Universitas Indonesia has been through a substantial change through its relatively long history. From the substantive perspective, this institution were founded by the Decree of the Government No: 22, January 2nd 1849, and the education activities commenced on January 1851 with the name of “Javanese Medical Doctor School”. By the end of the 19th century, the Javanese Medical Doctor School was extended to become School tot Opleiding Van Inlandsche Artsen (STOVIA) (1898).

STOVIA closed down in 1927 on its 75 year of existence. As the replacement, a Higher Institution for Medical School was launched in the year 1927 as a complement for the other 4 higher education institutions which were distributed in some cities. Those schools are Technical higher education school in Bandung in 1920, Higher education school on Law in Batavia four years later in 1924. In the year 1929 in Batavia a higher education school in Humanities and Art were erected in Batavia. Meanwhile in Bogor, an Agricultural Higher Education School was opened. Those five higher education institutions were the seeds of the faculties under the Nood Universiteit (emergency university) which were opened in the year 1946 in Jakarta, in the beginning of the Dutch occupancy after the Second World War.

Nood Universiteit in the year 1947 changed its name to be Universiteit van Indonesie which was located in Jakarta. A few nationalist professors (among them is Prof. Mr. Djokosoetono operated Universiteit van Indonesie in the capital city of the Republic of Indonesia which was in Jogjakarta at that time. Those academic activities were separated from the main University in Jakarta which was under the Dutch Occupancy. In the year 1949, the Dutch recognized the sovereignty of the Republic of Indonesia, and the capital city is relocated to Jakarta. Universiteit van Indonesie Jogjakarta moved back to Jakarta. At almost the same time the Gadjah Mada University was initialized in Jogjakarta in the year 1949.

In the year 1950, through a line of uneasiness between Nationalist Professors and Dutch Professors, finally Universiteit van Indonesie changed its name to be Universitas Indonesia. This higher education institution has some faculties in Jakarta (Medicine, Law, Humanities and art), in Bandung (Technical school), in Bogor (Agriculture), in Surabaya (Dentistry) and Makassar (Economics).

Some faculties outside Jakarta in 1960s were operating on its own. Universitas Indonesia in Jakarta has a campus in Salemba and consists of some faculties such as Medicine, Dentistry, Math and Natural Sciences, Humanities, Law, Economics and Engineering. During the next development the some Faculties such as Psychology, Social and Political sciences, Public Health, Computer Science and Nursing were commenced.

In the beginning of 1970s to 1980s Universitas Indonesia has 2 main campuses i.e. Salemba and Rawamangun. In 1987 University of Indonesia raised a new campus in Depok with the area covering approximately 320 hectares of land. From that year University of Indonesia leaved the Rawamangun campus, but still use Salemba Campus for the academic activities of the Faculty of Medicine and Faculty of Dentistry. The total ares which become the land asset of the University of Indonesia is approximately 350 hectares or 3.500.000 M2 (in Central Jakarta, Depok, Tangerang, and East Jakarta).

In the year 2000, Universitas Indonesia became one of the higher education institutions which were granted the status as an Autonomous Legal Entity (BHMN) in Indonesia. This is the beginning of the implementation of the campus autonomy idea which covers the following. First, autonomy in the academic development, Second, autonomy in the financial management. This autonomous status provides some space for the University of Indonesia to developed and play its basic role in the knowledge based society.

From the genealogical note mentioned above, it is important to understand that the existence of the Universitas Indonesia is in line with the development of the Indonesia’s civilization, particularly in the academic world. In can be stated that UI is the seeds of and the embarkment of the renaissance for modern Indonesia. UI is the flag bearer of the country’s name and this is the pride as well as the responsibility of the University.

In relation this, Universitas Indonesia as a “universe”, must have a capacity to be the motor of the civilization and humanities to reach the ‘advancement’ by keeping the balance between the orientations of academic values, morality and art. By this, the civilization and humanities in this republic in the future can be marked with the initiation of advancement, civilization, prosperity, justice, peace, democracy, and the balance and preservation of the environment to live.