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Before its inauguration as a separate institution in 1956, and with reference to Mandate No. 127 of the Lieutenant General Governor of the Dutch-India Government on July 23rd, 1947, Universitas Hasanuddin (Unhas) was originally a branch of the Faculty of Economics of Universitas Indonesia (UI) Jakarta. Due to uncertainty about the university statuta and the turmoil in Makassar and its surrounding regions, the Makassar campus of UI led by Drs. L.A. Enthoven was shut down until it was reopened on October 7 th , 1953 under the leadership of Prof. Drs. G.H.M. Riekerk. The spirit of Unhas began to take root in the Faculty of Economics when Prof. Drs. Wolfhoff and Drs. Muhammad Baga were appointed as Acting-Director and Secretary from September 1st, 1956 to September 10 th, 1956.

When the Faculty of Economics began to stagnate near the end of 1950, Nuruddin Sahadat, Prof. Drs. G.J. Wolhoff, Mr. Tjia Kok Tjiang, J.E. Tatengkeng and their contemporaries made preparations for the construction of a privately-funded Faculty of Law. Their efforts generated   the establishment of Sawerigading Institution of Higher Education headed by its leader Prof. Drs. G.J. Wolhoff. Their continued efforts to establish a state university resulted in the formation of the Committee of Supporters for a State University in March of 1950. The road they traveled to realize an institution for higher education began with the opening of a Faculty of Law and Public Knowledge, a branch of the Faculty of Law of Universitas Indonesia which was officially opened on March 3rd, 1952 with Prof. Mr. Djokosoetono, the Dean of the Faculty of Law at UI, acting as Dean of the new campus. Guided by the principles of hard work ethic, independence, and public service, the Faculty of Law led by Prof. Dr. Mr. C. de Heern, later continued by Prof. Drs. G.H.M. Riekerk, successfully seceded from Universitas Indonesia within only four years with the release of Government Ordinance No. 23 on September 10th, 1956.

The efforts of the Sawerigading Institution of Higher Education Foundation to establish  Faculty of Medicine were realized when the Foundation reached an agreement with the Ministry of Education and Culture which was further stipulated in the council meeting of Ministers in October 22nd, 1953. This Government Ordinance resulted in the formation of  Committee for the Preparation of Faculty of Medicine in Makassar led by Syamsuddin Daeng Mangawing with Muhammad Rasyid Daeng Sirua as Secretary and J.E. Tatengkeng, Andi Patiwiri, and Sampara Daeng Lili as its members. On January 28th, 1956, the Minister of Education and Culture, Prof. Mr. R. Soewandi, officiated the opening of the Medical faculty of Universitas Hasanuddin along with the inauguration of Universitas Hasanuddin on September 10th, 1956.

The struggles and will of South Sulawesi people to raise a generation  with an engineering expertise reached successfully  when the Minister of Education and Culture released Decree No. 888130/S on September 8th, 1960 permitting the inauguration of an Engineering Faculty in Universitas Hasanuddin led by Ir. J. Pongrekun and his Secretary Ir. Ramli Cambari Saka. Initially, the Engineering Faculty consisted of three departments: Civil, Mechanical, and Shipping Engineering. In 1963, the Electrical and Architecture Engineering departments were established, completing the establishment of Engineering as the fourth faculty in Unhas.

Prior to the release of Decree No. 102247/UU/1960 regarding the formation of Faculty of Letters in Universitas Hasanuddin, several teaching units at the Foundation for Higher Education were incorporated into curriculum of Universitas Hasanuddin. The foundation headed by Syamsuddin Dg. Mangawing and Prof. G.J. Wolhoff as one of its members, was originally a fraction of Universitas Sawerigading led by Nuruddin Sahadat. This “incorporation” of Pedagogic B.1 Course Program, Eastern Literature, and Western Literature in Unhas on November 2nd, 1959 became the foundation of Faculty of Letters which was officially established on November 3rd, 1960.

Following the establishment of Faculty of Letters, the sixth faculty to be established in Unhas was the Faculty of Social Politics in accordance to Decree No. A. 4692/UU41961 by the Minister of Education and Culture on January 30th, 1961 enacted on February 1st, 1961. Originally, this faculty was a privately-owned institution of higher education called the Fakultas Tata Praja Universitas 17 Agustus 1945 founded by Mr. Tjia Kok Tjiang which was inaugurated when it became state-owned under the leadership of faculty leaders and assisted by Mr. Sukamto as secretary. On November 15th, 1962, Mr. Sukamto and Abdullah Amu were promoted as the Dean and Secretary.

During the period of Rector A. Amaruddin, the Faculty of Letters was integrated into the Faculty of Social and Cultural Sciences along with the Faculty of Social Politics Sciences and Faculty of Economy. Similar arrangement was also made between Engineering Faculty and the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences which were integrated into Faculty of Science and Technology. The integration did not implemented in Faculty of Law due to their rejection to be integrated into the Faculty of Sosial and Culture Sciences. Six years later, in 1983 this integration of faculties was revoked with the signing of Government Ordinance No. 5 in 1980 which was quickly followed by Presidential Decree No. 68 in 1982.

            Through the cooperation with IPB Bogor and the request from Rector Prof. Arnold Mononutu, the Preparatory Committee for the Agricultural Faculty Establishment was founded. The members of the Committee were Prof. Dr. A. Azis Ressang, a lecturer of Veterinary Faculty of IPB, and Ir. Fachruddin, expert assistant at Agricultural faculty of IPB. The cooperation between Prof. Ressang with his team and Agricultural faculty of Universitas Indonesia and IPB resulted in the release of Ministry Decree PTIP RI Prof. Dr. Ir. Toyib Hadidwidjaya on 17 August 1962. Hence, Faculty of Agriculture officially became the 7th faculty in Universitas Hasanuddin.

 Governor Andi Pangerang Petta Rani in the meeting on 11 March 1963 appointed Ir .Aminuddin Ressang as the chairman of sub-working committee for the Formation of Faculty of Exact and Natural Sciences which was officially formed based on telegraph of PTIP Ministry on August 8th, 1963 No. 59 1 BM/PTIP/63 followed by Minister Decree No.102 in 1963 enacted on August 17, 1963. In 1963, the Committee of Veterinary as the Chairman and Andi Pangerang Petta Rani, Drh. A. Dahlan and Andi Patiwiri as its members. On October 10th, 1963 Faculty of Veterinary and Animal Husbandry was established as private enterprise with Drh. Achmad Dahlan as the Dean and Drh. Muh. Gaus Siregar and Andi Baso Ronda, B.Agr.Sc. as the 1st and 2nd Vice Dean, respectively. Started on May 1st, 1964, the status of this private faculty was changed into state faculty as Faculty of Animal Husbandry of Hasanuddin University after the release of Minister Decree PTIP Num. 371194 on May 4, 1964.

            The would-be Faculty of Dentistry was first established on 23 January 1969 as a result of the close cooperation between Hasanuddin University and the Naval Force of the Republic of Indonesia. Several people who were involved in this establishment: Admiral Mursalim Dg Mamanggun, S.H., Rector of Hasanuddin University, Liutenant.Colonel Dr. M. Natsir Said, S.H., and Drg. Halima Dg Sikati.  In 1970, the Department of Dentistry was officially inaugurated, and later in 1983, the Department was named the Faculty of Dentistry, Hasanuddin University.

            Faculty of Public Health was established on 5 November 1982 as the eleventh faculty in Unhas. At the beginning, it received students from three year diploma of Health program graduates and starting 1987 it accepted senior high school graduates.

            To realize the development of science in higher education institutions in Indonesia, in 1988 Unhas officially opened Marine Science Study with reference to the letter of decree of the Directorate General of Higher Education Num. 19/Dikti/Kep/1988 dated 16 June 1988. At the beginning, this study program was directly under the Rector because it was considered as inter-discipliner faculty. Considering its marine oriented characteristic, this program, finally, became Faculty of Marine Science and Fisheries included Fishery Department into the Letter of Decree issued by the Ministry of Education and Culture no.036/0/1996 on January 29th, 1996.

            In the 25th Dies Natalies on September 17th, 1981, the President of Indonesia Republic Soeharto inaugurated Tamalanrea campus. This campus was initially constructed by Paddock Inc. US, and built by OD 205, Netherland cooperated with PT. Sangkuriang Bandung on the land of 220 Ha.

            Since the release of Decree from Minister of Education and Culture Num.3369/S on June 11th, enacted from 1 September 1956, and Government Ordinance Num.23 on September 8, 1958, State Gazette Num. 39 in 1956, Hasanuddin University in Tamalanrea Campus was officially opened by Vice President of Indonesia Republic Drs. Moh. Hatta on September 10th, 1956, Unhas has been led by the following rectors:

1. Prof. Mr.A.G. Pringgodigdo 1956 - 1957
2. Prof. Mr. K.R.M.T. Djokomarsaid 1957 - 1960
3. Prof. Arnold Mononutu 1960 - 1965
4. Let. Kol. Dr. M. Natsir Said, S.H. 1965 - 1969
5. Prof. Dr. A. Hafid 1969 - 1973
6. Prof. Dr. Ahmad Amiruddin 1973 - 1982
7. Prof. Dr. A. Hasan Walinono 1982 - 1984
8. Prof. Dr. Ir. Fachruddin 1984 - 1989
9. Prof. Dr. Basri Hasanuddin, M.A. 1989 - 1997
10. Prof. Dr. Ir. Radi A. Gany 1997 - 2006
11. Prof. Dr. dr. Idrus A. Paturusi, Sp.BO. 2006 – 2014
12. Prof. Dr. Dwia Aries Tina Pulubuhu, M.A. 2014 - Present