The idea of establishing a Catholic Higher Education Foundation began in World War I around 1914-1919. At that time, many Hogere Burger School graduates (HBS) in Indonesia could not continue their tertiary education in the Netherlands because of the circumstances and obstacles regarding transportation to Europe. Because of that, the Dutch East Indies government at that time intended to have its own Colleges in the Dutch East Indies. The Technische Hogeschool (Technical College) then was founded in 1920 in Bandung, the Rechtskundige Hogeschool (College of Law) and Geneeskundige Hogeschool (College of Medicine) in Jakarta in 1924 and the Landbouw Hogeschool (College of Agriculture) in Bogor in 1940.

The Dutch East Indies government at that time wanted to unite the high schools under one name called Universiteit van Indonesie and wanted to establish Fakulteit der letteren en Wijbegeerte (Faculty of Literature and Philosophy). In order to unite this, the Dutch East Indies government proposed a position of professor (leerstoel) for the course of the planned “secular” philosophy that must be taken by all students. It was this idea which worried the Apostolic Vicar in the Dutch East Indies, for fear of influencing the way of thinking and the views of Catholic students. Therefore, they proposed an extraordinary professorship for Aristotelian-Thomism Philosophy, and this proposal was accepted. As a follow-up, the bishops formed an institution called Stichting Sapientia, which was based in Batavia on July 15, 1941. The institution was chaired by Mgr. P. Willekens, SJ, the Vicar Apostolic of Batavia, consisting of both clerical scholars and lay scholars. Stichting Sapientia aims to promote higher education in Indonesia on the basis of the Catholic foundation. But before Stichting Sapientia made preparations to establish Catholic colleges and act as expected, in 1942, Indonesia was occupied by Japanese troops. Then in the 1950s it was known as the “Catholic College Revival Era”; because of that, in 1955, Mgr. Arntz OSC (Bishop of Bandung) and Mgr. Prof. Dr. N.J.C. Geise, OFM (Bishop of Bogor), decided to establish Parahyangan College in Bandung. And in the same year, Rm. G. Kester, SJ, the Provincial Jesuit Union, established the Establishment of the Sanata Dharma Teacher Education College in Yogyakarta. Success in the Bandung and Yogyakarta dioceses encouraged Msgr. J. Klooster, CM, Bishop of Surabaya, to also establish colleges in his diocese. The idea was discussed with Rm. Prof. Dr. Paul Janssen, CM and Sr. Dra. Dionysia Michels, OSU, from Madiun. With the support from the priest from Madiun Parish, Rm. A.J. Dibjikarjono, Pr., the level B-1 Science Education managed by the Yohanes Gabriel Foundation and the Indonesian PGSLP managed by the Ursuline Sisters, merged into the Faculty of Education in Madiun in 1958, which became the forerunner of Widya Mandala Catholic University. While on duty to Yogyakarta, Rm. Janssens saw a sign from a meetinghouse next to the church in Kota Baru with the word “Widya Mandala” written. According to Rm. Loef, SJ, those words have a meaning of “a place of scholars”. Widya Mandala comes from the ancient Javanese language, where Mandala means a building or a place, but in the sense that it is not only physical, and Widya means scholar. So Widya Mandala can be interpreted as a place of education for wise and successful people (scholars). The name Widya Mandala was finally used by Rm. Janssens for the name of the Teacher Training and Education Institute (or also known as IKIP in Bahasa Indonesia) that he founded in Madiun.

According to another version, the name “Widya Mandala” (Widya: Knowledge, Mandala: Place / Container) is a proposal from Father I. Dwidjosusastro, CM, which was later approved by Father A.J. Dibjokarjono, Pr, and fully supported by Mgr. J. Klooster, CM, as tje Bishop of Surabaya Diocese at that time.

The idea of establishing Catholic colleges was very well received by the people in Surabaya, so that on July 7, 1958, Mgr. J. Klooster, CM founded the Widya Mandala Foundation in Surabaya which was inaugurated by Notariy Anwar Mahajudin, with the letter Number 42/1960 on August 11, 1960. Based on the notary deed, the first board at that time was:

Chairperson : Romo A.J. Dibjokarjono, Pr.
Secretary : Romo A. Hadisoedarso, Pr.
Treasurer : Bapak Inggar Mulyawardaja (Yap Tjong Ing)
Academic Advisor : Prof. dr. J.A. Wibowo (Oei Hway Kiem)

At the beginning of the establishment of the Widya Mandala Foundation as stated in Article 3 of the Articles of Association contained in the Notary Deed No. 42/1960, it has the principle and purpose: “….. Maintain and control schools, hospitals, dormitories and others in Surabaya and other places in Indonesia …”.

In accordance with the existing developments, the Widya Mandala Foundation’s Articles of Association also experienced several changes. The last amendment was in 1994 with Maria Martha Lomanto, SH Notary Deed No. 18 dated June 8, 1994. The amendment to the Articles of Association caused the goal of the Widya Mandala Surabaya Foundation to also change according to what was stated in Article 4 Notary Deed Maria Martha Lomanto, SH Number 18 Date June 8, 1994, namely: “The Widya Mandala Surabaya Foundation aims to participate in educating the lives of the Indonesian people by organizing, maintaining, and developing universities so that Indonesian people are moral and educated and highly educated”.  To achieve this goal, the Widya Mandala Surabaya Foundation held:


  2. Activities in the field of education and teaching, research and community service both in Surabaya and elsewhere in the territory of the Republic of Indonesia..




SERVICE PERIOD 2017 – 2022

Board of Supervisors

Chairperson : Msgr. Vincentius Sutikno Wisaksono
Member : Benjamin Lumantarna,Prof. Ir., Ph. D


Supervisory Board

Chairperson : Maliki Tedja, S.H.
Member : Hendro Susilo, Sp.S.(K)


Committee Board

President : Henky Supit, Prof., Drs.Ec., Ak., CA.
Chairperson : Arsono Laksamana, Prof., Dr., CPA
Secretary : Romo YPH. Jelantik, RD., Drs., Lic.Th.
Treasurer : Goenawan Eko Tjahjono, Drs.
Member : Richard Adisastra, Ir.
: Paulus Alexander Supit, dr. Sp.S.