La Salle University – Ozamiz through the Decades
Tracing a History of Excellence
Since its founding over 8 decades ago and with the combined brilliance and dedication of the Jesuits, Recollects, Columban missionaries, and Christian Brothers, the University remains conscientious and at the forefront with its religious, historic role and rich heritage of scholarship in producing and educating excellent and service-oriented youth of Misamis Occidental, neighboring cities and towns and across the bay.
Growing with a Purpose
The University is rooted with the Catholic missionaries who established parishes in Northern Mindanao. Jesuit priests after their mission in Iligan, served the old town of Misamis, now Ozamiz City as their mission area in the early part of the 18th century. In 1789, the Recollect Fathers under Fr. Julian de Nuestra Señora del 2 Mayor took over the Misamis mission and established the parish of Immaculate Conception. Fr. Constancio Arsenio, a parish priest, opened a parochial school in 1884. It was called Immaculate Conception School. Classes were the Cartilla, the Misterio, the Tresagia and the Novena which were roughly equivalent to grade six subjects today.
With their finger on the pulse and an eye on the horizon, the Jesuits returned in 1919 to Misamis and replaced the Recollects. Fr. Gabriel Font, S.J. formally established an elementary school in 1929. Thirty pupils enrolled under two teachers, Mr. Juan Fuentes and his sister Cirila. The year 1929, therefore, marked the formal founding of Immaculate Conception School, though the actual government recognition for the elementary course came later in 1946.
Determined to reach their goal of educating the young, the priests of the Society of St. Columban took over the administration from the Jesuits in 1939. Fr. Peter Fallon became the first Director of the Immaculate Conception School and that year witnessed the first graduation of the elementary school.
At the invitation of Bishop James Hayes and the Columban Fathers, Columban Sister Mary Francis de Sales Hogan, Mary Teresa Devins and Mary Campion McCarthy arrived to administer the school in 1941. The sisters opened the high school department. However, classes had to be discontinued when World War II broke out. The old convent, then used as a school building, was converted into a Japanese headquarters. After the war, classes resumed with Sr. Teresa as the Directress. Enrollment increased, lay faculty members were added and more Columban Sister arrived. In 1948, the high school department held its first graduation; however, government recognition came only in 1950.
By June 1948, Mother Mary Theopane Fortune opened the college department with eighteen students. The school is then named Immaculate Conception College. In 1953, ICC received government recognitions for the following programs: Bachelor in Secondary Education, Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor in Food Technology, Bachelor of Science in Commerce, and one-year General Clerical Course. In 1955, the following programs were issued government recognition: Master of Arts in English and Bachelor in Elementary Education. Succeeding government recognitions followed: Pre-School in 1964, Master of Arts in Education in 1965, Associate in Computer Science (formerly Junior Secretarial Course) in 1971, Bachelor of Science in Social Work in 1976, and Bachelor of Science in Office Administration in 1983.
At the request of the Columban Sisters, Most Rev. Federico Escalers, S.J., D.D. becamed the President of Immaculate Conception College in 1987.
A Discerning Eye on Tomorrow
In 1990, the De La Salle Brothers agreed to assist in the academic supervision of the school with Brother Martin Simpson, FSC, as consultant. Bachelor of Science in Geodetic Engineering received government recognition in 1991. With the assistance of the Brothers, the school has been meeting and complying with the requirements of Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities since 1992.
From 1993 to 1994, Brother Martin Simpson, FSC was the President. Under his watch, Bachelor of Science in Accountancy received government recognition. On May 17, 1994, the school was formally turned over to the De La Salle Brothers and was named Immaculate Conception College – La Salle. Dr. Emma A. Villaseran was the Acting President up to March 31, 1995. On April 1, 1995, Dr. Villaseran became the first lay woman President of a Lasallian school.
During her term of office, the following programs were recognized by the government: Master in Business Administration, Master in Public Administration, Master of Arts in Teaching English, and Master of Arts in Teaching Filipino in 1995; and, Master in Education (formerly Master in Teaching) and Doctor of Philosophy in Education in 1996.
Br. Benildo Feliciano, FSC, who was the Chairman of the Board of Trustees at the time of turn-over, took over as President in 1997 up to 2003. The following programs received government recognition during his term: Bachelor of Science in Computer Science in 1997, Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering in March 2003.
Br. Narciso S. Erguiza, Jr., FSC was elected President in June 2003. On July 10, 2006, the college was conferred university status by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED). The name was changed from Immaculate Conception College – La Salle to La Salle University. Br. Jun became the first President of La Salle University during his fourth year in the office. The following programs received government recognition during his watch: Night High School and Hotel and Restaurant Management (TVET PROGRAMS) Certificate of TVET Program in 2005; Bachelor of Science in Information Technology, Bachelor of Science in Criminology, Bachelor of Science in Business 4 Administration, Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2007 and, Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and Bachelor of Science in Communications and Electronics Engineering in 2008
Br. Jaime M. Dalumpines, FSC, was installed President of La Salle University, Ozamiz City on May 15, 2010.
La Salle University enjoys a reputation of academic excellence as a PAASCU Level III accredited institution. Programs under the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Education and Commerce have enjoyed Level III accreditation since 2007 and have been re-surveyed and reaccredited in September 2013. Integrated School Basic Education programs are PAASCU Level II re-accredited until 2016.
With the University’s continued quest for excellence, other programs like the Civil Engineering, Computer Engineering and Computer Science enjoyed its Level I PAASCU accreditation. Moreover, Nursing, Hospitality Management/Hotel and Restaurant Management, Information Technology and Department of Criminal Justice Education are off for its formal PAASCU survey in 2016, April.
With a rich 86-year history in four traditions – Jesuits, Recollects, Columbans, and De La Salle, La Salle University stands proud of the thousands of alumni and alumnae who have assumed leadership roles in the church and community in Ozamiz City and in many parts of the country and the world.