Archives University

From the Archives: Five years a university

Five years ago, on February 19, 1975, De La Salle received the University charter from Dr. Juan L. Manuel, then Secretary of Education, changing its status from a college to that of a university.

This metamorphosis may have come as a surprise to some but to the majority, it was long overdue. De La Salle has always prided itself in being an exceptional college, recognized transnationally as an institution of quality. Indeed, with a School of Arts and Sciences and a faculty more illustrious and more knowledgeable than many of the six hundred other colleges in this country, professional schools in Education, Commerce, Engineering and Industrial Technology, an increasing number of programs for student and faculty development, and a highly systematic fund-raising program for capital development, the position of De La Salle College in Philippine society was far more than that of a college. 

A change in nomenclature then would only serve to affirm this position aside from enabling the institution to avail of benefits that being a university would provide. Foremost among these benefits would be the financial aid for the development of facilities and curricula that is given exclusively to universities. 

With these reasons in mind, Brother Andrew Gonzalez, FSC began documentation of De La Salle’s fulfillment of the prerequisites necessary for a Philippine University. In january 1975, De La Salle submitted the petition to the Department of Education and Culture. And on February 19, 1975, DLSC officially became a university.

By changing its status, De La Salle accepted all that the term “university” implied in the areas of research, graduate programs, and library volumes. The institution’s development also necessitated a changed physical environment. Ample space was needed for its estimated growth in student and personnel population. Accordingly, the administration sought to remove the graduate school from the Taft Avenue campus and relocate it in the new Alabang, far, far away from the concrete jungle of downtown Manila. 

Prior to the application of the charter, the College had undergone a structural reorganization, which converted it from a corporation sole, to a non-stock, non-profit corporation. This new corporation was now to be managed by a Board of Trustees only five of whom were Brothers, the rest laymen. In turning over the management of the College, the christian Brothers expressed their trust and confidence in the vision, integrity and commitment of their lay associates and their debt of gratitude to the loyalty of its students, past, present, and future. 

“We can all have a certain sense of pride and satisfaction that our institution ranks not only in fact but now also in name, as an institution of higher education. Now, more than ever, we must perform an an educational institution of quality, a university of excellence….Now that we are called De La Salle University, one of our top priorities is to stay a school of quality.” (H. Gabriel Connon, FSC, Inspiring the Christian Academic Community, 1978)

Maintaining the gilded edge of the Green and White is top priority even today. The success or failure of De La Salle as a university during these past five years can be evaluated according to how effecly it fulfills its role as an institution of higher education. 

Happy anniversary, DLSU.

Based on The Connon Years,

Andrew Gonzalez, FSC and

Andres T. Reyes, 1980

Arleen Ledesma

By Arleen Ledesma

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