Indonesia Adventist University

By Reymand Hutabarat


Reymand Hutabarat is a professor of theology at Universitas Advent Indonesia. He finished his Ph.D. in Historical Theology from AIIAS in 2007. He served as the president of UNAI from 2010 to 2018. 

First Published: September 8, 2022

Indonesia Adventist University (Universitas Advent Indonesia or UNAI) is an educational boarding school at the University level operated by the West Indonesia Union Mission on an estate of about 57 acres. It is located 12 miles north of Bandung, West Java. The college started as a training school in 1929 and turned into a college in 1949. During the school year 2017-2018, there were 2,025 students enrolled and 130 teachers and staff. The students are mostly Indonesian, with some students from Malaysia, China, and other nations. More than 88 percent are from Adventist homes, and the rest are from non-Christians or from other Christian groups.1 The college offers the following programs: Bachelor of Arts in Theology, Mathematics, English, Accountancy, Management, Information System, Computer Science, Nursing, Biology, Master in Philosophy (Ministry), Master in Management, Diploma of Nursing, Nursing profession, and Diploma of Secretarial Science. All programs are accredited by the Adventist Accrediting Association (AAA) and the National Accreditation Institution of the Republic of Indonesia (BAN-PT). 

Development that Led to its Establishment

The historical background of UNAI began with the need of the church for an educational institution to train the local youth to become future Gospel workers. The idea for fulfilling that need emerged at the time when Dutch Indies Union was part of the Central Europe Division based in Berlin at the beginning of 1929.2 The arrival of German workers had actualized such hope by starting a training school in Cimindi, Cimahi West Java. The school was inaugurated on November 5, 1929, by Pastor Ohme, NEIUM president.3 The name of that Training School is Opleiding School der Advent-Zending, led by German teachers such as H. Easing and L. M. D. Wortrnan, and K. Mandias from Indonesia as the Malay teachers. On November 15, the class was begun with 10 students, they were: P. Kauripan, S. Kauntul, M. Silitonga, V. E. Siwij, Van Drongolen, Luntungan, A. Rhebok, Ch. Rhebok, E. H. Vijsma, M. H. Wauran.4 The first graduation was conducted in 1931 with seven students. They directly entered into the mission field as literature evangelists, school teachers and Gospel workers. The school was working under the leadership of H. Eilsing (1929-1931). This was continued by L.M.D. Wortman (1931-1942). In 1942, the school was closed because of World War II. Wortman was arrested by the Japanese Army and detained in jail until he died in 1943.5

Founding of The School

Prior to World War II, the political situation in Europe had become agitated, and this caused a worse economic situation in European colonial territories. Consequently, communication was cut off, and this included funding from the Central Europe Division to Dutch Indies (Hindia Belanda) Union. Due to this, all workers in Dutch Indies (HindiaBelanda) faced a great deal of suffering. Because of that, church leaders made an appeal to the General Conference head office so that the Dutch Indies (Hindia Belanda) Union was returned to Far Eastern Division based in Singapore. This request was granted, and since 1939, the Dutch Indies (Hindia Belanda) Union became part of the Far Eastern Division.6

Move to Gadobangkong

In those days, church leaders felt that the situation of the school in Cimindi could not support the education training program to train the students to become better Gospel workers. By then, God opened the way, and the Opleiding School de Advent-Zending moved to a new location, a better and wider area right in the Gadobangkong village, but still in the municipality of Cimahi, West Java. Since the school moved to Gadobangkong in 1938, the program was upgraded to the Seminary level and became Indonesia Union Seminary with four years of school programs.7

Japanese Colonialism Period

Not long after the school’s operations started in Gadobangkong, World War II broke out (1939) in Europe between America, British, and other alliance countries against Germany, Italy, and Japan. The Japanese invasion had changed the political, financial, cultural, and education system in Dutch Indies (Hindia Belanda), and everything had to be in Japanese style. Right by that time, our education institution in Gadobangkong was closed. The church's activities were fully stopped during Japanese colonialism (1942-1945) in the Dutch Indies (Hindia Belanda).8

Indonesia Union Seminary

After World War II ended, Indonesia declared its independence on August 17, 1945, so the school opened again on August 16, 1948, with a new name--the Indonesia Union Seminary (IUS). 9

Based on the consideration that the need for service for Seventh-day Adventist Church would increase, it was planned to reorganize the school system to the junior college school higher than senior high school. So on August 19, 1949, Junior College began its work. It ran a two-year school program with six students enrolled in the first year of the beginning of junior college. They were Albert Mamora, Roul Tauran, Marben Siburian, Bongitan Silaen, Jan Hutauruk, Saidi Panjaitan.10 After two years, they graduated in 1951. They were the first group to be graduated from the Adventist Junior College in Indonesia. The first president at that time was Pastor M. Bartlett, an American missionary.11

Indonesia Union College (Perguruan Tinggi Advent)

In 1962, the junior college that offered only the Pastoral Ministry dan Education Teacher course was improved into a Batchelor of Art (BA) in Pastoral Ministry, Education Teacher, and Business Administration with three years of school programs. The name of the institution was changed to the Indonesia Union College (IUC), and was enrolled in the Education and Culture Ministry of the Republic of Indonesia. To make this IUC equal to any Bachelor of Arts degree in another country, in the year of 1963, the Bachelor of Arts degree had to be finished in four years of school programs. Thus, the Bachelor of Arts degree in IUC was equal to a Bachelor of Arts degree elsewhere.12

Institute Theologia & Keguruan Advent (ITKA)

In 1971, the improvement of the Education and Teacher major made the name of the Indonesia Union College changed into the Institut Teologia & Keguruan Advent (ITKA).13

Indonesia Adventist University (UNAI)

According to the official letter granted by the Ministry of Education and Cultural of the Republic of Indonesia on November 2, 1982, the name of our institution was changed to Universitas Advent Indonesia (UNAI, Adventist University of Indonesia). The name of UNAI is still currently used as of this writing.14 Adventist University of Indonesia offers bachelor's degrees in Theology, English, Mathematics, Accounting, Management, Environmental Biology, Nursing, Computer Science, and Information Systems) and Master's degrees in Ministry and Business Administration.

History of the School, with Emphasis on Important events and Periods

As mentioned before, the history of UNAI started with Opleiding School Der Advent Zending as the first SDA school for the training of workers in Indonesia. On November 29, 1929, the Training Center in Cimindi Bandung was opened with ten students and named Opleiding School Der Advent Zending. Then a simple house was purchased to be used as a classroom in the context of education and training of religious teachers and Adventist literature evangelist. H. Eelsing acted as headmaster, assisted by two lecturers, namely L. M. D. Hortman and K. Mandias.15

From 1931 to 1942, the school was led by L. M. D. Wortman. Three outstanding issues were encountered during this period: the lack of funds, facilities, and students.16

In 1938, they purchased a piece of land in Gadobangkong. In this place were built some worthy buildings, and the school was moved from Cimindi to this new campus. In the same year, a formal school education program (middle school) is equivalent to junior high school now. This formal education was pursued during the year to obtain the “Hollandse Indische Kweekschool” diploma for the Teacher School and the “Meer Uitgebreid LagerOnderwijs” diploma for Bible teachers.17

In 1942, the school was closed due to World War II and the war of independence that raged in Indonesia. School leader L.M.D. Wortman was arrested and imprisoned in Cimahi until his death in 1944.

In 1945, August 16, 1945, to be exact, the school was reopened under the name Indonesia Union Seminary (IUS). 18 At that point Lowell Hoogendorp did not meet the academic qualifications of the leadership position, so the principal’s position was transferred to I. C. Schmidt. They had a total of 45 students, study rooms that had been shattered due to war were repaired, water channels were installed, and new office space was laid out.19

In 1949, a four-year high school education program was opened, which then developed into a six-year program, according to the national education system of the Republic of Indonesia. At the same time, a higher education program was started under the leadership of Lloyd W. Mauldin. In 1951, this two-year diploma program was successfully completed by six graduates.20

In 1952, the nursing school was opened and cooperated with Bandung Adventist Hospital.21 Since 1952, Adventist church leaders felt the need to relocate the school to a larger property. A committee of five was appointed, with N. C. Wilson as chairman, to investigate a possible new site and the possibility of the sale of the Gadobangkong property. The Gadobangkong property was sold at twice its appraisal value--a true answer to prayer. The money from this sale was enough to purchase 57 acres of land in Cisarua.22

In 1953, Alvin M. Bartlet was replaced by Bernard A. Aaen. During his leadership, the location of the Gadobangkong campus was transferred to Cisarua, the currently existing campus. This move was carried out at the end of 1953, with three departments (Nursing, Ministerial, and Teacher Education), and they had no permanent buildings for lectures and student dormitories. Regarding classrooms, three former cowshed and horse buildings were rented from local residents, while teacher housing and dormitories were still located around Curug Cimahi. This period of time was the most difficult time for students and teachers because they had to pass the river to go to the college because on this new campus, there was still the construction of classroom facilities, dormitories, and faculty housing happening.23

On July 19, 1954, the “Anyelir” girls dormitory was completed and began to be used. This included the completion of seven staff and lecturers’ houses, three “section II” houses used for foreign workers' housing, and four “section I” houses for local staff. In September 1954, the office building and “Hilltop” lecture hall was completed.

In 1955, there was a change of leadership from Bernard A. Aaen to Leroy A. Benzinger. Under his leadership, the work program improved, and the junior high school curriculum was changed from four years to three years and senior high school from 2twoyears to three years, adjusted to the education system in Indonesia. In the same year, five people graduated from nursing school.24

In 1957, early in the second semester, Benzinger quit his post as the school principal. For a temporary position, the school appointed Lloyd W. Mauldin, then secretary of the West Indonesia Union. Mauldin was chairman until the end of the academic year in 1957. In March 1957, a building was completed that included a dining room, kitchen, and library. The “Old Boys Dormitory” was also completed.

On August 8, 1957, Bernard A. Aaen was appointed as a school leadership official. He served as chairman until March 24, 1962. In March 1957, the building that became a dining room, kitchen, and library was completed. On August 8, 1957, Bernard A. Aaen was appointed as an official school leader. He served as chairman until March 24, 1962.25

In 1960, the name of Indonesia Union Seminary was changed to the Perguruan Tinggi Advent (PTA). In 1962, the two-year education program (junior college) became a bachelor’s degree program with the title “Bachelor of Arts” (B.A.), which covers the Department of Theology, Education and Business Administration (Business Administration). On March 11, 1962, a four-year program was approved as the Education Program and Economic Program by Far Eastern Division.26

On May 27, 1962, the Aaen family left Indonesia, and Percy Paul, who had been in Indonesia since 1960, was appointed as the president. In December 4, 1962, the Far Eastern Division based in Singapore approved a four-year education program for the Ministerial Program.27 And on December 5, 1962, Percy Paul enrolled Perguruan Tinggi Advent at the Ministry of Education and Culture of Indonesia.

In 1963, the four-year education program was equivalent to the Bachelor’s Education program abroad.28 (Hutagaol). On May 26, 1963, Percy Paul returned to Canada, and in his place, Bryce F. Newell was appointed as a leadership official until the end of the academic year in 1964.29 Later, George Fisher was appointed 10th chairman of the Institute of Education, replacing Bryce F. Newell. Under Fisher’s leadership, Perguruan Tinggi Advent had a Bachelor of Education program for Ministry of Religious Studies, Education Studies, and Economic Studies Program. In 1965, George Fisher planned the construction of a new boys dormitory. This dormitory construction was organized in 1968, consisting of three floors. Sam Robinson, PTA, gets donations in the form of school buses. These were the first vehicles owned by this institution. Some housing staff and lecturers were constructed during the same year.

In 1970, the name of the Perguruan Tinggi Advent (PTA) was changed to the Institut Teologi dan Keguruan Advent (ITKA). In the same year, Fisher received important positions at the Far Eastern Academy in Singapore, and Amos Simorangkir was appointed as the head of the institution. He was the first Indonesian to hold the position of Head of Institution. From that moment onwards, ITKA has been under the leadership of the Indonesian people. During the leadership of Amos Simorangkir, the number of students reached 204 people. Employment opportunities for students began to be initiated, including jobs at bakery factories, the tofu factory, gardens, tailor clothes, laundry, book-binding, poultry, farms and cattle ranches, campus roads, and waterfalls.30

In 1974, Amos Simorangkir left to continue his education at Andrews University, and the head of the institute position was held by Dr. Roul H. Tauran until 1975.31 He was subsequently replaced by Rajo Aman Nainggolan, and the facilities built during this time included two-story boys dormitories, faculty housing, married student housing, and an ADRA compound.

In 1977, to accommodate students who were coming from the island of Sumatra, the ITKA extension began in Pematang Siantar, North Sumatra.32

In 1979, the leadership of ITKA was held by Urbanus Aritonang until 1981, when Rajo Aman Nainggolan left to continue his education in the United States. At that time, a number of faculty houses were built around the campus, and the name was changed temporarily to Universitas Advent Bandung (UNABA).33

In 1981, the board appointed Richard A. Hutagaol as the president even though he was still studying in the United States. As the acting officer, the position of president of ITKA was temporarily held by the president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in West Indonesia Union, Amos Simorangkir. At that time, there was the opening of a new faculty in Biology majoring in Environmental Biology. The purpose of adding the Faculty of Biology was in accordance with government regulations for the establishment of a university where the institution must have a faculty of Natural Sciences (science).34

On November 2, 1981, the name change to ITKA was officially replaced by the Minister of Education and Culture Decree No. RI. 0338/0/1982 dated November 2, 1982, which authorized the reimbursement and renewal of the Institut Teologi dan Keguruan Advent (ITKA) to the Universitas Advent Indonesia (abbreviated UNAI).35

In 1982, Boaz J. Dompas served as the president. During this time, there are several houses built for the lecturers.36 In 1982, on the return of Richard Hutagaol from Andrews University, he began his duties as president until 1990. During this period, many advances were made, including a twin Administration building was established in 1986 in cooperation with the Alumni Association.37

In 1990, Tigor Tobing was appointed as the president. Unfortunately, while serving UNAI, he died in an accident in 1992.38 Tigor Tobing was known as a builder, and within two years of his leadership, he built girls dormitories, a cafeteria, and a student center.

In 1992, the board appointed Richard Hutagaol. Hutagaol served as president until his retirement in 2002. It was during this time that UNAI underwent physical and academic development. Among others: the 1994 alumni Chapel Building (1989), gymnasium (1995), two new boys dormitories (1996), a new library (1998), and a new girls dorm extension (2002).

On June 1, 1999, the government approved the establishment of the UNAI Secretarial Science and Management program with registered status in the Departement of Education, with the decree of the Minister of Education and Culture of the Republic of Indonesia with number 95 / D / O / 1999. The Directorate General of Higher Education also granted the registered status to the Computer Science Program for Bachelor (S1) degree in the Universitas Advent Indonesia in Bandung.39 Also, in 1999, the board approved UNAI official hymns that had been written by R. A. Nainggolan, assisted by Dante Oblimar and Rozelene Gulon. 40

On April 27, 2000, the National Accreditation Board (BAN) Minister of Education and Culture of the Republic of Indonesia granted accredited status to the School of Biology (F-MIPA) majoring in Environmental Biology with decree no. 004 / BAN-PT / Ak / IV / ZIOV / 2000. For the first time, UNAI had the official university senate comply with the government regulation PP no. 60, 1999. The officers of the senate consisted of R.A. Hutagaol (president) as chairman, and Reymand Hutabarat (VPAA) as secretary with these members; T. Tambunan, P. Tambunan, J. S. Peranginangin, P. Manullang, Marlinda Siahaan, C.Z. Panjaitan, E. Panjaitan, J. H. Rantung, H. Widijanto, E. Antwi, I. Heriyana, M. Tambunan, L. Sihotang, H. Wullur, J. Muskita, S. Siahaan, D. Nainggolan, and A.U. Panjaitan.41

On August 6, 2001, a letter of approval was given to start the Nursing Science Program in the undergraduate program (S1) by the Minister of National Education (decree no. 010/0/200).42 On November 23, 2001, the National Accreditation Board of Higher Education (BAN-PT) visited and evaluated the School of Biology (F-MIPA).43 During the same year, with the support of the officers of the WIUM, the program Master in Ministry was started with eight students. For the time being, this program produced more than one hundred pastors who finished their degrees.

In 2002, the board appointed Canadian Panjaitan to become president to replace R. A. Hutagaol, who retired. Panjaitan held this position from 2002 to 2010. Much progress was made, especially in the field of curriculum adjustment, community service, and evangelism activities, where many faculty and staff were encouraged to be involved in evangelism. As a result, many souls were baptized into the church.

In 2010, the board appointed Reymand Hutabarat to become the president to replace Canadian Panjaitan, who already completed his term.44 During this period, UNAI established the motto “Everyone Can Study.” The school has been giving an opportunity for those needy SDA young people to work one year prior to when they are enrolled. The school also provides a special dormitory with a kitchen where the students can cook for themselves to reduce their school fees. In 2017, the school provides a 2.5 billion rupiahs scholarship for student labor. It was provided to attract many young Adventist people to study at UNAI. The enrollment increased and peaked at over 2000 students, of which 88 percent came from Adventist families.45 Six houses for GCAS and Supit hall were built by the foundation in 2012. The new Academic Building and a four-story building with 60 classrooms were constructed and inaugurated in 2015 by the UNAI foundation. All programs were accredited by the National Accrediting Institution of the Republic of Indonesia (BAN-PT) and AAA (Adventist Accrediting Association) for five years until 2020. All faculty hold at least a master's degree, and more than 35 percent of them are doctorate degree holders.

Historical Role of the School

During the founding years of the school, it was thought that the purpose of this school was only to train the local youth to become future Gospel workers for the church. But as time passed, Adventist and non-Adventist students from all parts of Indonesia and from foreign countries such as Malaysia, China, and the United States came for a college education at UNAI, attracted by the school’s moral and academic values, the temperate weather climate and beautiful scenery of the school.

Moreover, the university serves the community and the church in various ways. To the surrounding community, UNAI gives a 50 percent tuition discount to help the needy students coming from the villages around the campus. The school, particularly the nursing department, regularly serves the community by giving them lessons regarding nutrition, mental health, community health, and others. These are geared to improve the lifestyle of the people. Once a month, the school ministers to people in jail. The university also actively supports the mission of the church in its constituencies. Every Christmas and during summer breaks, prayer groups, choirs, and student associations teams of more than a hundred students are organized and sent to different places in Java and Sumatra to help the brethren in the spread of the Gospel through community service. And every Saturday, theology students go to churches, particularly in the city of Bandung, to worship and assist the brethren in their Sabbath programs. These activities help the students by blending the theory and practice they receive in their classes. Every summer, the Theology department conducts a Field School of Evangelism, where students in theology go out into the community to conduct public evangelism. Thus, the training of the mind, the heart, and the hands are emphasized and practiced at the college.

Until the year 2017, UNAI has produced more than 12,000 graduates who are now serving in various capacities in and outside Indonesia. They work as pastors, nurses, teachers, IT technicians, and in other employment. To the church in Indonesia, these graduates serve as secretaries, teachers, principals, college professors, mission directors, accountants, and mission and union presidents. And outside the church, they are employed as teachers, nurses, corporate accountants, IT technicians and CEOs in private institutions as well as national and international companies. In their world of work, they are bringing the values of the Adventist education they have learned at UNAI. Thus, in its 68 years of existence as a college, it has contributed significantly to the church and the country's workforce.

List of School Heads, Principals, and Presidents

Opleiding School Der Advent Zending (1929-1942): H. Eeising (1929-1931); L. M. D. Wortman (1931-1943)

Indonesia Union Seminary (1945 -1957): I. C. Smidt (1948- 1949); A. M. Bartlett (1949-1953); B. A. Aaen (1953-1955); L. A. Benzinger (1955-1957); Lloyd Malinda (1957)

Perguruan Tinggi Advent –Indonesia Union College (1960-1965): Percy Paul (1962- 1963); Brayce Newell (1963-1965); George H. Fisher (1965-1970)

Institut Theologia dan Keguruan Advent ( ITKA) (1970-1981): Amos Simorangkir (1970-1974); Raul H. Tauran (1974-1975); R. A. Nainggolan (1975-1979); Urbanus Aritonang (1979-1981)

Universitas Advent Indonesia (1981- ): Boaz J. Dompas (1982); Tigor L. Tobing (1990-1992); R. A. Hutagaol (1981-1990; 1992-2002); Canadian Z. Panjaitan (2002-2010); Reymand Hutabarat (2010-2018); Bartholomeus Diaz Nainggolan (2018- ).


Nainggolan R. A. Light Dawns Over Asia, Adventism’s Story in the Far Eastern Division 1888-1988 (Compiled by Dr. Gil Fernandez): Adventists International Institute of Advance Studies (AIIAS) Publications, Silang Cavite, Republic of the Philippines, 1988.

Panjaitan, Canadian Z., editor. Universitas Advent Indonesia Dies Natalies ke 52, 1949-2001.

Registrar Office Records, Universitas Advent Indonesia, Bandung.

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association. Various years.

SK Badan Pengurus Yayasan UNAI, Bandung (UNAI Board Minutes), No. 021/Ya-UNAI/11/2010.

Statuta, Universitas Advent Indonesia, 2001 edition.

Tambunan, E. H. Pusat Gereja Masehi Advent Hari Ketujuh di Indonesia, Gereja Masehi Advent Hari Ketujuh di Indonesia: Sejarah Perintisan dan Pengembangannya. Bandung: Indonesia Publishing House, 1999.

Tobing, Joshua L., editor. Universitas Advent Indonesia, Dies Natalies ke 50 Years, 1949-1999.


  1. VPAA Report, September 1, 2017.

  2. Nainggolan, R.A., Light Dawns Over Asia, Adventism’s Story in the Far Eastern Division 1888-1988 (Compiled by Dr. Gil Fernandez): Adventists International Institute of Advance Studies (AIIAS) Publications, Silang Cavite, Republic of the Philippines, 1988, 179.

  3. Richard A. Hutagaol, Sebuah Perjalanan Hidup: Pengabdian 47 tahun di Universitas Advent Indonesia (Jakarta: Eyeport Design & Printing, 2017), 83.

  4. Ibid.

  5. Ibid.

  6. E. H. Tambunan, Pusat Gereja Masehi Advent Hari Ketujuh di Indonesia, Gereja Masehi Advent Hari Ketujuh di Indonesia: Sejarah Perintisan dan Pengembangannya (Bandung: Indonesia Publishing House,1999), 458.

  7. Ibid.

  8. Ibid.

  9. Ibid.

  10. Hutagaol, 84.

  11. Ibid., 85.

  12. Ibid.

  13. Ibid.

  14. Ibid.

  15. Canadian Z. Panjaitan, Editor, Universitas Advent Indonesia Dies Natalies ke 52, 1949-2001, 28.

  16. Ibid.

  17. Ibid.

  18. Ibid.

  19. Ibid.

  20. Ibid., 29.

  21. Ibid.

  22. Nainggolan, Light Dawns Over Asia, 179.

  23. Panjaitan, Dies Natalies UNAI 52, 29.

  24. Ibid., 55.

  25. Ibid., 30.

  26. Ibid.

  27. Ibid.

  28. Ibid.

  29. Ibid.

  30. Ibid., 31.

  31. Ibid

  32. Ibid.

  33. Ibid.

  34. Ibid.

  35. Joshua L.Tobing, Editor, Dies Natalies 50 UNAI (1949-1999), 16

  36. Canadian Panjaitan, Editor, Dies Natalies 52 UNAI (1949-2991), 32.

  37. Hutagaol, 119.

  38. Ibid., 119-121.

  39. Ibid., 127.

  40. Ibid., 108.

  41. Ibid., 113.

  42. Panjaitan, Dies Natalies UNAI 52, 32.,

  43. Ibid.

  44. SK Badan Pengurus Yayasan UNAI, Bandung, No. 021/Ya-UNAI/11/2010.

  45. Academic Administration Office, Report, September 1, 2017.


Hutabarat, Reymand. "Indonesia Adventist University." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. September 08, 2022. Accessed May 24, 2024.

Hutabarat, Reymand. "Indonesia Adventist University." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. September 08, 2022. Date of access May 24, 2024,

Hutabarat, Reymand (2022, September 08). Indonesia Adventist University. Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved May 24, 2024,