1. Introduction

With great joy and gratitude to God the Most Merciful, we celebrate Widya Mandira Catholic University (UNWIRA) Kupang’s 40th Anniversary (or Pancawindu). This very special anniversary is celebrated on September 24th, 2022. One week later, on October 1, 2022, there are 882 students graduated. In recognition of UNWIRA’s 40th anniversary, on behalf of the entire UNWIRA academic community, I thank you all for your constant willingness to support this institution morally, spiritually, and materially. Now, I will present a brief history, development summary, and list of updates regarding the progress of UNWIRA.

2. Background and History

Widya Mandira Catholic University, abbreviated as UNWIRA, was born from the collaboration of the Society of the Divine Word  (in Latin Societas Verbi Divini) and the Catholic Church of Nusa Tenggara. UNWIRA’s initial founders were concerned about the limited opportunities for fostering quality higher education among the East Nusa Tenggara or NTT’s Catholic laity. Only a small fraction of high school graduates from NTT had access to quality university education on the islands of Java and Bali, and so Catholic Clergy of NTT endeavored to create a higher Catholic educational institution accessible for lesser-privileged students of NTT. The name Widya Mandira (Sanskrit), meaning “Tower of Science,” was first coined by the late P. Dr. Van Trier, SVD and his confreres in Ende in 1958. Their  initial plan was to open a Catholic University in Ende, Flores in the late 1950s. 

After Van Trier’s plans for a lay Catholic University sat dormant for two decades, the desire to establish a Catholic University in NTT resurfaced in the late 1970s. Through the organizing Nusa Tenggara Regional Assembly at Catholic Philosophy College (STFK) Ledalero, located in Maumere, Flores, the plan to establish UNWIRA began again in 1978. SVDs and Church leaders throughout Nusa Tenggara and Catholic lay leaders in Kupang reached final deliberation on the visions for UNWIRA on December 11-12th  1981. This meeting gave birth to The Arnoldus Catholic Education Foundation (YAPENKAR). YAPENKAR was made official by the Deed of Deputy Notary Silvester Joseph Tjung, SH., Number 722 (Dated December 12, 1981, later revised and confirmed on July 19, 1986 by Deed 119).

On December 15, 1981, The Arnoldus Catholic Education Foundation formed the Preparatory Committee for the Development of the Widya Mandira Catholic University. After extensive preparations, on March 25, 1982 (Mary receives the Good News), the YAPENKAR Leadership Council chaired by the Bishop of Kupang, Mgr. Gregorius Monteiro, SVD declared the establishment of the Widya Mandira Catholic University (UNWIRA) official with Decree No. 01 of 1982. The inaugural lecture from this new university began on September 24, 1982, the date later celebrated as Dies Natalis  UNWIRA.

  • Principles and Spirituality

UNWIRA roots itself in the values of Pancasila and breathes the Catholic faith. Catholic identity remains the hallmark of the university and its faculty constantly refer to the spiritual and moral principles that come from the faith and teachings of the Catholic Church. UNWIRA was founded primarily to carry out the mission of the Catholic Church in realizing its vision to encourage all church constituents (regardless of ethnicity, religion, race and class) to develop relevant skills and proficiencies so they might rise to achieve dignity at both a personal and a societal level. UNWIRA’s foundational objective, inspired by the spiritual convictions of his Protector, St. Arnold Janssen, Ut Vitam Habeant Abundantius, which means   “That they may have life and have it in all its abundance”  (John 10:10).

  • Vision and Mission

UNWIRA’s vision is “to become an excellent and creative educational and scientific community. This community should find a basis in Christian values, global perspective, and should also be rooted in local culture.”

To achieve this vision, there are 6 (six) missions carried out, namely: (1). Organizing the Tridharma of Higher Education based on applicable standards. (2). Develop professional and principled governance in order to improve institutional competitiveness. (3). Realizing the spirituality of The Word of God according to the testimony of St. Arnold Janssen. (4). Develop open dialogue and build cooperation with local, national, and international networks. (5). Produce quality graduates who demonstrate excellence in character, creative ability, and innovation. (6). Explore local wisdom and conserve the cultures unique to NTT.

3. Development of Faculty and Study Program

At the beginning of its establishment in 1982, UNWIRA only consisted of three faculties, namely the Faculty of Teacher Training and Education (FKIP), the Faculty of Engineering based in Kupang, and the Faculty of Philosophy and Catholic Theology (based in Ledalero, Flores). The Faculties of   Economics was established a year later in 1983. In 1985, UNWIRA opened a new faculty, namely the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences (FISIP). In the 1986-1987 Academic Year, the Faculty of Law was opened. In the Academic Year 1991-1992 the Faculty of Philosophy was opened and in the Academic Year 1995-1996 the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences (FMIPA) was opened. In the 2000-2001 Academic Year, UNWIRA opened five (5) new Study Programs at the Strata One (Sl) level, namely the Drama, Dance and Music (Sendratasik) Education Study Program at FKIP, Informatics Engineering at the Faculty of Engineering, Accounting Study Program and Postgraduate Masters in Management at the Strata Two (S2) level in Faculty of Economics, Communication Studies Program at the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences. 

Now we celebrate its 40th Anniversary  (Pancawindu),  UNWIRA has seven faculties that manage twenty-one study programs. All of them have been accredited by the National Accreditation Board for Higher Education (BAN-PT), and have been institutionally accredited as “VERY GOOD” by BAN-PT as well. The various faculties and study programs (S1) are: the Faculty of Teacher Training and Education (FKIP) with the Guidance and Counseling Study Program; English Education Study Program; Mathematics Education Study Program; Biology Education Study Program; Chemistry Education Study Program; Physics Education Study Program; Music Education Study Program. Faculty of Engineering with Civil Engineering Study Program; Architecture Study Program; and Computer Science Study Program. Faculty of Social and Political Sciences (FISIP) with Government Science Study Program; Public Administration Study Program; Communication Studies Program. Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB) with Economics Study Program.

Development: Management Study Program; Accounting Study Program. Faculty of Law with one Law Study Program Faculty of Philosophy with one Philosophy Study Program. Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences with Chemistry Study Program and Biology Study Program. While the Study Program (S2) only consists of Master of Management with several concentrations, namely Human Resource Management (HR), Corporate Financial Management, Marketing Management, Education Management; Regional Financial Management, and Hospital Management.

At the time of its establishment, all UNWIRA lecture activities were concentrated on the Merdeka Campus (at Jln Jend Ahmad Yani, no. 50 – 52), confined to an area land no larger than 2.5 hectares. Now UNWIRA has a second campus in the Penfui area, on Jln. San Juan 1, East Penfui, on a land as large as 40 hectares. UNWIRA’s campus offers various facilities of 3 and 4 storey buildings that are very adequate.

Picture 1: UNWIRA’s Campus II, Jln. San Juan 1, East Penfui, Kupang, NTT

4. Alumni and Campus Ministry Activities

  • Alumni

Since the inaugural graduation in 1988 until the graduation in October 2022, UNWIRA has awarded a total of 18,311 degrees (Bachelors and Masters).   

  • Campus Ministry Activities

Widya Mandira Catholic University is an educational institution dedicated to developing the potential of the entire academic community to foster integrity and wield religious spiritual strength, self-control, intelligence, noble character, and skills that are useful for students and society. In the process of realizing these values, UNWIRA has service units including the Campus Ministry, which serves by referring to its Campus Ministry Guidelines. Campus Ministry is a spiritual service institution for the entire academic community (including lecturers, administrative staff, employees and students). Campus Ministry activities are coordinated with the Vice Rector III by involving residents of the girls Boarding House (Rusunawa) and scholarship recipients involved with Peer Ministry in Campus Ministry activities (see in detail the Campus Ministry Handbook of Widya Mandira Unika with its objectives, vision, mission, and main functions).

You Over the last two years, starting from July 2021 to June 2022, the Campus Ministry has carried out various activities including the following:

Facilitate character development workshops for students based on principles of Arnold’s Spirituality. Annual workshops are carried out during the Adventist period November, December 2021 and Lent March – April, 2022. The workshop requires the participation of all 18 study programs, with facilitation programs catered to each study program, involving the peer ministry as facilitators. Recruited and fostered peer ministry activities, with leadership emphasis from the Women’s Dormitory in Rusunawa and Catholic scholarship recipients. Carried out mass every Friday, facilitated by each Study Program in rotation. In October 2021, Peer Ministry and Rusunawa facilitated a Living-Rosario, and a Rosary Month Pilgrimage. The Peer Ministry held a Valentine’s Day ceremony in February 2022; In May 2022, The ministry led a quiz, meditation and song competition and during Ramadan 2022, facilitated Halal Bihalal event on Campus, where the students and staff perform a social and ritual event for asking and giving forgiveness at the end of the fasting period with the Muslim students.

5. Research and Publication

  • Scientific Journals

To demonstrate and foster the research prestige of faculty lecturers , the UNWIRA’s Institute of Research and Community Service  (LPPM) and several faculties/study programs have published 12 scientific journals with ISSN. Ten (10) of them were published between 2009 and 2017, including the LPPM journal (named Prajna) which was republished in the last academic year. Faculty publications have also been featured in ARTEKS Journal since 2018 and have been indexed by Garuda Portal, Crossfer, academia.edu, Google Scholar, Zenodo, One Search National Library, Open Science, Wordcat, Open Aire. Articles are now in review for other publications such as DOAJ and ARJUNA. ARTEKS Journal of the Architectural Engineering Study Program has been accredited to Science and Technology Index (SINTA) 2, and is in the process of undergoing review to SINTA 1 and SCOPUS. The most recent statement by Scopus (suggestion@scopus.com dated 21 June 2020) stated the following in response to UNWIRA’s submission: “If in the future these / the Scopus comments are addressed , you may decide to submit a new application at any time after the following date: June 2022).”

  • UNWIRA Press

The existence of UNWIRA Press as an Academic Press which was initiated several years ago to boost the incentive for lecturers and students to research, write and publish. As a new unit that cannot be separated from LPPM, UNWIRA Press will be the main supporter of the LPPM Publishing and Publication Division to handle book publishing, ISBN and the Intellectual Property Rights (HKI) affairs. There is also a discussion about the establishment of an Intellectual Property Rights Center at UNWIRA. Until 2022, there have been a number of books published by UNWIRA Press, namely Contemporary Sociology: Photographing the Social Reality of NTT Society (2016 – P. Paul Nganggung), Guidebook for Real Work Lectures on Community Empowerment Learning (2019 – Dr. Vian Watu and Drs Kornelis Bria), Language Testing (some practical insight) for Teachers of English in Indonesia (2019 – Dr. Damianus Talok), Getting to know Keo Culture: Fairy tales, Rituals and Social Organizations (2019 – P. Dr. Philipus Tule, SVD), Mary in Salvation History (2020 – RD. Hironimus Pakaenoni, L.Th), Ethnomedicine (2021, Dr. Maximus Taek), and Moral Decisions of Charity and Situation (2022, KOSAT-Oktovianus).

  • Publication in Scopus Journals   

In recent years there are some lecturers who have published their articles in the Scopus  or SINTA Journals. Some are listed below:   

a. Getrudis Wilhelmina Nau and Maria Novita Inya Buku. 2020.   Inventory of Woody Plants in The Forest Area of Mount Mutis Nature Preserve in East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia, 2020 in Asian Journal of Conservation Biology, Vol.9, no.2, Dec.2020, pp. 214-220.

b. Maximus M. Taek, Gerardus D. Tukan, Bambang E.W Prajogo, and Mangestuti Agil, 2021.  Antiplasmodial Activity and Phytochemical Constituents of Selected Antimalarial Plants Used by Native People in West Timor Indonesia.. In  Galenos, vol. 18, No. 1, pp. 80 – 90.

c. Reginaldo Christophori Lake, Fransiscus X. Eddy Arinto, Yohanes Djarot Purbadi, Yohanes Basuki Dwisusanto, Elvis Albertus Bin Toni, and Robertus Mas Rayawulan, 2020.  Architecture Expression: Synthesized Architectural Expressions in Mayor’s Office Building of Kupang City. In Local Wisdom, Vol.12, No. 2, pp. 135 – 147.   

d. Maximus M. Taek, Leonardus Banilodu, Gregorius Neonbasu, Yohanes Vianney Watu, Bambang Prajogo E. W., and Mangestuti Agil2019. Ethnomedicine of Tetun Ethnic People in West Timor Indonesia: Philosophy and Practice in The Treatment of Malaria. In Integrative Medicine Research, Vol. 8, pp. 139 – 144.

e. Yolinda Yanti Sonbay and Bambang Tjahjadi. 2022. Cultural Challenges in Implementing Village Funds Management System in Achieving Good Village Governance. In International Journal Public Sector Performance Management. Vol. 10, No. 1, pp. …

f. Madar Aleksius, Floribertha Lake, Elisabet Andriyanti Werang, and Maria Febriani Seran. 2022.  Exploring EFL Students’ Perceptions of Google Classroom as Learning Management System. In Voles: Voices of English Language Education Society. Vol. 6, No.1. pp. 175 – 187.

6. Current Development of UNWIRA

Entering the age of Pancawindu (40th Anniversary) in 2022, UNWIRA increasingly grows and develops as a university that has a distinctive voice in East Nusa Tenggara Province (NTT), and Eastern Indonesia at large. In line with the commitment to continuously improve the quality of its graduates and provide quality human resources to the community, UNWIRA constantly makes improvements in its process of implementing Tridharma (Education, Research and Community Service). This is evident in its rising status in rank both nationally and internationally, according to Webometrics. The Webometrics Ranking of World Universities is an initiative of the Cybermetrics Lab, a research group belonging to the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC). This institute is the largest research organization in Spain. Webometrics not only provides information on universities in the world but also in each country, including Indonesia. In 2021, Webometrics measured Widya Mandira Catholic University (UNWIRA) Kupang as ranked 230 nationally, and first in the NTT Province. This may be placed in contrast with one year before in July 2020, when Undana University was ranked 1st in NTT and was ranked 139th nationally. Now This place of prestige has been occupied by UNWIRA. Based on the publication of Webometrics July 2021 Edition, the University of Nusa Cendana (Undana) Kupang is ranked 147 out of 2,593 Universities (PT) in Indonesia. Now, Undana is again ranked first in the Province of East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), again shifting the public ranking of the Widya Mandira Catholic University (UNWIRA). In the July 2022 edition of Webometrics, Undana and UNWIRA were again re-evaluated by the Kupang State Agricultural Polytechnic and both universities occupied the second and the third positions of a series of State Universities and and Private Universities in NTT. In competing academically at the provincial, national and international levels, UNWIRA has and will continue to develop three types of excellence as its trade-marks, namely academic excellence, graduate character, and the image of the institution. There are many work programs that have been established to pursue this goal. However, above all, there is a new development with the completion of the construction of Second Campus  on Jln. San Juan 1, East Penfui for 4 (four) Faculties (Philosophy, Engineering, FISIP, FKIP).

Picture 2: Penfui Campus Court

With the same spirit of service, UNWIRA Serves With Heart, which supports the realization of the motto “Ut Vitam Habeant Abundantius” as a work ethic. The lecturers teach with the hearts of fathers and mothers. Employees serve students and co-workers with the hearts of friends. University and Faculty officials coordinate with the hearts of shepherds.

7. Closing

UNWIRA celebrates its 40th  Anniversary on 24th  September 2022. As a large university, UNWIRA has produced a large number of alumni (more than 18.000) who are involved in various types of missions around the world. We have a clear mission, which is to serve God and all mankind. This mission will be made possible by the involvement of our Merciful Lord and such kind and loving people at this university. Our belief in the presence of God in the midst of the UNWIRA institution and its unwavering commitment to the service of God and Humanity are well illustrated in UNWIRA’s adage: Ut Vitam Habeant Abundantius (John 10.10). We thank you all for your support in the past and for your continued support in the future.


Picture 3: Cutting The 40th  Anniversary Cake by UNWIRA’s Rector, Rev. Fr. Dr. Philipus Tule, SVD., Witnessed by Rev. Fr. Yulius Yasinto, SVD (Chairman of Yapenkar) and Rev. Fr. Yustinus Didimus Nai, SVD (Provincial SVD Timor).

Link to article: https://unwira.ac.id/home/detail_berita/1518/newsletter-unwira-special-edition-24-september-2022-%28in-the-service-of-god-and-humanity-for-40-years%29