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University of San Agustin - Iloilo

University of San Agustin

General Luna St., Iloilo City

OFFICIAL NAME: University of San Agustin


1890 May 13      Approval of the Order of Saint Augustine to establish a secondary school
                             (University of San Agustin formerly known as Colegio de San Agustin) in Iloilo.

1904 July 15       Foundation of the University of San Agustin – Iloilo
                              formerly known as Colegio de San Agustin. 

1953 March 1     Colegio de San Agustin was conferred with a “University”
                             status and known as the University of San Agustin – Iloilo.

CURRENT PRESIDENT: Rev. Fr. Frederick Comendador, OSA (2012 – 2016; 2016 – 2021; 2021 – 2024)

    Basic Education (USA Iloilo Sambag Campus)
        Junior High School

    College Degree Programs (USA Iloilo Main Campus)
        College of Health and Allied Medical Professions
               Bachelor of Science in Medical Laboratory Science
               Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy
               Bachelor of Science in Nursing
               Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics
               Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology

        College of Technology
               Bachelor of Science in Architecture
               Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering
               Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering
               Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering
               Bachelor of Science in Electronics Engineering
               Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering
               Bachelor of Fine Arts
               Bachelor of Science in Interior Design
               Bachelor of Landscape Architecture

        College of Commerce
               Bachelor of Science in Accountancy
               Bachelor of Science in Management Accounting
               Bachelor of Science in Business Administration
                   Financial Management
                   Marketing Management
               Bachelor of Science in Entrepreneurship
               Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management
               Bachelor of Science in Tourism Management
               Certificate of Culinary Arts

        College of Liberal Arts, Sciences, and Education
              Bachelor of Arts in Communication
              Bachelor of Arts in Literature
              Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy
              Bachelor of Arts in Political Science
              Bachelor of Science in Biology
              Bachelor of Science in Chemistry
              Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
              Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service
              Bachelor of Science in Information Technology
              Bachelor of Library and Information Science
              Bachelor of Science in Psychology
              Bachelor of Music in Music Education
              Bachelor of Music in Music Performance
              Bachelor of Elementary Education
              Bachelor of Physical Education
              Bachelor of Special Needs Education
                  Elementary School Teaching
                  Early Childhood Education

        College of Law
             Juris Doctor

    Graduate Studies
               Master in Business Administration
                   General Program 
                   Marketing Management
                   Financial Management
                   Human Resource Management
              Master in Public Administration
              Straight Bachelor’s Degree to Master in Business Management
                   Specialization in Financial Management
                   Specialization in Marketing Management

              Master of Arts in Education
                  Educational Management
                  Psychology and Guidance
                  Religious Education 
                  Special Education
                  Social Studies

             Doctor of Philosophy in Education
                  Curriculum Development
                  Educational Management
                  Psychology and Guidance



WEBSITE: https://usa.edu.ph/


2005 – 2008  – 
2008 – 2012  – 
2012 – 2016  – 
2016 – 2021     – 


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The plan of the Order of Saint Augustine to establish a school in Iloilo was conceived as early as the 1880’s. This vision was formalized in the Definitors’ meeting of April 21, 1890 when it was resolved “to grant the necessary steps to open two secondary schools; first in Iloilo, then in Vigan.”

Months later, permission was granted by both civil and religious authorities. On May 13, 1890, Fr. Manuel Diez Gonzalez, apostolic commissary, communicated the approval of the Order. This was followed by the respective approbations of the Bishop of Jaro, Msgr. Leandro Arrue, given on September 4, 1890, and that of the Government on October 3, 1890.

The Provincial Chapter held in Manila in 1893 appointed Fr. Manuel Gutierrez to take the lead in building the school which the latter initiated by purchasing a lot. But the cornerstone of the school was not laid until 1895 when Fr. Fernando Llorente, the famed architect of the beautiful Janiuay (Iloilo) cemetery, took over the construction project. Fr. Joaquin Diaz, after putting up the Oton church, subsequently finished Llorente’s work.

But the fruit of the magnanimous labors of the Augustinian builders was not used for its raison d’être. The American troops invaded Iloilo in 1899 and transformed the school building into a garrison. The structure was so heavily sabotaged that it had to undergo a major overhaul in the first months of 1904. 

On July 15, 1904, the school finally opened. It started as an exclusive school for boys, most of whom were internos or student-boarders. Its first students numbered around 300. Secondary education and a two-year course leading to Associate in Arts were the first offerings.

In July 1912, the pioneer Augustinian administrators, headed by the first rector, Fr. Bernabe Jimenez, incorporated the school with the University in a bid to seek government recognition for its courses. Such recognition was signed on December 2,. 1912. Eventually, the school became independent of the University of Santo Tomas and was legally incorporated as the Colegio de San Agustin de Iloilo on February 5, 1917.

In the subsequent years, the Augustinian community enhanced its efforts towards educational capability. The Fathers learned English and endeavored to adopt the language as a medium of instruction. Highly competent teachers were hired. The curricula were enriched. Laboratories were put up and equipped with modern apparatus. Books were acquired and facilities improved. The walls and the main gate stretching along General Luna Street was built. In 1931, the Colegio’s lot area was expanded by 2,810 square meters more.

In 1935, the College of Liberal Arts was opened with a two-year Preparatory Law course as its initial offering. This major feat was followed by the opening of more colleges, to wit: College of Commerce, 1936; College of Law, 1939. The opening of the College of Education in 1940 also marked the first time the Colegio admitted female students.

Adversely, these big developmental strides had to be put to a halt for a time because of the outbreak of the Second World War. The Japanese invaders ordered the closure of e schools, only to have them reopened (with strict censorship) in June 1943. The air raids and bombings in 1944 left the Colegio’s buildings in ruins, except the Urdaneta Hall.

With the declaration of independence in 1945, the Colegio eagerly braced itself for the reopening of classes. Students flocked to the Urdaneta Hall and to some improvised classrooms to resume their academic pursuits. 

Significantly, the havoc wrought by the Second World War only catapulted the Colegio to greater heights. For the post-war period was marked with the massive improvement of the Colegio’s physical plant and academic system.

In 1946, the Colleges of Pharmacy and Technology were opened. These were followed by the Normal School in 1948 and the Graduate School in 1950. Capping these developments was the grant of “University” status to the Colegio de San Agustin on March 1 1953, making the institution the first University in Western Visayas, and, to date, the only Augustinian university in the Asian-Pacific region. This important rise of the Colegio had been largely credited to Fr. Dolse Garcia who served as rector for two terms, 1939- 1946; and 1949-1954.

The higher status of the school made imperative its further expansion and academic progress. In 1953, the College of Dentistry was opened (later phased out), and B.S. in Chemistry was offered in the College of Technology. New courses, B.S. in Medical Technology and B.S. in Foods and Nutrition, were introduced in 1962. These academic innovations reached greater scale with the opening of the Conservatory of Music in 1968, the offering of Ph.D. in the Graduate School in the same year, the eventual opening of the USA College of Nursing in 1974 (which was originally a consortium between the University and the St. Paul’s College of Iloilo), and the introduction of more courses and fields of specializations. In the schoolyear of 1973-74, the College of Education and the Normal College were fused to become the present day Teachers College.

The growth in the institution’s student population which reached as high as almost 13,000 in the late 1970’s was responded with a corresponding improvement in infrastructure. Replacing the temporary structures and quonset huts put up after the Second World War were the Herrera Hall (Administration Bldg.), constructed in 1948; Mentrida Hall (Chapel-Library), 1954; Blanco Hall (Technology Building), 1954; Lopez Hall (Gymnasium), 1958; Rada Hall (Liberal Arts, Teachers College, Law, Graduate School), 1963; Gamboa Hall (High School), 1965; Aguirre Hall (Commerce), 1973; Mercado Hall (Rada Annex), 1974, and much later, Mendel Hall (Science Building), 1982. 

In a thrust to extend its services beyond its walls, the University inaugurated its own broadcast station, DYSA-Radio San Agustin, on October 30, 1965. Later, on December 6, 1980, adopting a comprehensive community service package for the poor, it launched the Tilipunan Community Development Program in Tanza, Iloilo City. 

When the University of San Agustin was eventually placed under the care of the Augustinian Province of Sto Nino de Cebu in 1984, it had already established a reputation for excellence. It has produced a number of topnotchers in government-regulated professional examinations, notably in pharmacy and medical technology, law, engineering, nursing and architecture. Its students have won national & regional acclaim in journalism, the arts, leadership, academics, sports and other fields. Its College of Liberal Arts was accredited by the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (PAASCU) as early as 1977, the first one of its kind to be accredited in Western Visayas. Its School of Law became the first accredited law school in the Philippines in 1979. The Teacher College and College of Commerce were given the same recognition in 1980, and 1983, respectively. 

But to the minds of the administrators under the new province, much had yet to be done. During the term (1983-1988) of Fr. Bernardino Ricafrente, the first rector to be addressed “President”, more developments were attained. The Office of the Campus Ministry was created. The Research and Development Center was established and efforts towards the production of scholarly works were intensified. The USA Graduate School put up extension campuses and the High School Department was given PAASCU accredita- tion. A University Five Year Development Plan was drafted. Moreover, the institutional sports prog- ram was strengthened.

In 1988, Fr. Mamerto Alfeche assumed the presidency of the University, becoming the first Ilonggo University head. Under his administration, more emphasis was given to academic pursuits. The necessary steps towards the accreditation of the Elementary Department and the College of Phar. Med. Tech. were taken. Manuals for personnel, human resources development, and students were printed for a more systematic implementation of policies. The USA Libraries’ resources were enriched through book donations from the University’s alumni and external agencies. There was also a remarkable development in the University physical plant. A new USA Book store was put up and the Medical Laboratory was extended. The construction of the USA Alumni Hall was started while the buildings in the campus were repainted and embellished. Spaces near Aguirre, Rada, Blanco and Urdaneta Halls were transformed into parks, provided with concrete benches and tables. 

At the beginning of school year 1992-93, Fr. Eusebio Berdon, fresh from his two-term stint as the first Prior Provincial of the Province of Santo Nino de Cebu, took his oath as the 18th University president. Under the new set of administrators, major innovations were put in. Among these were the offering of a two-year Junior Computer Secretarial course, the accreditation of the College of Pharmacy and Medical Technology and the Elementary Department, the adoption of the open shelves system in USA Libraries, the establishment of the Singapore-linked USA-ATS Computer-Aided Design/ Computer Aided Engineering Center and the Canada-funded USA Regional Center for Public Management. Offices were renovated and improved, and construction at the USA Extension site for the High School and Elementary departments was begun. The development plans of the previous administrators have been in- tegrated and improved.

In February 1994, the University of San Agustin began the year-long celebration of its 90th Year as “Beacon of Virtue and Science”, as the bastion of excellent Catholic education in the center of the Philippines. 

At present, The university held a ribbon-cutting ceremony as they opened their new learning facilities — Fray Luis De Leon Learning Commons and Atty. Henry T. Villegas Law Library on August 30, 2023.

Rev. Fr. Frederick C. Comendador, OSA, University President led the ceremony and blessing of the facilities. 

The expansion of new learning facilities were made in order to provide a larger and more conducive space for study and research, likewise, enriching the learning environment to foster creativity and explore knowledge through collaboration and discourse. Furthermore, these facilities also embrace technology and digital literacy which enable students and faculty to engage with information in a dynamic and interactive way.


* USA Diamond Jubilee Souvenir Program, The Augustinian Mirror, December 1979
* R. Morales Maza. The Augustinians in Panay. USA Research and Development Center, 1987.
* Souvenir Program (Inauguration of the Province of Sto. Niño de Cebu), January 1984.

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