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 when the City of Manila handed control of the Escuela Municipal de Manila in Intramuros, Manila to the Jesuits. It 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.
Its main campus in Loyola Heights, Quezon City, Metro Manila is home to the university's college and graduate school units, as well as its high school and grade school. Two other campuses, in Rockwell Center and Salcedo Village, both in Makati City, house the university's professional schools of business, law, and government. A fourth facility in the Don Eugenio López, Sr. Medical Complex in Ortigas Center, Pasig City houses its school of medicine and public health.
The Ateneo offers programs in the elementary, secondary, undergraduate, and graduate levels. Its academic offerings include the Arts, Humanities, Business, Law, the Social Sciences, Philosophy, Theology, Medicine and Public Health, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science and Information Technology, Engineering, Environmental Science, and Government. Aside from teaching, the Ateneo de Manila also engages in research and social outreach.
It is one of only two universities in the Philippines to receive Level IV accreditation--the highest possible level--from the Commission on Higher Education through the Federation of Accrediting Agencies of the Philippines and the PAASCU. It received its Level IV accreditation in June 2004. Its high school has been granted Level III accreditation, the highest in the country for basic education.
Among the Ateneo's alumni are José Rizal, the National Hero of the Philippines, several leaders of the propaganda movement during Philippine Revolution against Spain and the Philippine-American War, politicians, political activists, professionals, businessmen, writers, scientists, educators, and artists.
The University's patron saint is Ignatius of Loyola, while Maria Purissima is its patroness, as is evident the pontifical name "University of the Immaculate Conception". The patron saint of its law school is Thomas More, the high school has Stanislaus Kostka as its patron, and the grade school the Holy Guardian Angels as its patrons.
The founding of the Ateneo de Manila University finds its roots in the history of the Society of Jesus as a teaching order in the Philippines. The first Spanish Jesuits arrived in the Philippines in 1581 as missionaries. They were custodians of the ratio studiorum, the Jesuit system of education developed around 1559. Within a decade of their arrival, the Society, through Fr. Antonio Sedeño, founded the Colegio de Manila (often referred to as the Colegio de San Ignacio or Colegio Máximo de San Ignacio in historical textbooks) in Intramuros in 1590. The Colegio formally opened in 1595, and was the first school in the Philippines.
In 1621, the Colegio de Manila was authorized to confer university degrees in theology and arts by virtue of the privileges conferred by Pope Gregory XV on colleges of the Society of Jesus. In 1623, Philip IV of Spain confirmed the authorization, while in 1732, Philip V of Spain founded two regius (royal) professorships in the Colegio, one in canon and another in civil law, making the school both a pontifical and a royal institution. The institution was frequently referred to in contemporary documents as the Universidad Máximo de San Ignacio, the first royal and pontifical university in the Philippines and in Asia.
However, by the mid-18th century, Catholic colonial powers, notably France, Portugal, and Spain, had grown hostile to the Society of Jesus because the Jesuits actively educated and empowered colonized people. The Society was particularly notorious for encouraging indigenous people to seek self-governance. Because of this, the colonial powers eventually expelled the Society, often quite brutally, from their realms.
In 1768, the Jesuits surrendered the San Ignacio to Spanish civil authorities following their suppression and expulsion from Spain and the rest of the Spanish realm, including the Philippines. Under pressure from Catholic royalty, Pope Clement XIV formally declared the dissolution of the Society of Jesus in 1773. Pope Pius VII reinstated the Society in 1814, after almost seven decades of persecution and over four decades of formal suppression. However, the Jesuits would not return to the Philippines until 1859, almost a century after their expulsion.
Through an 1852 Royal Decree from Queen Isabella II, ten Spanish Jesuits arrived in Manila on 14 April 1859, nearly a century after the Jesuits left the Philippines. This Jesuit mission was sent mainly to do missionary work in Mindanao and Jolo. Because of the Jesuits' entrenched reputation as educators among Manila’s leaders, on August 5 the Ayuntamiento or city council requested the Governor-General to found and finance a Jesuit school using public funds. On 1 October 1859, the Governor-General authorized the Jesuits to take over the Escuela Municipal de Manila, a small private school maintained for some 30 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 the bachillerato or bachelor's degree, as well as courses leading to certificates in agriculture, surveying, and business. Jose Rizal, who would later be named National Hero of the Philippines, enrolled for his secondary studies in 1872, and went on to graduate in 1877 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He continued studying at the Ateneo for a license in land surveying.
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 offering the bachelor’s degee 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.
Website: Ateneo de Manila University