University of Bengkulu (UNIB) was established based on the Republic of Indonesia Presidential Instruction Number 17, 1982 and inaugurated by the Minister of Education and Culture of Republic of Indonesia, Prof. Dr. Daud Yusuf. At the same moment, the first UNIB rector, Prof. Ir. Soenjoto Sumodihardjo (University of Gadjah Mada) was also inaugurated to serve during the period of 1982 to 1986. Then, Dr. Ir. Soekotjo (University of Gadjah Mada), previously served as the First Rector Assistant, led UNIB during the period of 1986 to 1990. From 1990 to 1995, Dr. Ir. Nitza Arbi (Andalas University) was given the mandate to lead UNIB. After that, from 1995 to 2005 the position for Rector was occupied by Prof. Dr. H Zulkifli Husin, S.E., M.Sc. (University of Syahkuala). From 2005 to 2013 Prof. Ir. ZainaLMuktamar, M.Sc., Ph.D was chosen as the Rector. Finally, since 4th of October 2013, Dr. Ridwan Nurazi, S.E., M.Sc. was inaugurated and has been serving as the 6th Rector of University of Bengkulu until now.
The existence of UNIB was the accomplishment of long tired struggle of Governor Soeprapto supported wholeheartedly by Bengkulu’s people, customary figures, Bengkulu Provincial Government, and a Private University namely Universitas Semarak Bengkulu (UNSEB). The manifestation of support from the UNSEB was actualized by transferring its students as the pioneer students and University’s land area of 24,9 Ha, located in Beringin Raya District Bengkulu to UNIB.
One main obstacle encountered during the establishment of UNIB according to the feasibility study conducted by Sriwijaya University was the absence of educational resources. Therefore, at that time, the establishment of a State University in Bengkulu was considered as not yet feasible. The obstacle was finally resolved after the Governor established a cooperation with University of Gadjah Mada initiated by the President Soeharto’s recommendation. As the result, several educative resources/educators were deployed to UNIB such as Prof. Ir. Soejonto Sumodhardjo, Dr. Ir. Soekotjo, Drs. Sutarto, Ir. Supratoyo and H. Hidjazi, S.H to help as both structural officials and educators. Subsequently, they conducted an open recruitment for educator positions inviting those who were from Java and Sumatra.