Ateneo de Manila University

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Ateneo de Manila University
Address Katipunan Avenue, Loyola Heights, Quezon City

The Ateneo de Manila University (also called Ateneo de Manila or simply "the Ateneo") is a private university run by the Society of Jesus in the Philippines. It began in 1859 as the Escuela Municipal de Manila in Intramuros, Manila, and was then a state-subsidized school. It became a private school during the American occupation of the Philippines, and has moved from Manila to its current location. It received its university charter in 1959.

The Ateneo offers programs in the elementary, secondary, undergraduate, and graduate levels. Its academic offerings cover various fields, including the Arts, Humanities, Business, Law, the Social Sciences, Theology, Information Technology, Medicine, Public Health, and Pure and Applied Sciences. Aside from teaching, the Ateneo de Manila also engages in extensive research and social outreach work.

The university seal is defined by two semi-circular ribbons. The crown (top) ribbon contains the school motto, "Lux in Domino", while the base (bottom) ribbon contains the school name, "Ateneo de Manila". These ribbons define a circular field on which rests the shield of Oñaz-Loyola: a combination of the arms of the paternal and maternal sides of the family of St. Ignatius.

The seal’s colors are blue, white, red, and gold. In traditional heraldry, white or silver (Argent) represents a commitment to peace and truth. Blue (Azure) represents fortitude and loyalty. Red (Gules) represents martyrdom, sacrifice, and strength. Gold (Or) represents nobility and generosity.

White and blue, Ateneo’s school colors, are also the colors of Mary. Red and gold are the colors of Spain, home of Ignatius and the Ateneo’s Jesuit founders. Together, these four tinctures mirror the tinctures of the Philippine flag, marking the Ateneo’s identity as a Filipino University.

The school’s icon is the blue eagle. The choice of the color blue is clearly based on the Ateneo's colors. The choice of an eagle holds iconic significance. It is a reference to the "high-flying" basketball team which would "sweep the fields away" as a dominating force. Furthermore, there was some mythological— even political—significance to the eagle as a symbol of power.



A Royal Decree was made in 1852 by Queen Isabella II of Spain. This decree ordered ten Spanish Jesuits to be sent on a mission to the Philippines mainly to do missionary work in Mindanao and Jolo. They arrived in Manila on 14 April 1859.

With the Jesuits' reputation for educating the Filipinos on their last visit, the “Ayuntamiento” or city council requested the Governor-General to found and finance a Jesuit school using the public funds. On 1 October 1859, “Escuela Municipal”, a small private school, opened by order of the Governor-General had its first 30 students, children of Spanish residents. Ten Spanish Jesuit priests and a Jesuit brother began operating the school on 10 December 1859. The Ateneo de Manila University considers this date its foundation day.

Partly subsidized by the Ayuntamiento, the Escuela was the only primary school in Manila at the time. The Escuela eventually changed its name to Ateneo Municipal de Manila in 1865, when it became accredited as an institution of secondary education. It began by offering a bachelor's degree, as well as courses leading to certificates in agriculture, surveying, and business.

After Americans occupied the Philippines in the early 1900s, the Ateneo de Manila lost its government subsidy from the city and became a private institution. The Jesuits removed the word Municipal from the school’s official name soon after, and it has since been known as the Ateneo de Manila.

In 1908, the American colonial government recognized the Ateneo de Manila's college status and licensed its offerings of a bachelor’s degree and certificates in various disciplines, including electrical engineering. The Ateneo campus also housed other Jesuit institutions of research and learning, such as the Manila Observatory and the San Jose Major Seminary.

The American Jesuits took over the Ateneo administration in 1912. Fr. Richard O’Brien led the relocation of the school after the fire destroyed the Intramuros campus. The campus was transferred to its new location in the grounds of the San Jose Major Seminary in Padre Faura, Ermita in 1932.

World War II has brought destruction to the Ateneo campus. Salvaged ironwork and statues from the ruins were incorporated to various existing buildings such as the Ateneo monograms on the gates of the Loyola Heights campus, the iron grillwork on the ground floor of Xavier Hall, and the statue of the Immaculate Conception displayed at the University Archives.

But even if the Ateneo campus was destroyed, the university survived. Following the American liberation, the Ateneo de Manila reopened temporarily in Plaza Guipit in Sampaloc, Manila. The Padre Faura campus reopened in 1946 with Quonset huts serving as buildings among the campus ruins.

In 1952, Fr. William F. Masterson S.J., moved most of the Ateneo units to its present Loyola Heights campus. The Padre Faura campus continued to house the professional schools until 1976.

In 1973, Jesuit Superior General Fr. Pedro Arrupe called for Jesuit schools to educate for justice and to form "men and women for others." In that same year, the Ateneo opened its doors to its first female students.

The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences moved to Loyola Heights in 1976, and the Padre Faura campus finally closed in 1977 as the Graduate School of Business and the School of Law moved to H.V. de la Costa St. in Salcedo Village, Makati.

In February 1978, the Ateneo opened the Ateneo-Univac Computer Technology Center, one of the country’s pioneering computer centers. This later became the Ateneo Computer Technology Center. The Ateneo also joined the University Athletics Association of the Philippines.

In 1996 the Ateneo relaunched the Ateneo Computer Technology Center as the Ateneo Information Technology Institute and established the Ateneo School of Government. In 1998, the Ateneo’s Rockwell campus, which currently houses the Ateneo Graduate School of Business, the Ateneo School of Law, and the Ateneo School of Government, was completed in Rockwell Center in Bel-Air, Makati. The Science Education Complex was completed in the Loyola Heights campus.

In 2000, the School of Arts and Sciences which comprised the College and the Graduate School restructured into four Loyola Schools: the School of Humanities, the John Gokongwei School of Management, the School of Science and Engineering, and the School of Social Sciences. The Moro Lorenzo Sports Complex was completed in the Loyola Heights campus to bolster the sports program.

In April 2002, the office of the University President established Pathways to Higher Education-Philippines, one of the university's outreach initiatives, with the help of the Ford and Synergeia Foundations. On July 31, the feast of St. Ignatius, the University Church of the Gesù was completed in the Loyola Heights campus, and was consecrated by Jaime Cardinal Sin.

The Ateneo earned the highest possible accreditation status, Level IV, from the Federation of Accrediting Agencies of the Philippines and the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (PAASCU). That same year, the Ateneo de Manila celebrated its 145th anniversary, and the 145th anniversary of the return of Jesuit education in the Philippines. It also launched the countdown to its sesquicentennial in 2009.

Midway through 2006, the Manuel V Pangilinan Center for Student Leadership was completed. The University also began ground-breaking for the development of several projects: the Ricardo Leong Hall, which will house several units of the Loyola Schools' School of Social Sciences and the Confucius Institute for Chinese Studies, as well as the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health facility in Ortigas. In December, the Ateneo also launched AGAP-Bikol in cooperation with other Jesuit-affiliated and civil society groups, in response to the devastation wrought by typhoons in the Bicol area.

Programs and Services

University Units

The Ateneo de Manila University is composed of school units and auxiliary units. Affiliated units contribute to the work of the different school and auxiliary units, facilitating the work of learning, teaching, research, and social involvement. Individual units enjoy a considerable amount of autonomy from the central administration.

Professional Schools

The Ateneo Professional Schools (APS) is the main professional education division of Ateneo de Manila. Listed below are the programs that the university offers for both bachelor and masters degrees.

  • AGSB-BAP Institute of Banking
  • Ateneo Graduate School of Business
  • Ateneo Information Technology Institute
  • Ateneo School of Government
  • Ateneo School of Law
  • Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health
  • Center for Continuing Education

Loyola Schools

The Loyola Schools offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the arts and sciences. It is composed of four colleges, the School of Humanities, the John Gokongwei School of Management, the School of Science and Engineering, and the School of Social Sciences.

High school

The Ateneo de Manila High School is a Catholic preparatory school for male students.

The High School is known for its religious formations programs which include the Christian Service and Involvement Program (CSIP), Tulong Dunong programs, recollections and retreats. The campus is also known for its various facilities such as a library, the Instructional Technology, a large athletics complex, and the Center for Math, Science and Technology.

Grade school

The Ateneo de Manila Grade School is an elementary school for boys with a current average population of 4000 students. Its facilities and classrooms cater to students from the preparatory level to the seventh grade.

Auxiliary units and Research Centers

  • Ateneo Center for Asian Studies
  • Ateneo Center for Economic Research and Development
  • Ateneo Center for Educational Development
  • Ateneo Center for English Language Training
  • Ateneo Center for Organization Research and Development
  • Ateneo Center for Psychological and Educational Assessment
  • Ateneo Center for Social Policy and Public Affairs
  • Ateneo Information Design Studio
  • Ateneo Institute of Literary Arts and Practices
  • Java Wireless Competency Center
  • Ateneo Language Learning Center
  • Ateneo Macroeconomic Research Unit
  • Ateneo-PLDT Advanced Network Testbed
  • Ateneo Research Network for Development
  • Ateneo Teacher Center
  • Ateneo de Manila University Press
  • Ateneo Wellness Center
  • Center for Communication Research and Technology
  • Center for Community Services
  • Governor Jose B. Fernandez Ethics Center for Business and Public Service
  • Institute of Philippine Culture
  • John Gokongwei School of Management Business Accelerator (SOMBA)
  • John Gokongwei School of Management Business Resource Center
  • Konrad Adenauer Asian Center for Journalism (ACFJ)
  • National Chemistry Instrumentation Center
  • Ninoy and Cory Aquino Center for Leadership
  • Pathways to Higher Education-Philippines
  • Philippines-Australia Studies Network
  • Ricardo Leong Center for Chinese Studies

International Programs

The growing international linkage of Ateneo with universities, institutions and organizations throughout the world has paved a way towards opening better opportunities to enhance the knowledge and skills of both faculty and students. Research conducted abroad has also brought improvements towards the growing knowledge of the world.

International cooperation also includes active student exchange through Philippine immersion programs for a month or two for small groups of 15-18 students or full study programs wherein students from partner institutions abroad take regular courses.

The Loyola Schools also offers students an opportunity to study abroad under a student exchange program during their undergraduate or graduate years. Students engage in either semestral or yearly study or exchange programs in partner universities abroad. Students of the John Gokongwei School of Management, the School of Science & Engineering and the Fine Arts Program of the School of Humanities can also sign up for the Junior Term Abroad program, wherein they will spend a semester in one of the Ateneo's partner schools for undergraduate business studies.

Admissions and financial aid

Individual schools such as the Loyola Schools, the Ateneo Professional Schools, and the Ateneo Grade School and High School handle their own admissions. Admission into one unit does not guarantee admission into another unit.

The university also extends financial aid to students. Scholarships are available in all academic units, with funding coming from the university, third parties, and donations made by alumni, the government, and the private sector. The Loyola Schools offer Merit Scholarships for the top scorers in the Ateneo College Entrance Test (ACET), and the San Ignacio Merit Scholarships are given to top ACET takers from public high schools. Applicants who belong to the top 2% of ACET takers are included in the Ateneo Freshman Director's List. However, they do not receive a tuition and fees scholarship.


  • It is one of the only two universities in the Philippines to receive the Level IV accreditation--the highest possible level--from the Federation of Accrediting Agencies of the Philippines and the PAASCU. It received its Level IV accreditation on June 2004.


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