The history of UACh dates back to 1942 when a society called Sociedad de Amigos del Arte was formed in the city of Valdivia to promote culture. One of the society's main goals was the establishment of a university in the city. The idea of creating a university was presented to the national congress in the 1950s by the senator for Valdivia, Carlos Acharán Pérez de Arce, who later succeeded in consolidating the project. In a meeting held on 16 February 1954 supporters of installing a university created a directory and proclaimed Eduardo Morales Miranda as president of it. The initial founding depended on donations from private persons including some industrial businessmen. After have been founded by decree on 7 September 1954 the university was inaugurated on 12 March 1955 by president Carlos Ibáñez del Campo. The inauguration was also attended by the rectors of the University of Chile and the States Technical University as well as the ambassadors of Venezuela and Argentina and representatives of the Netherlands, Germany and the United States.