In the early 1950s, people in Central Java, especially in Semarang, needed a university for providing higher learning and teaching facilities. It has been purpose to support of government in handling and in conducting all sectors of development, especially in the field of education. At that time, it was only Gajah Mada University as a public university, that providing higher education for people in Yogyakarta and also Central Java.

As amount of senior high schools graduated has been continuously increasing, while existence of universities limited, some graduates could have not been accommodated at higher education facilities in north of Central Java. Considering this situation, MR. Imam Bardjo and his colleagues formed an educational foundation, namely Yayasan Universitas Semarang (Foundation of Semarang University), noted by notary R.M. Soeprapto on Notarial Deed No 59, December 4, 1956. The foundation was a first step to establish a university in Semarang, namely Semarang University, that officially opened on January 9, 1957, and MR. Imam Bardjo was the first President of the university.

When Semarang University celebrated its third Dies Natalis on January 9, 1960, President of Indonesia, Ir. Soekarno renamed the Semarang University as Diponegoro University. Changing the name of Semarang University was intended as a tribute to the university’s performance in development of higher education in Central Java. The President’s decision was confirmed by the Government Regulation No. 7 1961 and Decree Minister of Education, Teaching and Culture No. 101247 / UU on December 3, 1960.

The decision was retroactive to October 15, 1957, and this date is commemorated  as the day of  Diponegoro University’s Dies Natalis as well as for remembering “Five Days Battle in Semarang”, which is part of Indonesian National Revolution war that took place in Semarang City. Diponegoro University choses the date as its Dies Natalis for continuing national heroes’ ideals of compiling Indonesia’s independence by developing the nation’s intellectual life. Diponegoro University is a contribution the next generation to carry on the mandate from national independence heroes.

The year of 1957 was defined as the year of Diponegoro University’s establishment, by considering history of Semarang University as a private university founded on 1957 was an embryo of Diponegoro University. The  date of October 15, 1957 as Diponegoro University’s Dies Natalis was stated in Rector’s report on the 13th Dies Natalis of Diponegoro University.

The long reputation of Diponegoro University has delivered it to be among the top national higher education entities, which bring competitive advantage for the alumni and  deliver  intellectual works of research and publications.

Currently under Government Regulations No. 81 /2014 and Goverment Regulations of  Indonesia Republic No. 52/2015, Diponegoro University earns the status of PTNBH (Perguruan Tinggi Negeri Badan Hukum-State Owned Higher Education with a Legal Entity Status).

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