The history of Universitas Sumatera Utara (USU) begins with the establishment of Universitas Sumatera Utara Foundation on 4 June 1952. This foundation was initially established by the Governor of North Sumatra to meet the demand of the North Sumatra people in particular and the Indonesian people in general.


During the Japanese colonial rule, some prominent people in Medan including Dr. Pirngadi and Dr. T. Mansoer drew up a plan for the establishment of a School of Medicine. After the Independence Day, the government appointed Dr. Mohd. Djamil in Bukit Tinggi as the committee chairperson. As soon as the sovereignty was regained due to a clash in 1947, the Governor Abdul Hakim was the first person to call the North Sumatra Community for a fund-raising activity in the effort to establish a university in this region.


On 31 December 1951, a preparatory committee for the university establishment was set up and chaired by Dr. Soemarsono whose members included Dr. Ahmad Sofian, Ir. Danunagoro and Secretary Mr. Djaidin Purba.


As a result of collaborative, mental and material support from the whole North Sumatra Community which also included the Special Region of Aceh, on 20 August 1952, a Faculty of Medicine was successfully established in Jalan Seram and 27 students were enrolled, two of whom were female students.


Some other faculties including Faculty of Law and People’s Knowledge (1954), Faculty of Teachers’ Training and Education (1956), and Faculty of Agriculture (1956) were respectively established.On 20 November 1957, USU was officially inaugurated by the President of the Republic of Indonesia Dr. Ir. Soekarno as the the 7th public university in Indonesia.


In 1959, a Faculty of Engineering in Medan and a Faculty of Economics in Kutaradja (Banda Aceh) were established and inaugurated by the President of the Republic of Indonesia, followed by the establishment of Faculty of Veterinary Health and Animal Husbandry in Banda Aceh. By then, USU comprised five faculties in Medan and two faculties in Banda Aceh.


In the following years, other faculties came into existence including Faculty of Dentistry (1961), Faculty of Letters (1965), Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences (1965), Faculty of Social and Political Sciences (1982), School of Postgraduate Program (1992), Faculty of Public Health (1993), Faculty of Pharmacy (2006), Faculty of Psychology (2007), and Faculty of Nursing (2009).


In 2003, USU changed its status from Public University (PTN) into State-Owned University (BHMN). This change of status placed USU as the fifth university after UI, UGM, ITB and IPB which transformed into BHMN in 2000. After USU, UPI (2004) and UNAIR (2006) also respectively changed their status.


In their development, some faculties at USU have served as the embryo of establishing three new universities, including University of Syah Kuala in Banda Aceh, having its origin from Faculty of Economics and Faculty of Veterinary Health and Animal Husbandry in Banda Aceh. Then the Institute of Teachers’ Training and Education / IKIP (1964), currently called State University of Medan (UNIMED), owing its existence to USU’s Faculty of Teachers’ Training and Education. After that, State Polytechnic of Medan, formerly USU’s Polytechnic, was set up in 1999.


The USU Rectors (1958-2021)



Z. A. Soetan Koemala Pontas, Chairman of the Presidium


Prof. Dr. Ahmad Sofian, Presidium


Prof. Mr. Mahadi, Chairman of the Presidium


Ulung Sitepu, Presidium


Drg. Nazir Alwi, Rector

1966 (Mei-Nov)

Prof. Dr. S. Hadibroto, M.A., Rector ad interim


Dr. S. Harnopidjati, Rector


Harry Suwondo, S.H., Rector

1978 (Mei-Juli)

O. K. Harmaini, S.E., Chairman of the Rectorate


Dr. A. P. Parlindungan, S.H., Rector


Prof. M. Jusuf Hanafiah, Rector


Prof. Chairuddin P. Lubis, D.T.M.&H., Sp.A.(K.), Rector


Prof. Dr. dr. Syahril Pasaribu, DTM&H, M.Sc.(CTM), Sp.A.(K.), Rector


Prof. Subhilhar, M.A., Ph.D, Rector ad interim


Prof. Dr. Runtung Sitepu, S.H., M.Hum., Rector