To launch the university, a meeting was organized by the Bishop Aloys Mulindwa Mutabesha. This one along with others reflected on the creation of a University in Bukavu. By November 1989 the University was finally created. Its pioneers were eager to see the city of Bukavu have its own university intended to train youngsters. The university which was created was formerly called ‘Université de Bukavu’ (UDB) or University of Bukavu and later on became ‘Université Catholique de Bukavu’ or Catholic University of Bukavu.
The people who worked with the Bishop and created the university are the following: Professor Vincent Mulago Gwa Cikala who became the first rector, Father Prof. Déogratias Ruhamanyi who became his Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Gilbert Kabanda, Mister Mamboleo Mughuba, Rev. Gwamuhanya Birindwa Joseph, Rev. Mirindi Kishingoko Bonaventure and Father Nyagahama Mwikizangabo Gaudens.

In 1990, the university got implemented in a church-like building. The former Saint Teresa Chapel was divided into lecture rooms. The chapel was then moved and gave its premises to the University.

Things were very difficult at the beginning of the University. To cite a few of them, there was the arrival of Rwandan refugees fleeing the Rwandan genocide, so-called wars of liberation, the arrival of some militias in Bukavu that became a reality even after some years later, the poverty of the Sud-kivu and Bukavu population, the different difficult contacts undertaken by the Vice-Chancellor in order to get some partnerships with universities in Kinshasa and in Europe, the scarcity of professors at that time. Because of all this, the future of the university was very dark.

The management of the provincial hospital was given to the diocese in 1994. This allowed the university to have a place for the Internship and practice for its students in the faculty of Medicine. Later the university got some help from other partners like Prof. Stanislas Haumont.

In January 1994, under the initiative of Prof. Stanislas Haumont, an agreement was signed between the Faculties of Medicine of Bujumbura, Bukavu and Butare. The three institutions agreed to apply the self-learning approach in use at UCL. UCL decided to support those three universities through the acquisition of teaching materials, the financing of teachers mobility at UCL and the histology training of teachers in Bukavu and Butare. On 16 September 1994, a convention was signed between UCB, UCL and the National University of Benin (UNB) to provide training to students of 1st doctorate who have successfully completed their third year at UCB in the faculty of medicine, establish from October 1995 a training in the second cycle in the Faculty of Medicine at UCB in partnership with UCL and UNB. This three-year agreement, except for the part covering the granting of scholarships, was signed between the Vice-Chancellors Prof. P. Mac (UCL), Prof. I. G. Zanouvi (UNB) and Prof. Vincent Mulago (UCB).

Succession of Vice-Chancellors at UCB: Prof. Vincent Mulago (1989-1996), Prof. Déogratias Ruhamanyi Bisimwa (1996-2002), Prof. Joseph Gwamuhanya (2002-2011) and Prof. Paul Kadundu Karhamikire (2011-2019). Thanks to the cooperation they have established with several partners, their ability to federate the efforts and hard work of staff members, training offers have been developed and staff training has been increased. The Faculty of Law was created in 1995, that of Social Sciences in 2013 and that of Architecture and Urbanism was launched in 2017.
Nowadays, Professor Kanigula MUBAGWA is the new Vice-Chancellor of UCB. He is projecting to increase material and financial resources, organize capacity building sessions for the staff of the university, and strengthen the academic position of the university as well as its visibility. He is also planning to increase the societal impact of the University through community services and is planning to improve the management of the University and promote the community spirit.

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