History of De La Salle University

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The history of De La Salle University dates back to 1911, when La Sallian Brothers established the De La Salle College in Paco, Manila, Philippines.

Early history[edit]

De La Salle College was established on June 15, 1911 by the Brothers of the Christian Schools opened their first school in the Philippines on Calle Nozaleda in Paco, Manila at the request of the then American Archbishop of Manila Jeremiah James Harty.[1][2] The first classes were conducted in Spanish for the first 125 boys of varying ages and grade levels. During the early years, the Brothers were allowed to offer the full primary and intermediate programs and a three-year commercial secondary school program. The Commercial High School Diploma was first conferred in 1915 to three graduates. In November 1917, the school was allowed to confer an Associate in Arts degree.

In 1921, due to the lack of space on the Nozaleda Campus in Paco, the Brothers made a decision move to in 2401 Taft Avenue in Malate, its present location. Br. Acisclus Michael FSC then secured a vacant space at the southernmost boundary of Manila. The Paco property was then sold on March 19, 1920 to Don Vicente Madrigal, wealthy shipping magnate. A groundbreaking ceremony was held in March 1920 on a purchased lot along Taft Avenue. More than a year later in September 1921, the students and teachers trooped on foot from Paco to a half-finished school designed by architect Tomás Mapúa.

Classes on the new Taft campus formally started on October 3, 1921, while the building was completed on December 15, 1924. In 1924, only 13 years after the Christian Brothers opened the doors of its new school to young boys, De La Salle College, was already recognized as one of the best private schools in the country by the Board of Educational Survey created by the Philippine Legislature then to make a study of education and all the educational institutions, facilities and agencies in the country.[citation needed]

In 1920, the school opened a two-year commercial course. The school's catalog for 1925 listed courses for an Associate in Arts, a two-year Commerce curriculum, and a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts although these last two degrees were never conferred before World War II. In 1930, the College was authorized to confer the degrees of Bachelor of Science in Education and Master of Science of Education. The last pre-war arts degree holders graduated in 1931. The Associate in Arts program was then discontinued because of the department's lack of staff. The Bachelor of Science in Commerce degree was first conferred in 1931 after a third year had been added to the initial two-year program.

World War II[edit]

During the Second World War, the Japanese forces in Manila forcibly took over the De La Salle College grounds and turned the campus into their South Manila defense quarters. Classes continued during the War starting in school year 1943–44 but the curriculum was severely reduced. Repeated bombings of the vicinity resulted in the total destruction of the college gymnasium, its library holdings, as well as laboratory equipment. On February 12, 1945, as American forces were making their way back to Manila and its environs, a small group of Japanese soldiers massacred 16 out of the 17 Brothers (all Europeans) residing in the Taft Campus, as well as several families who had taken refuge with them in the school chapel. Only one survived the massacre - Brother Antonius Von Jesus FSC despite being severely wounded by the Japanese soldiers. Brother Antonius was found by the American and Filipino forces who entered the La Salle campus a fews days after February 12. The then De La Salle College Brother President - Brother Egbert Xavier, FSC - an Irishman - was taken from the campus by the Japanese soldiers one day before February 12, 1945, never to be seen again.

The end of the war brought the imprisoned American De La Salle Brothers back home from the Japanese Los Baños concentration camp. They resumed classes in July 1945 in spite of lacking manpower and facilities; 1945 saw 60 boys graduating from high school at the end of the school year. Recognizing the role of education in reconstructing the Philippines, the Brothers expanded the Commerce curriculum into a four-year program.[3]

Post-war recovery and development[edit]

The post-war years saw the establishment of numerous undergraduate schools and units. In 1947, the undergraduate school of Engineering was established, followed by Arts and Sciences in 1953, Education in 1959, Industrial Technology in 1973, and Career Development in 1980. De La Salle's Graduate School of Business Administration was established in 1960, followed by Education in 1963. In 1979, the College of Industrial Technology was merged with the College of Engineering as an Engineering Technology Program. In 1981, the Center for Planning, Information, and Computer Science was organized prompting the initial offering of the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science program. Beginning school year 1984–1985, the Computer Science Program was spun off as a program under the College of Computer Studies. In 1982, the La Salle Teacher Training Center was put up to revive an earlier education program and in 1987, this center was elevated to the La Salle School of Education.

The events of the 1970s were crucial to the development of De La Salle as a social institution. The school was exclusively for boys until 1973 when it admitted female students. That same year, a blueprint called De La Salle Ten Years was published, projecting the planned improvements of the school from 1973 to 1983, and was updated yearly.[3]

Attaining university status[edit]

On February 19, 1975, De La Salle College was granted university status under the presidency of Brother H. Gabriel Connon FSC and became known as De La Salle University. Another milestone school year was 1981–1982, when the university adopted the year-round trimestral calendar for all units instead of the traditional semestral academic schedule. The trimestral system allows its students to graduate earlier than their counterparts in other schools that employ the semestral system.[3] In 1987, the then 5-campus De La Salle University System was organized under the term of Br. Andrew Gonzalez FSC composed of De La Salle University (Taft Avenue, Manila), De La Salle University-College of Saint Benilde (Taft Avenue, Manila), De La Salle Santiago Zobel School (Ayala Alabang Village,Muntinlupa City, Metro Manila), the 27-Hectare De La Salle University-Dasmarinas (Dasmarinas, Cavite) and the 8-Hectare De La Salle Health Sciences Institute (formerly known as De La Salle University - Health Sciences Campus; Dasmarinas, Cavite). Since then more Lasallian schools were added, most notably the traditionally all-boys La Salle Green Hills school (Ortigas Ave., Mandaluyong City), De La Salle Lipa (Lipa City, Batangas), De La Salle-Araneta University (Malabon City) and La Salle College Antipolo (Antipolo, Rizal). From 1987 up to 2008, the university officially became known as De La Salle University-Manila.

On March 28, 1994, the university had full Internet connection,[4] and was one of the first Philippine schools to be connected to the Internet.[5] The university then created its official website, dlsu.edu.ph in December of the same year.[4] In 1996, graduate and undergraduate students were given internet accounts,[4] and the university became the first Philippine educational institution online.[6] During school year 1995–1996, DLSU Professional Schools was established, comprising the College of Computer Studies and the Graduate School of Business. Both were granted semi-autonomous status, which allowed them certain freedom to come up with their own academic and hiring policies, pay scale, among other things. In 2002, the College of Computer Studies was reintegrated into the university.

Recent History[edit]

In July 2006, De La Salle-Professional Schools, Inc. separated from DLSU-Manila making it fully autonomous. In March 2007, the College of Computer Studies was recognized as Center of Excellence for Information Technology by the Commission on Higher Education. The College of Science's four departments, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Mathematics, were all reawarded with Centers of Excellence in the fields. In May 2007, as part of the reorganization included in the implementation of De La Salle Philippines, several administrative positions were renamed such as Chancellor from Executive Vice President. Some school facilities and buildings were renovated including the Gokongwei Hall, Br. Gabriel Connon Hall, and Sports Plaza.

Before 2007 ended, the Brothers of Christian Schools named Dr. Carmerlita Quebengco as a Lasallian Affiliate, the highest recognition bestowed by the De La Salle Brothers.[7] The Board of Trustees of the university also conferred to Dr. Carmelita Quebengco AFSC the Chancellor Emeritus status after serving the university for 12 years as Executive Vice President and one year as Chancellor. In December 2007 Br. Bernie Oca, President of De La Salle Professional Schools, announced the plan to reintegrate the Graduate School of Business.[8]


  1. ^ De La Salle University-Manila Student's Handbook: 2003-06. Manila: DLSU Press. 2003
  2. ^ Carlos Quirino. La Salle: 1911–1986. Filipinas Foundation, Inc. 1986.
  3. ^ a b c De La Salle University-Manila. (2002). Undergraduate catalog. Manila: DLSU Press.
  4. ^ a b c DLSU-Manila: ITC's Historical Background,dlsu.edu.ph Accessed September 5, 2006
  5. ^ DigitalFilipino.com RP Internet Facts, Accessed September 10, 2006
  6. ^ Philippine Internet Review:: BOOK OUTLINE, Philippine Internet Review Project Accessed September 5, 2006
  7. ^ Philippine Lasallian Family RP Internet Facts, Accessed January 28, 2008
  8. ^ Ang Pahayagang Plaridel. "Professional Schools, muling sasanib sa DLSU-M". December 18, 2007