Silliman University

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Silliman University

Silliman university logo2.png

Motto Via Veritas Vita

The Way, the Truth, the Life


August 28, 1901

Type Private
President Dr. Ben S.Malayang, III, Ph.D.
Location Dumaguete City, Oriental Negros , Philippines
Campus 620,000 m²

Silliman Song


Silliman University (SU, Silliman), is a private university located in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental, Philippines. Silliman was established in 1901 by American Presbyterian missionaries, making it the first Protestant and American private school to be founded in the Philippines.<ref name="NHI">"NHI Resolution No.7, Series 2002". National Historical Institute. Retrieved 2010-04-21.</ref> Considered as one of the top universities in the country, Silliman is one of the few private institutions in the Philippines that has been granted autonomy by the Commission on Higher Education. In a report issued by the same Commission, the university was ranked 4th in the country following three schools of the University of the Philippines.<ref name ="UPnumber1"> "UP is No.1 based on PRC exams". UP Newsletter, Vol. XXVIII, No. 09. September 01, 2007. Retrieved 2009-05-26: "UP Diliman (UPD), UP Los Baños (UPLB), and UP Manila (UPM) are the three top schools in the Philippines, according to a study conducted by the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC) and the Commission on Higher Education. Based on a survey of the average passing rates in all courses of all universities and colleges in the Board examinations, the three emerged as numbers one, two, and three, among the top 20 schools. The study is conducted every ten years.

Silliman is fourth; Ateneo de Davao, fifth; Ateneo de Manila, sixth; UST, seventh; Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT), eighth; Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, ninth; Saint Louis University (SLU), tenth. Rounding up the top 20 are the University of San Carlos, Xavier University, MSU-Main, Urios College, PUP, DLSU, Mapua Institute of Technology (MIT), Adamson University (AdU), Central Mindanao University, and the University of Southern Philippines."</ref>

Silliman currently has two campuses in Dumaguete, namely the Main Campus located along Hibbard Avenue, and the College of Agriculture and Marine Lab campus. It also has several off-campus facilities in Camp Lookout, Valencia and on Ticao Island, Masbate.



Silliman Hall is a landmark of Dumaguete City, and an example of American architecture found in many of the university's buildings.
The Silliman University church was originally founded in 1911. Construction of the present structure, however, was commenced only in 1941, and due to the interruptions brought by World War II, it was finished only in 1949.
The Dr. Luz Ausejo Hall of the College of Arts and Sciences
The College of Business Administration Building

Early Years: 1900s

Silliman University first began as an elementary school established by missionaries of the American Presbyterian Church on 29 August 1901. The school was named Silliman Institute after Horace B. Silliman, who persuaded the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions to establish the school and donated $10,000 for its founding. Led by David Sutherland Hibbard and his wife Laura, the school initially had only 15 students, all boys, having classes in a rented house by the sea.

Construction of a new school building started the following year, and in 1903, Silliman Hall was completed. It is now the oldest standing American-built structure in the Philippines, and is designated as a national landmark by the National Historical Institute.

The school started to offer a two-year classical AB course in 1909. By 1910, the school was incorporated under Philippine law and was given government recognition plus the right to grant a degree. Two years later women were allowed to enroll and the school admitted its first female student, Pura Blanco. The school also gradually introduced new departments, such as Agriculture, which started as part of biology classes in elementary pupils in 1913.

School Expansion: 1920s-1930s

In 1921 the Silliman Bible School (later the School of Divinity) was established, and in 1924 the first batch of students graduated from the Teacher Education Program, later the Department of Education. By 1925, the school was cited by the Monroe survey as one of the top institutions for higher education in the country.

The school created the Department of Engineering in 1932, which initially offered an undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering. The Silliman Conservatory of Music (later the School of Music) was founded in 1934. With Silliman's reincorporation in 1935, the College of Education and the College of Law were created. A year later, the College of Sciences and College of Liberal Arts were organized.

In 1938, Silliman became the first school to be granted university status outside of Manila, and in the same year, the College of Business Administration was established. The university continued to receive grants for land, buildings and equipment from various Protestant ministries based in America apart from the Presbyterian Board, including the American Board, the United Methodist Church and the United Christian Missionary Society of the Christian Churches or Disciples of Christ.

World War II

The university was forced to close as World War II broke out in the Pacific. In May 1942, Japanese forces took over the university and converted the campus into a garrison. Due to the occupation, many teachers and students evacuated to other towns within the province. Other faculty members, under the leadership of then University President Arthur Carson, continued university operations in the town of Malabo, Valencia, Negros Oriental. This came to be known as the “Jungle University,” considered one of the first community schools in the Philippines.

On April 26, 1945, Filipino and American forces liberated Dumaguete; the Faculty Emergency Committee returned to campus and were faced with the hard task of reconstruction and rehabilitation for the resumption of classes.

Postwar Era: Late 1940s - 1960s

Apart from reconstruction, several reorganizations of academic units also took place in the university. In 1947, the College of Sciences and College of Liberal Arts were merged into the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Nursing was created from the existing 4-year nursing program.

With the growing nationalist sentiment in the Philippines after World War II, Filipinos gradually took over the management of the university. In 1952, the Board of Trustees finally elected the university's first Filipino president, Silliman alumnus Leopoldo Ruiz, who took over the reins on April 1953. However, even long after Ruiz's appointment, Americans and other nationals still constituted a considerable portion of the faculty; and even at present American visiting professors are still regularly assigned in specialized areas.

It was also in the 1950s that the interdenominational United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia (UBCHEA) in New York assumed responsibility for channeling all church aid to Silliman. This linkage became useful as the university embarked on the “Build a Greater Silliman” program in the 1960s, in response to the need for more facilities caused by a growing student population. Many facilities on campus were constructed with the help of donors both local and foreign, among them the Luce Auditorium, the Silliman University Medical Center, and the Science and Engineering complexes.

Apart from infrastructure, the 1960s also saw other landmark developments in the school. One was the establishment of the Silliman Writers Workshop by Edilberto and Edith Tiempo in 1962. With the establishment of the College of Mass Communication in 1966, Silliman was the first school outside of Manila to offer a degree program in Journalism. The School of Music also became the School of Fine Arts and Music in 1969, with the addition of a new department.

Martial Law

With the declaration of Martial Law in 1972, Silliman became one of the first universities to be closed. On the morning of 23 September 1972, the university offices were raided and some faculty members and many students were rounded up by the Philippine Constabulary. Some of those rounded up were detained for months, and the university was one of the last to be re-opened. Despite the closure and the threats to their lives, students continued to meet and conduct activities in a basement room of the Silliman Church they named “The Catacombs.”

Amidst the chaos of the era, the Anthropology Museum opened in 1973 and the School of Agriculture was established in 1976. Also established in 1976 was the Silliman Medical Center, considered one of the best outside Manila and Cebu.

Post Martial Law: 1980s - Present

University operations largely went back to normal after the collapse of the Marcos regime. In 1988, the Silliman University Computer Center (SUCC) was established; it would become the College of Information Technology and Computer Sciences in 2001.

A few years later, in 2004, the Medical School was established; in 2007 the School of Public Affairs and Governance was established. Two new institutes were also established in 2009: the Institute of Rehabilitative Sciences and the Institute of Clinical Laboratory Sciences. Both were formerly under the College of Nursing.

Until today, the University continues to draw its support from the UBCHEA, as well as other income-generating projects such as the recently constructed Portal West commercial building leased to businesses catering to students.



To enroll in the University, applicants must first pass the Silliman University Admissions and Placement Examinations (SUAPE). Those who pass the exam will then be scheduled for an interview conducted by a panel composed of interviewers from Office of the Registrar and Admissions and the respective college dean or a representative.

Application forms are available on the official SU website, at the Office of the Registrar and Admissions, or at the off-campus testing centers.

Accreditations and Affiliations

Apart from the autonomous status granted by the CHED, academic programs of SU are accredited under the Association of Christian Schools, Colleges and Universities Accrediting Agency (ACSCU-AAI) and/or the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (PAASCU). Its theological programs, meanwhile, are accredited under the Association for Theological Education in Southeast Asia (ATESEA); the school is also a founding member of the Association of Christian Universities and Colleges in Asia (ACUCA).

Silliman also has a number of linkages with various universities overseas, such as student exchange programs with the International Christian University, Ferris University, and Shikoku Gakuin University all in Japan, as well as the Smithsonian Institution, the University of Washington both in the United States, and Hanyang University in South Korea.

Noted alumni and professors


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External Links



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