The University established in 1965 as Vudal Agricultural College (VAC). At the time it was a male only college of the then Department of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries. The first female students were enrolled ten years later, in 1965.
The college offered a two-year certificate and three year diploma training in Tropical Agriculture and made significant contributions to agricultural education and rural development in Papua New Guinea and neighbouring South Pacific countries. 1n 1992, VAC was merged with Papua New Guinea University of Technology and renamed Vudal Agricultural College. Five years later, the college became University of Vudal, an autonomous higher education institution through an Act of Parliament that was passed in January 1997.
In 1999, under inaugural Vice Chancellor Professor Walter Wong, a four year Bachelor of Tropical Agriculture degree programme was introduced and the certificate program was phased out.
In 2005, the University Council, under the chancellorship of former Prime Minister and present Governor of New Ireland, Sir Julius Chan, directed that the University change its name and begin the process of expanding its portfolio of courses, while still focusing on the regions rich natural resources.
The name Papua New Guinea University of Natural Resources and Environment and logo was chosen from a public name and logo competition to promote a new training focus - training in the sound management and harvesting of natural renewable resources.
Following the resignation of Sir Julius as Chancellor in 2007, another former Prime Minister, Sir Rabbie Namaliu was endorsed by Council as the University's third Chancellor. Sir Rabbie, a distinguished statesman served as Chancellor until he resigned in January 2011. Chancellor Margaret L. Elias was appointed by Council at the 50th Council meeting on September 30, 2011. The University's inaugural Chancellor was the late Sir Alan Tololo.
The University’s current Chancellor is Professor Kenneth Sumbuk, who was appointed in October 2017.
Prof. Kenneth Sumbuk (Chancellor, PNGUNRE)