responded to it. With the help of money he donated (3,578 souls of serfs, that is on the basis of 300 Rubles per soul makes up 1,073,400 Rubles and 120,000 Rubles) in 1803 the Demidov High Sciences College was established in Yaroslavl (later renamed into the Demidov Law Lyceum). In 1805 Demidov donated for establishment of the universities in Kiev and Tobolsk 50,000 Rubles to either; Tobolsk capital grew up to 190 thousand Rubles by 1881 and was used for establishment of the Tomsk University, where in the assembly hall there stands the portrait of P.G. Demidov. In 1806 he donated his mini-cabinet containing some thousand coins and medals to the Moscow University.
On June 6 (18) 1803 P.G. Demidov received the St. Vladimir of the Big Cross Order of the 1st category and soon, in 1805 was promoted to the rank of a full state councilor. In 1803 at the common meeting of the Ruling Senate Demidov was rewarded with a golden medal with his portrait on the one side and the words “For charity to science development” on the other.
A memorial dedicated to Pavel Demidov – the Demidov Column – was erected in Yaroslavl in March 1829, and reconstructed in 2005.