USC History

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The oldest city in the Philippines is Cebu City, the site of the earliest European settlement in the country established by Spanish conqueror Miguel Lopez de Legazpi in 1565. It was also here that the oldest school in the country emerged — the University of San Carlos (USC).

Founded by the Spanish Jesuits on August 1, 1595, USC was formerly known as the Colegio de San Ildefonso. In 1769, it was closed upon the expulsion of the Jesuits from the Philippines. It reopened in 1783 along Martires Street on the initiative of Bishop Mateo Joaquin de Arevalo under the name Colegio-Seminario de San Carlos, named after St. Charles Borromeo, the great patron of ecclesiastical training in the Renaissance. In 1867, the Vincentians took over the administration of San Carlos.

In 1930, the Colegio de San Carlos (CSC) was transferred to the new P. del Rosario building, while the Seminario de San Carlos remained in Martires Street. Five years after, the Colegio was turned over to the Society of the Divine Word (SVD – Societas Verbi Divini), which managed the school for 70 years now.

The Second World War saw the closure and occupation of CSC by Japanese troops. And shortly before Liberation, in 1944, bombs from US planes fell on San Carlos, almost reducing the school to rubbles. San Carlos became a university in 1948, three years after it reopened.

Following Communist persecution of the foreign clergy in China in 1949, the University of San Carlos would benefit from the migration of SVD priest-scholars to the Philippines. This accidental émigré culture in USC spawned pioneering research in anthropology, physics, engineering, philosophy, and other fields, here in the Philippines. This would have tremendous impact on the nation’s Post-War reconstruction.

Rapid expansion of the University during the 60s under the leadership of foreign priest-academicians came with the decade’s wave of militant nationalism, which culminated in calls for the Filipinization of the administration of all Catholic schools in the country. In 1970, Fr. Amante Castillo became the first Filipino president of USC.

USC continued to experience growth in the decades that followed, even as the school became witness, and often involved, in the turmoil and triumphs of the times, such as during the dark years of Martial Law in the 70s and the People Power Revolution in EDSA in 1986. Today, the University regularly produces topnotchers in board exams and alumni who have earned public recognition for achieving excellence in their own fields. This is proof that USC has remained true to its commitment to excellence in education.

Quick Facts
1595 Foundation of first school in Cebu by Fr. Antonio Sedeno, Fr. Pedro Chirino, and Antonio Pereira, all members of the Jestuits.
1606 Naming of school as Colegio de San Ildefonso.
1725 Completion of Martires Street building.
1769 Expulsion of the Jesuits from the Philippines, resulting in the Colegio’s closure.
1783 Reopening of the school by Bishop Mateo Joaquin de Arevalo with secular priests in charge under a new name, Colegio- Seminario de San Carlos.
1852 Appointment of Dominicans as regents.
1867 Taking over by Vincentian Fathers.
1927 Closure of the Collegiate Section.
1930 Transfer of Colegio de San Carlos to the new P. del Rosario building (Seminario de San Carlos remained in Martires Street).
1934 Reopening of College of Liberal Arts.
1935 Turning over of CSC to the Society of the Divine Word (SVD - Societas Verbi Divini).
1937 Opening of the College of Law and the College of Commerce.
1938 Opening of the College of Education.
1939 Opening of College of Engineering.
1940 Opening of the Junior Normal School (Women were admitted to CSC for the first time).
1941 Interruption of classes due to World War II.
1944 Destruction of P. del Rosario building by bombs.
1945 Reopening of the High School and the College of Liberal Arts.
1946 Rebuilding of Cathedral Convent and Little Flower Academy as training department for Education and Junior Normal students. 
Reopening of the following colleges: Normal, Education, Commerce, Law, and Engineering.
1948 Granting of university status (Colegio de San Carlos is now named University of San Carlos).
1949 Construction of the Main Building.
1950 Construction of the Administration Building.
1951 Opening of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering and Architecture courses. 
Construction of the Power House in Talamban Campus begins.
1952 Opening of the Bachelor of Science (curriculum with majors in Chemistry and Zoology).
1953 Opening of the following courses: Master of Science in Business Administration; Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering; Bachelor of Science major in Physics; Bachelor of Arts major in Philosophy; Pre-Dentistry; and Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education.
1955 Opening of three-year combined course (Junior Normal Home Economics with the title of Elementary Teacher's Certificate in Home Economics).
1956 Opening of the following courses: MA Philosophy; MS Physics; BS Chemistry; Bachelor of Philosophy. Construction of the Boys High School (BHS) building in Mango Avenue. Occupancy of building vacated by BHS by College of Engineering Opening of Secretarial course.
1957 Opening of the two-year surveying course. Construction of fourth floor of Science Building.
1958 Construction of Archbishop Reyes Building. Construction of the research laboratory for Chemistry.
1959 Putting up of language laboratories and air-conditioned Audio-Visual Room.
1960 Offering of doctoral degrees in Philosophy, Education, and Anthropology.
1961 First PAASCU formal survey of College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Teachers College, and College of Commerce.
1962 Opening of the USC Marine Biological Station at Liloan, Cebu for instructional and research purposes.
1963 Opening of Chemical Pilot Plant for training and research in the scientific extraction of oil from fresh coconuts, in the hydrogenation of coconut oil to fatty alcohol, and in the production of detergents from sulfated fatty alcohol. 
Opening of the Bachelor of Science major in Geology
1965 Opening of Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics and Master of Arts in Literature. PAASCU re-survey of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Teachers College, and the College of Commerce.
1966 Inauguration of the USC-Technological Center (USC-TC) in June 4. Opening of Bachelor of Science in Education major in Religious Education and Master of Arts in History.
1967 Opening of two-year Music course major in Piano, Marimba, and Voice leading to the title of Associate in Music; Master of Arts in Science Teaching major in Chemistry and Physics; Master of Science in Biology. 
First Lady Imelda R. Marcos opens the Anthropological Museum.
1968 Implementation of the five-year Bachelor of Science in Chemistry curriculum. Opening of Master of Arts in English Language Teaching. 
Inauguration of USC Auditorium (later renamed the USC Cultural Center) at P. del Rosario Extension during the 10th CEAP National Convention held in March. 
Founding of the Cebu Catechetical Training Institute to give a systematic training to catechists in public schools and parishes and to provide an effective practicum for college students majoring in Religious Education.
1969 Offering of Bachelor of Arts major in English with concentration on Secretarial Studies and Bachelor of Arts major in Sociology-Anthropology. 
Construction of Boys High School Extension on Mango Avenue to house the Elementary Department and the Seminary. Construction of Student Service Complex (USC Gym) at Main Campus. 
USC undertakes Reforestation and Small Farmers Project to answer an acute need for conservation and environmental planning.
1970 Opening of Master of Science in Library Science and Bachelor of Science in Mathematics. 
Installation of Fr. Amante P. Castillo as First Filipino President of USC in September 8. 
Election of Mr. Isidore Falek, Atty. Marcelo b. Fernan, and Engr. Salvador E. Sala as first lay members of the USC Board of Trustees. Designation of USC by FAPE as its Graduate Center for Library Science. 
Creation of Office of Population Studies as a research unit of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology in response to the government's call for involvement of schools in population activities (It thus became the first institute in the Visayas to engage in the systematic teaching of demography and in demographic research.).
1971 Transfer of Teachers College to its new building at the Teacher Education Center (TEC) along P. del Rosario Extension.
1972 Offering of MAST major in General Science, Biology, Elementary Science and Mathematics; MA in Education major in History. 
Establishment of the Office for Social Research as a research unit of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.
1973 Opening of Science and Mathematics Teaching Institute (SMTI). Release of first issues of The Philippine Quarterly of Culture and Society in answer to the need for a publication in the humanities. Completion of the Catechetical Training Center along Pelaez Street. Renaming of Chemical Pilot to Coconut Foods Pilot Plant.
1974 Construction of marine research station, Kaluhang Sirena at Liloan, Cebu. Relocation of USC Marine Station to Maribago, Mactan, Cebu. 
Construction of a chapel at USC Boys High School. 
USC joins network of stations of the Philippine Council for Agricultural Resource Research (PCARR). 
College of Engineering becomes the first PAASCU-accredited school of engineering.
1975 USC named the Most Outstanding Institution of Learning in Cebu City. 
Beatification of Arnold Janssen, founder of the Society of the Divine Word, and Joseph Freinademetz, one of the first Divine Word missionaries to China (The 100th Foundation Anniversary of the SVD was celebrated in USC in September 8.). 
Inauguration of USC Cebuano Studies Center in December 13.
1976 USC bags Award for Outstanding Private Institution in the Arts, Culture and Recreation category at the 39th Charter Day Anniversary of Cebu City. 
USC awards San Miguel Corporation professorial chair in Engineering. This was followed by the establishment of the Fritz Scharnhussen professorial chair in Marine Biology and the John Gokongwei, Jr. professorial chair in Business and Economics. 
Establishment of Don Vicente Sotto Cebuano Studies grant by Dr. Suga Sotto-Yuvienco as a contribution to the formation of a scholarly awareness of the various aspects of history, social life, language, and the arts of Cebu. 
Acquisition of rare Cebuano materials from the Agustinian collection in Villadolid, Spain through the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc. 
Opening of first two years of BS Nursing.
1977 Donation of professorial chair to the USC College of Commerce and Business Administration by Sycip, Gorres and Velayo Foundation. 
Offering of course leading to Bachelor of Science in Secretarial Administration, the four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and the five-year Bachelor of Science in Electronics and Communications Engineering.
1978 Establishment of professorial chair in Sociology-Anthropology by the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc. 
Blessing of Society of the Divine Word Formation Center at the back of USC Boys High School. Creation of the USC Testing Center and the Instructional Development Unit (IDU).
1979 Creation of Office of Non-Formal Education attached to the Teachers College. 
Establishment of the Center for Religious Education.
1981 Blessing of Arnoldus Science Building in USC-TC in September 7. Construction of the Seminar-Retreat House also in the same campus. 
USC designated as Regional Science Teaching Center (RSTC) by the Department of Science and Technology (then National Science and Technology Authority).
1982 First computer enrolment in Cebu done in USC. 
Offering of Bachelor of Fine Arts majors in Interior Design and in Advertising Arts.
1983 USC receives Award for Outstanding Private Institution in Education, Culture, and the Arts category during the 46th Charter Day Anniversary of Cebu City.
1984 Opening of the College of Architecture and Fine Arts.
1985 USC receives Award for Most Outstanding Institution in Science and Technology in Region VII from the National Science and Technology Authority (NSTA).
1986 Offering of the Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering and the Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering.
1987 Awarding of Level II Accreditation Status to College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, College of Commerce, Teachers College, and the College of Engineering.
1988 Organization of College Parents Association in February 7.
1989 Establishment of USC Business Resource Center (BRC).
1990 Establishment of the USC Engineering-Industry Linkage Program in collaboration with the Philippine Productivity Movement-Cebu, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Philippine Council for Industry and Energy Research and Development (PCIERD). 
USC designated as member of the Philippine Council for Advanced Science and Technology Research and Development (PCASTRD) Network. 
Department of Mathematics is renamed Department of Mathematics and Computer Science. 
Inauguration of USC Community Extension Service Center in Miramar, Talisay. 
Maiden issue of UPDATE, a newsletter and supplement to the USC Graduate School Journal sees print.
1991 Reorganization of Department of English and National and International Languages in the College of Arts and Sciences into Department of Languages and Literature. 
Signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the University and the Philippine-German Project Industrial Pollution Control. 
USC chosen by the Department of Education Culture and Sports as one of the 17 Excellent Tertiary Schools in the Philippines. 
Signing with 18 other engineering schools of a Memorandum of Agreement with the Department of Science and Technology organizing its Engineering Manpower Development Program. 
USC designated as Node Tertiary Institution for the Network of Science and Technology - Oriented High Schools in Region VII
1992 Offering of Diploma Course in Teaching on the Tertiary Level at the Graduate School. 
Blessing and Inauguration of USC Water Laboratory Environmental Analysis Section. 
Sikap Gawa Industrial Peace Award in the field of Training and Research given to USC by the Bishops-Businessmen's Conference for Human Development. 
Signing of Memorandum of Agreement between USC and PAASCU for Engineering Consortium Project. 
Establishment of Center for Montessori Education at the Teachers College.
1993 Phasing out of two-year Bachelor of Arts General Curriculum.
USC designated one of the 12 Centers for Local Governance by the Philippine Business for Social Program under its Local Development Assistance Program.
1994 Offering of new majors in the Graduate School: Montessori Education; Physical Education; Environmental Science; Theater Arts; Speech and Drama; Research and Evaluation (doctoral) and Educational Management (doctoral). 
Offering of Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management; Associate in Hotel and Restaurant Management; and Certificate in Food Service at the Teachers College 
College of Nursing named as Resource Center for Primary Health Care for Visayas and Mindanao by the Philippine Center for Population and Development 
Establishment of Center for Network Management and Services 
Establishment of Institute of Planning and Design at the College of Architecture and Fine Arts
1995 USC is chosen as partner institution in the Joint Financing Programme administered by the Netherlands Organization for International Cooperation in Higher Education (Nuffic-MHO). USC celebrates Quadricentennial (USC 400). Blessing of USC Institute of Religious Studies.
1996 Signing of Memorandum of Agreement with University of the Philippines-Open University program and with Science Education Institute of DOST for USC to serve as Learning Center in Distance Education. 
College of Education accredited by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) as Center of Excellence (COE) for Teacher Education Consortium between USC Graduate School and Miriam College in the offering of MA in Values Development and MAEd in Environmental Education. 
USC designated as Training Center for CHED Massive Upgrading Program for General Education Instructors in Tertiary Institutions of Region VII for Chemistry, Physics, Natural Science, and Social Sciences. 
Offering of Natural Science as a new major under the MAST program and the Master of Science in Nursing. 
Creation of University Admissions Office. 
Completion of Maintenance and Calibration Workshop Building.
1997 Offering of new majors by the Graduate School: PhD Education major in Research and Evaluation; MA in Education major in Montessori Education; and MA in Education major in Special Education. 
Reactivation of PhD Anthropology curriculum. 
College of Nursing as a Resource Center given a HAMIS (Health and Management Information System) Bronze Award. 
Inauguration of the Science and Mathematics Education Institute (SMEI). 
Renaming of Teachers College as College of Education. 
Signing of Memorandum of Understanding for a Philippine Education Network with the University of Asia and the Pacific.
1998 Celebration of Bulawanong Pulong: USC Golden Jubilee as a university. 
USC as a Nodal Station for the CHED-administered Private Higher Education Institutions' Computerization Program. 
Offering of the MS in Environmental Science. 
USC named by CHED as Center of Development (COD) in Business Education, Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics and Marine Sciences. 
Construction of Civil and Chemical Engineering Laboratories, Hydraulic and Soil Laboratory Building, and Boiler of the Mechanical Engineering Department. 
Construction of the Arts and Sciences Building in USCTC.
1999 USC joins National Engineering Information System and Services (NEISS) of DOST. 
Implementation of CITE (Curriculum Initiative for Teacher Education), a CHED-mandated curriculum.
2000 Approval of the USC’s Indicative Plan for the Second Phase under the Joint Financing Programme administered by the Netherlands Organization for International Cooperation in Higher Education. 
Selection of USC as Zonal Research Center (ZRC) for Region VII, Group I in March.
2001 Model Centennial Law Library Award given to the Law Library by the Supreme Court of the Philippines during its centenary celebrations in June.
2002 USC College of Law forges faculty and student exchange program with the University of the Stockholm Law Department.
2003 Putting up of the first Smart Wireless Laboratory in the Visayas by Smart Wireless Communications, Inc., on the 3rd floor of the Bunzel Building at the USCTC in July 30 under the Smart Wireless Engineering Education Program (SWEEP).
2004 Formal closing ceremonies for the Nuffic-MHO program with USC held. 
Inauguration of the Health Sciences Building.
2005 Inauguration of the General Services and the College of Architecture and Fine Arts Building in USC-TC.


 
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