During the university’s 50+-year history, it has remained independent. It has survived chaotic political regimes, wars and civil strife that ensued after Congo gained independence from Belgium in 1960. In 1961, after the assassination of Congo’s first elected Prime Minister, Patrice Lumumba, chaos reigned.
During the Simba Rebellion in the mid-1960’s, rebels moved into the city of Kisangani, the university’s original home, forcing it to move to Kinshasa. There it joined forces with an established Roman Catholic university until it was able to return to its home in Kisangani.
For 20 years, the university survived nationalization under Mobutu Sese Seko, the longtime dictator. Shortly after regaining its independence and moving to the capital city of Kinshasa, the Schools of Business and Law were established.
Then came the wars in the late 1990's and early 2000's when approximately 5.4 million Congolese lost their lives. Yet, UPC remained stable and, in 2006, the School of Medicine opened. In 2023 UPC added a computer science department.