University of San Agustin

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University of San Agustin

Seal of the University of San Agustin.

Motto Virtus et Scientia (Virtue and Science)


Type Augustinian/Roman Catholic
Endowment No available figures (USD)
President Rev. Manuel M. Vergara, OSA, Ph.D.
Staff Approximately 500
Undergraduates Approximately 10,000
Location Iloilo City, Iloilo, Philippines
Campus Urban, 20 acres
Mascot Eagle
Website University of San Agustin

The University of San Agustin is a private university in Iloilo City, Philippines.



Augustinian friars from Spain belonging to the Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus of the Philippines founded the University of San Agustin on July 15, 1904. They were assisted by their American confreres from the Augustinian U.S. Province of St. Thomas of Villanova. The motto of the privately-owned university is Virtus et Scientia, which derives its inspiration from the school's spiritual founder St. Augustine of Hippo, and other famous Augustinians across the centuries like Thomas of Villanova, Thomas à Kempis, Gregory of Rimini, Rita of Cascia, Nicholas of Tolentine, Fray Luis de Léon, Andrés de Urdaneta, Martin Luther, Martín de Rada, Manuel Blanco and Gregor Mendel.

The university began as a preparatory school for boys during the American colonial period. It was granted government recognition on December 12, 1912 for its various course offerings. On February 5, 1917, it was formally incorporated under the name Colegio de San Agustín de Iloilo. The 1930s saw rapid growth with the opening of three colleges in quick succession: College of Liberal Arts in 1935, College of Commerce in 1936 and College of Law in 1937. On the eve of the Second World War, the college admitted female students for the first time in 1940.

During the Second World War (1941-45), the college was temporarily shuttered as the Philippines fought a guerilla war against the Japanese. The war led to the destruction of all the buildings, except for Urdaneta Hall, which at present houses the university theatre and the College of Pharmacy and Medical Technology. With almost the entire college in ruins, some friars advocated closing the school altogether while others pushed for its immediate rehabilitation. It was eventually reopened in 1945, followed by a decade of expansion that ushered in both the College of Pharmacy and the College of Technology (1945), the Normal (Teacher's) College (1947), the Graduate School (1950), and the College of Dentistry (1953). The school was granted university status on March 1, 1953, a year before its 50th anniversary, making it the first university in Western Visayas.

The following year, Rev. Angel Dulanto, OSA arrived from Spain after completing his studies at Villanova University, an American sister school of San Agustin. As an impresario, he introduced the yearly velada, characterized by a weeklong festivity of artistic, religious, and cultural events. A zarzuela, staged by both professors and students, is the centerpiece of University Week from February 14-20.

In 1965 Rev. Nicanor Lana, OSA, Ph.D. became rector of the university. His term was marked by vast improvements in the school's infrastructure. The same year he started his term as rector, he inaugurated DySA, the official radio station of the university, to help expand the reach of the university through mass media. The University of San Agustín Press, known today as Libro Agustino, came a year later. In the months leading to the centenary of San Agustín in 2004, it issued one hundred book titles by Augustinian authors.

Poor enrollment forced the administrators to phase out the College of Dentistry in 1967. But a flowering of cultural and artistic activities on campus led to the founding of the famous Kawilihan Dancers, the USA Troubadours, and the Conservatory of Music. Rev. Santiago Ezcurra, OSA, a Spanish musician who studied music in Rome, was formally installed as its first dean. In 1969 the USA Clinical Laboratory was opened, followed a few years later by the introduction of the College of Nursing in 1974.

Patron Saint

St. Augustine of Hippo as pictured during the Renaissance

The university is named in honor of the 4th century saint, St. Augustine of Hippo. The Spanish Augustinians were the first Christian religious order to enter the Philippines and begin its conversion to Catholicism. Augustine was a key figure in the doctrinal development of Western Christianity and is often referred to as a "Doctor of the Church" by Roman Catholics. Two of his surviving works, namely "The Confessions" (his autobiography) and "The City of God", are regarded as Western classics and are still read by Christians around the world. Augustine is often considered to be one of the theological fountainheads of Reformation, because of his teaching on salvation and grace; Martin Luther himself also having been an Augustinian friar. Augustine was not a Biblical fundamentalist.

Other English speaking Augustinian Schools with the same patron include Colegio San Agustin-Makati, Colegio Sto. Niño-Cebu, Colegio San Agustin-Bacolod, Colegio San Agustin-Biñan, St. Augustine's College, Brookvale in Sydney, Australia, St. Augustine College Preparatory School, Richland, New Jersey; St. Augustine High School, San Diego, California; and Austin Preparatory School in Reading, Massachusetts - all three in the United States; and St Augustine College in Malta.

San Agustin today

The university's campus, situated in the very heart of the city on General Luna Street, has a modern gymnasium, an auditorium, several conference and seminar rooms, science, computer and speech laboratories, a museum, a bookstore, a library, an instructional media center, and tennis and badminton courts.

In 1984 the all-Filipino Augustinian Province of Santo Niño of Cebu was formed, separating from the mother Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus of the Philippines based in Madrid, and ownership of the university was handed over to the latest circumscription of the Augustinian Order. A succession of rectors was appointed, including Reverends Bernardino Ricafrente, Eusebio Berdon, Mamerto Alfeche, and Rodolfo Arreza. During Reverend Arreza's term, he pursued linkages with various universities abroad and focused on research development.

San Agustín promotes literature in the region through the Fray Luis de Léon Creative Writing Institute, sponsor of the annual national writers workshop of the same name. The workshop awards a number of writing fellowships to writers in English, Hiligaynon, and other Philippine languages. Its official student publication, The Augustinian Mirror, has won various journalism awards and has produced some of the Philippines' highly respected literary minds, notably Augustinian poet Gilbert Luis R. Centina III, OSA.

The university actively participates in community affairs and has various volunteer projects undertaken by its administration, faculty and other school personnel and students.

The university has a diverse student population, counting among its members, at one time or another, students from overseas like the United States, Canada, Iran, Thailand and other neighboring Asian countries.

Notable among the recent developments in the university was the establishment of various research and communication centers, namely:

Over the years, school enrollment has dramatically increased, resulting in the decision to move the high school department to a new campus in the suburbs of Sambag, Jaro in June 1995.

University seal

Symbols and meanings in San Agustin's seal:

  • The Golden Eagle represents the lofty intellect of St. Augustine as the soaring "Eagle of Hippo."
  • The Heart symbolizes love and charity -- the first rule of St. Augustine.
  • The Crosier and the Mitre represent the bishopric of St. Augustine.
  • The Book stands for the attributes lavished on St. Augustine as a profound and prolific writer and the greatest Doctor of the Church.
  • Tolle Lege, Tolle Lege (Take up and read) were the words heard from the void by St. Augustine, leading to his conversion to Catholicism in Milan in 387.
  • Colors: Red stands for courage and gold for victory over evil in this world.
  • Virtus et Scientia (Virtue and Science) is the traditional motto of the Augustinians, representing the two pillars of the Augustinian way of education.
  • University of San Agustin. These words are emblazoned in the seal to signify that the school is an institution of learning dedicated to the education of the youth in the Augustinian tradition.


San Agustin offers bachelor's, master's, doctoral and professional programs through the following academic units:

College of Arts and Sciences (1935)

  • Political Science (B.A.)
  • English (B.A.)
  • Philosophy (B.A.)
  • Public Administration (B.A.)

College of Commerce (1936)

  • Management Accounting (B.S.)
  • Entrepreneurship (B.S.)

College of Law (1937)

College of Pharmacy and Medical Technology (1945)

  • Medical Technology (B.S.)

College of Engineering and Architecture (1945)

  • Computer (B.S.)
  • Electronics and Communications (B.S.)

Teacher's College (1946)

  • Secondary education (B.S.)
  • Elementary Education (B.S.)
  • Nutrition and Dietetic (B.S.)
  • Certificate in Food Service Technology
  • Certificate in Pre-School Education
  • Hotel and Restaurant Management (H.R.M.)

Graduate School (1950)

  • Psychology and Guidance (Ph.D.)
  • Education (Ph.D.)
  • Education Management (Ph.D.)
  • Educational Management (M.A.)
  • Psychology and Guidance (M.A.)
  • Filipino, Religious Education (M.A.)
  • English (M.A.)
  • Social Science (M.A.)
  • Chemistry (M.A.)
  • Natural Science (M.A.)
  • Mathematics and Physics (M.A.)
  • Filipino (M.A.)
  • Literature (M.A.)
  • Public Administration (M.A.)
  • Business Administration (M.B.A.)
  • Economics (M.S.)
  • Psychology (Ph.D.)
  • Business Administration (Ph.D.)
  • Management in Human Resource Management (Ph.D.)
  • Psychology (M.A.)
  • Management in Human Resource Management (M.A.)
  • Nursing (M.A.)
  • Nursing (M.S.)
  • Medical Technology (M.S.)

Conservatory of Music (1967)

  • Associate in Music, major in voice
  • Associate in Music, major in piano
  • Music specialization for elementary and secondary teachers
  • Tutorial lessons in piano, voice, guitar, organ

College of Nursing (1974)

  • Nursing (BSN)

Elementary Department (1912)

  • Pre-K
  • Kindergarten
  • Primary grades
  • Elementary grades

Outstanding Augustinians of the century

To mark its centenary on July 15, 2004, San Agustin honored 100 former students as "Outstanding Alumni of the Century:"

Banking and finance

  • Mervyn G. Encanto
  • +Rodolfo M. Yap Sr.
  • Wilfredo S. Yapjoco


  • Filamie S. Aguillon
  • Jose C. Cantera
  • Jose D. Chan
  • Rogelio M. Florete
  • Jose U. Santos
  • Leonardo O. Tanlu
  • Monette T. Whitman

Community service

  • Julio S. Doran
  • Asuncion L. Faro
  • Carmen A. Flor
  • Rose G. Herico
  • Ruth T. Jarantilla
  • Dennis A. Jereza
  • Evelyn C. Jiz
  • Evelyn L. Kilayko
  • Asuncion D.C. Palacios
  • Wilfredo L. Segovia
  • Patricio Y. Tan
  • Romeo I. Villaluna Jr.

Culture and the arts

  • Beny F. Castillon
  • + Jose Ma. B. Contreras
  • Isidoro M. Cruz
  • Antipas P. Delotavo Jr.
  • Jose A. Dureza
  • Teresita Z. Hermano
  • + Esteban S. Javellana
  • Agustin T. Misola
  • Alice M. Sun-Cua
  • John Iremil E. Teodoro


  • Mamerto A. Alfeche, OSA
  • Teresita O. Aportadera
  • Anita D. Bellosillo
  • Celia A. Cabaluna
  • Felicisima T. Campos
  • + Josefa C. Castro
  • Ma. Lilia A. Gaduyon
  • Edna I. Gonzales
  • Enrique P. Grecia
  • Mary Ann S. Lopez
  • Nehema K. Misola
  • Lourdes C. Morones
  • Griselda C. Quintana
  • Luz L. Sabay
  • Tomas A. Sajo
  • Flora S. Salas

Government service

  • Daniel Antonio Gerardo S. Amular
  • Ricardo S. Arlanza
  • Jocelyn I. Bolante
  • Resurreccion Z. Borra
  • Cipriano P. Cabaluna, Jr.
  • Jessie J. Caberoy
  • Carlos B. Cajelo
  • +Wenceslao R. de la Paz
  • Fe G. Gayanilo
  • Carolina C. Griño-Aquino
  • Mario L. Guariña III
  • + Luis S. Hervas
  • Irene S. Panigbatan


  • Primo E. Esleyer


  • Ricardo Pio C. Castro Jr.
  • Ricardo T. Chu
  • Edgar G. Garvilles
  • + Ramon A. Gonzales
  • Raymundo Julio A. Olaguer
  • Cesar T. Tirol
  • Cirilo T. Tolosa
  • + Efrain B. Treñas
  • Evalyn G. Ursua
  • Carmelo A. Betita


  • Teresita L. Angtuaco
  • Plaridel C. Deza
  • Anita L. Jesena
  • + Telesforo M. Limbaga
  • Vicente V. Pido
  • Manuel J. Posecion
  • Vicente S. Salas
  • Francisco T. Tirol
  • Ramon G. Zarceno

Military service

  • Ernesto B. Canong
  • +Julian C. Chavez
  • Benjamin D. Pilota Jr.
  • Lyndon J. Sollesta

Religious service

  • Jose M. Gamboa
  • Julio X. Labayen, OCD
  • +Bernardino R. Ricafrente, OSA

Science and technology

  • Editha M. Ardiente
  • Nestor P. Ardiente
  • Nomi S. Lim
  • Mila P. Peñasales
  • Salvacion P. Ramos
  • Edmar E. Rosales
  • Constante P. Tagamolila
  • Zinnia P. Teruel


  • Nora E. Deslate
  • Rodolfo I. Fernández
  • Salvador T. Salas

Student services

  • Campus ministry
  • Guidance and counseling
  • Medical and dental clinics
  • Library/Instructional Media Center
  • Clinical laboratory
  • Review centers
  • USA Foodservice
  • Bookstore
  • Printing press
  • Auditorium and conference room
  • Sports facilities
  • Student center
  • Co-curricular activities
  • Publications
  • Student organizations

External links

Original Source

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