Riau University was established from the desire and shared goals between the community and the local Government of Riau. This desire realized by forming a university Preparatory Committee of Riau (P3TR) in Tanjung Pinang. However, after the capital of Riau province moved to Pekanbaru,and the committee also moved to Pekanbaru. The pioneers of the establishment of the University are Colonel Kaharuddin Nasution, Datuk Wan Abd ar-Rahman, H.s. Soesman and Drs. Sutan Balia. From the great committee was formed Foundation of Riau University , and than established this university. The University was named of Riau University with Foundation Decree of Riau University No.02 / KPTS / JUR / 62 on September 25th, 1962, further strengthened by the Decree of the Minister of Higher Education and Science 123, 20 September, 1963, effective on 1 October , 1962. At that time the university has two faculties, :
Faculty of commercial and constitutional
Faculty of Teacher Training and Education
And next year also opened two new faculties :
Faculty of Economicsand
Faculty of Exact and Natural Sciences.
in 1964 established the Faculty of Fisheries, With the result that Riau University was a complete university with two faculties : exact and three non-exact In the same year the Faculty of teacher training and education science ecede and become IKIP Jakarta Branch Pekanbaru. But four years later (1968) re-joined the University of Riau and merged into two faculties, each Faculty Teaching and Faculty of Education, so that when it Riau University has six faculties. In the same year the Faculty of teacher training and education science broke away and became IKIP of Jakarta with branch Pekanbaru. But four years later (1968) The Faculty rejoined the University of Riau and incorporate into two faculties, : the Faculty of teacher training and education, so that at that time the University of Riau has six faculties. In 1981 opened the Faculty of Non-Degree Technology (FNGT) with the Department of Agricultural Extension and Civil Engineering, which is the forerunner of the Faculty of Agriculture and Faculty of Engineering. Two years later the Faculty of Teacher Training and Education Faculty incorporated into the Faculty of Teacher Training and Education. In 1991 FNGT closed and opened the Faculty of Agriculture and finally in 1994 stood seventh faculty, the Faculty of Engineering. The history of this university was undergoing changes, Not only structural and shape but also personal. Since inception (1962) until 1978, UNRI used presidium system. The man who had served as chairman of the presidium:
Brigjen. H. Kaharuddin Nasution (1962-1967).
Brigjen. H. Arifin Achmad (1967-1978).
Since 1978 to 1980 UNRI described as the transition from the system of the presidium to the Rector system and elected Drs. H.M.Farid Kasmy as interim rector of Riau University. in 1980 UNRI have definitive rector by the Decree of the President of the Republic of Indonesia 148 / M / 1980. The name of Rector of Riau University time to time :
Prof. Dr. Muchtar Lutfi (1980-1984, 1985 – 1989)
Prof. Drs. M. Bosman Saleh, MBA (1989 – 1993)
Dr. Mohammad Diah, M.Ed. (1993 – 1997).
Prof. Dr. Muchtar Ahmad (1997 – 2001, 2002 – 2006)
Prof. Dr. Ashaluddin Jalil, MS. (2006 – 2010, 2010 – 2014)
UNRI always played the role of promoting development, contributing to the development of social, economic, and intellectual, for the betterment of the nation. UNRI also involved in community projects, either by themselves or working together with government and private.