Petra Christian University establishment should always be associated with Petra Christian Education and Teaching Association or PPPK Petra. PPPK Petra is a Christian union established on April 12th, 1951, with the purpose to provide education from the level of kindergarten to senior high schools.

The idea of establishing a university aiming to give the opportunity for its alumni to get higher education has existed since 1956.

On September 21st, 1960, the Committee of University Establishment Planning Preparation was formed, with the duty to prepare all the necessities to establish a university. The members of the committee were: drg. Tan Tjiaw Yong, Gouw Loe Liong, drg. Tan Gie Djien, Tjoa Siok Tjoen, Lie Ping Lioe and Kwee Djien Kian. Afterwards, based on their work, on August 8th, 1961, the coordinators decided to establish Petra Christian University with the its first department, Faculty of Letters.

On September 22nd, 1961, the day of 10th anniversary PPPK Petra, the establishment of Petra Christian University was publicized. Several days later, on September 28th, 1961, the coordinators of PPPK Petra formed the Directorate of University Affairs, whose duty was to manage the university, and temporarily acted as Sponsor Board members. The members of the directorate were: drg. Tan Tjiaw Yong, Ir. O.F. Patty, dr. Mesakh Wignjohoesodo, Gouw Loe Liong and J.A. Sereh. A year later, on September 15th, 1962, the second department: Civil Engineering was established.

Realizing the growth of the university, the coordinators re-evaluate the internal regulation of PPPK. On July 18th, 1964, a commitee for the establishment of Petra Christian University Foundation was set up, and the members of the committee were: J.E. Sahetapy SH, drg. Tan Tjiaw Yong, dr. M. Wignjohoesodo, Kho Hong Pie, R.M.S. Kertonadi and P.H. Saroinsong. The establishment concept of Petra Christian University Foundation (YPTK Petra) was accepted on October 22nd, 1964, and it was legally constituted on January 7th, 1965.