The forerunner of the University of Jember comes from the idea of dr. R. Achmad together with R. Th. Soengedi and R. M. Soerachman who aspired to establish a college in Jember. To realize these ideals on April 1, 1957, the three formed a committee named Panitia Triumviraat, consisting of dr. R. Achmad as the chairman; R. Th. Soengedi as the writer and R.M Soerachman as the treasurer. Then, on October 5, 1975 they formed Universitas Tawang Alun Foundation (which legalized by the Notarial Certificate on March 8, 1958 No. 13 issued in Jember). Then, this Institution established a private university called Universitas Tawang Alun or UNITA.
During the process, the three then obtained a great deal of supports from the Regent of Jember at that time, R. Soedjarwo. Consequently, the university gained its status based on the ministrial decree PTIP No. 151 Year 1964 on November 9, 1964 about establishment of state university in Jember. Finally at 1957 UNED (Universitas Negeri Djember) or State University of Djember was successfully established. In the early 1964 University of Djember had five faculties; Faculty of Law in Jember and its branch in Banyuwangi, Faculty of Political Science and Social Science and Faculty of Agricultute in Jember, Faculty of Economy and Faculty of Letters in Banyuwangi. Dr. R. Achmad served as UNED first rector followed by Letkol. Soedi Harjohoedojo (1967-1969), Letkol. Soetardjo, SH (1969-1978) and Kol. Drs. H. R. Warsito (1978-1986) subsequently.
Since 1986, the academician such as Prof. Dr. Simanhadi Widyaprakosa (1986-1995), Prof. Dr. Kabul Santoso, MS (1995-2003), and Dr. Ir. T. Sutikto, MSc (2003-2011) were appointed to be the rectors of University of Jember. The current rector is Drs. Moh. Hasan, Msc Ph.D, appointed from 2012 to present.