Education is an important asset for an individual and for the country where the individual lives. Education is a part of a country’s defense and development system as well as acting as a milepost of that country’s strength and accomplishment. A country’s level of education is also the benchmark of its capabilities and a very important asset for its advancement. Education is so important that the objective of educating the whole nation is mandated by Indonesian Founding Fathers in the preamble of the 1945 Constitution.
As an Indonesian educational institution, Widya Karya Catholic University attempts to fulfill the mandate from its very inception. Widya Karya grew from the struggles experienced by Indonesia following its independence and first took shape as a response to the heated political state in 1962. Some representatives of Catholic youths in Malang City, university students, scholars, and members of Catholic political parties, formed a forum which later became formally known as ASKAM (Catholic Social Acts of Malang). This forum afterward proposed the establishment of a Catholic higher educational institution in Malang. This was realized by having Jakarta’s Atmajaya Foundation to found a Malang branch of the Atmajaya Indonesian Catholic University. This endeavor came through and on August 10, 1964, the Malang university branch was officially opened. At first the university only had four faculties: Faculty of Economics, Faculty of Engineering, Faculty of Law, and Faculty of Educational Studies and Teacher Training. The first Rector was Prof. Dr. Harjoko, O.Carm, and the head of the founding foundation, the Adisucipto Higher Education Foundation, was Major F.X. Sutrisno.
The economic transition period of 1965-1970 became one of the toughest times in the history of the Malang branch of the Atmajaya Indonesian Catholic University. One problem was the prohibition to open a university branch in another city. This policy forced the Malang branch of the Atmajaya Indonesian Catholic University to break free and finally dissolved in 1972. The struggle did not end there. For the sake of continuing education, before the branch’s separation, the Thomas Aquino Academy of Catholic Enterprises was established in 1968. Following the issuance of Adisucipto Foundation’s Decree No. 01/Kep/II/1973, on February 3, 1973 the Malang branch of Atmajaya Indonesian Catholic University was changed to Indonesian Catholic University of Malang. This change only lasted for a year (until 1974), when it was closed again and reopened as the Saint Thomas Aquino Catholic Secretarial Academy.
Both academies—the Academy of Catholic Enterprises and the Catholic Secretarial Academy—ran together and developed well until 1982, when the Foundation combined them and added a few more faculties. The end result was the Widya Karya Catholic University of Malang. Initially, the university only possessed three faculties and five departments: the Faculty of Economics (with Department of Corporate Management and Department of Accounting), the Faculty of Agriculture (with Department of Socio-Economics and Department of Agricultural Technology), and the Faculty of Engineering (with Department of Mechanical Engineering). After that, referring to the Master Plan of Development in 1982-1987, new departments and faculties were added: the Department of Civil Engineering to the Faculty of Engineering, the Faculty of Law (with Department of Civil Law), the Diploma Program of Information Management and Computer Engineering, and the Diploma Program of Office Management. The current Head Advisor of Adisucipto Foundation is Mgr. Prof. Dr. Henricus Pidyarto Gunawan, O.Carm (Bishop of Malang), substituting the late Mgr. H.J.S. Pandoyoputro, O.Carm. The current Rector of Widya Karya Catholic University is Rev. Albertus Herwanta, O.Carm.
Widya Karya’s history of fervor, struggles and great sacrifices is the basis of its worthwhile and valuable existence. Moreover, Widya Karya’s vision of becoming a Christian university of good quality and relevance is its main priority in its contributions to the welfare of society. Together with all alumni and stakeholders UKWK participates in the building of a better and harmonious Indonesian society, guided by Christian values.