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A part of my essay was edited by a native speaker, with the definite article before "Moscow State University" deleted:

Mikhail Lomonosov (1711–1765) is famous for his spectacular rise from a simple peasant to a well-known scientist. He played a role in founding (the) Moscow State University, considered today the country’s top institution of higher education.

Would it be okay to retain the article, or is "Moscow State University" the only grammatical way to put it?

Could it be that the phrase is okay either with or without the article?

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    Both are valid. Verified through Google Ngram Viewer.
    – Mamta D
    Oct 19, 2015 at 10:07

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It would be acceptable either way, but correct is another question. What is the official name of the institution? If it is "Moscow State University" (or its Russian equivalent) then "the" is not correct.

Imagine the name of a city in place of the name of the school:

He helped found the Moscow...

Unless you're trying to distinguish between Moscow, Idaho, USA, and the Moscow, this doesn't make sense. In any other context there's no need for the definite article. It's definite enough alone.

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