Ateneo de Davao University and its History

Ateneo de Davao University and its History

Ateneo de Davao University (AdDU) runs by the Society of Jesus in Davao City. It is a private teaching, service, and research university. In 1948, the Jesuits in the Philippines opened the seventh Ateneo. The university has five undergraduate schools: School of Arts and Science, School of Business and Governance, School of Engineering and Architecture, School of Education and School of Nursing. The graduate programs are under these units as well. Within the university, the College of Law is a separate unit. And also, the university runs a grade school and high school.

Indeed, the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities granted “Institutional Accreditation” the university. Then, the Commission on Higher Education also granted the university for “Autonomous Status”.

History of Ateneo de Davao University

At the request of the Most Reverend Luis del Rosario, the Jesuit fathers took over St. Peter’s Parochial School and founded the Ateneo de Davao in 1948. The founding fathers were led by Fr. Theodore E. Daigler. He’s the first rector of the school. And also, the other founding Jesuits were Alfredo Paguia S.J., Grant Quinn S.J., Scholastics James Donelan S.J. and Rodolfo Malasmas S.J. On 20 May 1948, they considered Ateneo de Davao as a non-stock, non-profit, education institution.

When the Ateneo University formally opened on 28 June 1948, it offered grades V and VI and 1st to 3rd year high school. During that time, there were 71 elementary students and 131 high school students who started in a wooden building on a six-hectare lot in Matina.

The Jacinto campus (3.5 hectares) was acquired in 1951 with the support of the Most Rev. Clovis Thibault, P.M.E., Bishop-Prelate of Davao. The campus provided classrooms for high school students in the daytime and college courses in the evenings. College course offerings then were liberal arts, commerce, education, associate in arts, pre-law, secretarial and an elementary teacher’s certificate program. There were 130 male college students on the July 1951 start of the College Department, and they were housed in the wooden Bellarmine Hall. And then, in 1953, the Ateneo de Davao College became co- educational.


The Ateneo de Davao, particularly in Mindanao, aims to shape leaders for the Catholic Church in the Philippines and throughout the country. It actively encourages respect for cultural and religious diversity. Other values entertained are community development and defense of the environment.

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