Life after Delft: ‘better, brighter’

Smart, strong and hard working, Yusuf Hartono is a TU Delft graduate to be proud of.
Born in a leprosy colony east of Palembang, South Sumatra, Yusuf Hartono (47) would eventually make his way to TU Delft, earning a PhD in number theory at the EEMCS faculty from 1998-2003.

After graduation he returned to Indonesia, where he is currently a university lecturer at Sriwijaya University. While pursuing his PhD in Delft, Hartono was profiled in a Delta article, titled ‘The smartest paperboy in the world’, as he worked six days a week delivering morning, afternoon and evening newspapers in Delft.

You’ve gone a long way.

“Indeed. During my childhood, not many people knew about leprosy. The colony was built by the Salvation Army in 1914. Healthy people, so to say, always looked down on leprosy or ex-leprosy patients and their families. That’s why I was very strongly motivated to study hard in order to lift up my family.”

How do you spend your working days?

“I teach statistics and number theory and also conduct research, mainly on mathematics education, such as how to help high school students learn math and help math teachers deal with the subject.”

What did you learn from your TU Delft years?

“I had a great experience at TU Delft. It taught me how to work hard, appreciate others, use time efficiently, care for the environment…. And of course my understanding of my subject is also much better than before, which gives me more self-confidence in teaching.”

Did you take anything from the ‘Dutch way of life’?

“Yes, gezelligheid. Showing hospitality, sympathy and appreciation to everybody, that’s a good example of a Dutch way of life I took with me.”

What has a TU Delft degree meant to your life after Delft?

“Having a degree from overseas – let alone from a well-known university like TU Delft – is a dream of everybody. A TU Delft degree isn’t just about knowledge, but far beyond that. You get different ways of thinking and of appreciating differences among people.”

Describe your experience delivering newspapers in Delft.

“It wasn’t just about earning money, but also about working hard and appreciating ‘lower lower’ people.”

How do you see your future?

“I know it’s going to be bright. I’m working on my full professorship and plan to retire as a lecturer at Sriwijaya University.”

In a word or two, describe your ‘Life after Delft’?

“Better and brighter.” 

The 2003 Delta archived article about Yusuf Hartono is available at:


Hier en daar duiken al protestliederen op tegen de kabinetsplannen. Wie de website bezoekt, hoort meteen een protest-rap. Zulke liederen klinken de LSVb als muziek in de oren. Daarom leek het de vakbond leuk om er een wedstrijd van te maken.

Vice-voorzitter Maaike Verhoek meldde dit op de Facebook-pagina van de LSVb. Stuur je lied voor dinsdag 11 januari naar

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