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Ateneo de Zamboanga University

Ateneo de Zamboanga University
Pamantasang Ateneo de Zamboanga
File:Ateneo de Zamboanga University logo.jpg
The Jesuit University in the Zamboanga Peninsula, Philippines
Latin: Universitas Athenaea Zamboangensis
Former names
Escuela Catolica (1912)
Ateneo Elementary School (1916)
Ateneo de Zamboanga (1928)
Motto Pro Deo et Patria (Latin)
Motto in English
In the Service of God and Country
Established 1912
Type Private, Research University
Affiliation Roman Catholic (Jesuit)
Chairman Efren Y. Wee, Ph.D.
President Fr. Karel S. San Juan, S.J.
Vice-president Rebecca V. Fernandez, Ph.D.
Principal Fr. Stephen T. Abuan, S.J.
(High School)
Pilar C. Agraviador
(Grade School)

Zamboanga City, 23x15px Philippines
6°52′0″N 122°4′0″E / 6.86667°N 122.06667°E / 6.86667; 122.06667Coordinates: 6°52′0″N 122°4′0″E / 6.86667°N 122.06667°E / 6.86667; 122.06667{{#coordinates: 6|52|0|N|122|4|0|E|region:PH |primary |name=

Campus Main campus - 4.3 ha. in La Purisima St. Barangay Zone III (Grade school, Undergraduate, Graduate and Professional schools)
Kreutz campus - 8.3-ha. in Barangay Tumaga named after Fr. William H. Kreutz, S.J. (High School)
Alma Mater Song "Animo Ateneo"
Colors Blue      and      White
Sports varsity sports teams
- men's college
- women's college
- 10 boys' high school
- 10 girls' high school
Nickname Template:If empty
Mascot Eagle

The Ateneo de Zamboanga University is a Catholic and Jesuit university in Western Mindanao. It is also known by the acronym AdZU. Founded by the Society of Jesus in 1912, it is the second oldest Jesuit school in the Philippines. It initially offered primary and secondary education for boys. It became a college in 1952, and a university in August 2001. The Ateneo de Zamboanga began in 1912 as Escuela Catolica, a parochial school ran by Spanish Jesuits.[1]

AdZU operates two campuses. The main campus (4.3 hectares) in La Purisima Street houses the undergraduate/graduate units and the Grade School, while the new campus ( 8.3 hectares) in Barangay Tumaga which is outside Zamboanga City proper is home to the High School unit.


From its beginnings as a parochial school in 1912 to its recognition as a Jesuit university, Ateneo de Zamboanga celebrated its Centennial in 2012.

Pre-war Ateneo

The Ateneo de Zamboanga University began in 1912 as Escuela Catolica, a parochial school run by Spanish Jesuits at the old site of the Immaculate Conception Church right across the Sunken Garden. Fr. Manuel M. Sauras, S.J. was the first Director and served in that capacity up to 1926. Escuela Catolica served as the parochial school of the Immaculada Concepcion Parish headed by Fr. Miguel Saderra Mata, S.J.. Classes were held on the ground floor of the rectory of the parish, which was adjacent to Plaza Pershing. While the curriculum was similar to that of the public elementary school, the Spanish Jesuits emphasized religious teaching alongside quality education. Catholic education later on became a factor in the decision of the Jesuits to open a school that was empowered to issue the titulo oficial upon completion of studies.

In 1916, the Escuela Catolica expanded and became the Ateneo Elementary School. Its Grade School opened that year with seven grades. The school name was changed to Ateneo de Zamboanga when its High School opened in 1928. High school classes were held on the top floor of the three-story Ateneo building along I. Magno corners P. Reyes and Urdaneta streets. The building used to be the Mindanao Theater, now the site of the City Theater. Five lay teachers and the Jesuit Director made up the faculty. The elementary school occupied the lower floors. The first high school students graduated from Ateneo in 1932. The ten young male graduates belonged to Zamboanga City’s crème de la crème, one of whom was Roseller T. Lim who would become the first Zamboangueño senator of the Philippines.

The American Jesuits took over from the Spanish Jesuits in 1930, with Fr. Thomas J. Murray, S.J. as the first American Director. In 1932, the government gave official recognition to the High School.

In 1938, AdeZ opened night classes in commerce and pre-law, thus pioneering its expansion to college only to be later interrupted by World War II. Pre-war Ateneo expanded with an enrolment of 230 in the Grade School and 376 in the High School under Fr. Eusebio G. Salvador, S.J. A Zamboangueño and himself a product of Escuela Catolica, Fr. Salvador was the first Filipino director of AdeZ. In 1938, a library was built on the first floor of the K of C Building. A façade, an auditorium, and an annex were also built. Fr. John Shinn S.J. was appointed headmaster of the Grade School and Fr. Francis X. Clark, S.J. became the principal and dean of discipline of the High School Department. The school was closed during World War II. It was used by the Japanese as a public school until it was shelled and bombed by American forces on March 8 and 9 in 1945, prior to the liberation of the city.

Post-war Ateneo

The high school and intermediate classes (grades 5 and 6) reopened in 1946, in a nipa-sawali building on a new site outside of the poblacion called the Jardin de Chino near Camino Nuevo. It was providential that shortly before the outbreak of the war, Fr. Eusebio G. Salvador, S.J. had bought 18 adjoining lots in Jardin de Chino on Bailen Street (now La Purisima Street). In 1947, he bought an additional 1.5 hectares along Camino Nuevo St. adjoining the Bailen St. property to bring to a total of 4.3 hectares the La Purisima campus. Together with Frs. Kyran B. Egan and Cesar E. Maravilla, he reopened high school classes.

In 1949, Ateneo became independent of the Jesuit mission in Zamboanga, separating itself from the Immaculate Conception Cathedral. The school was officially recognized as a Jesuit school apart from the parish.

The post liberation years were a period of rapid physical, curricular and enrollment expansion of the school. By 1949, AdZ underwent a major make-over. A solid structure of fine wood replaced the nipa-and-sawali class rooms. The gymnasium-auditorium (now Brebeuf Gymnasium) was constructed in 1950, making it the oldest existing structure on campus today. A college was established in 1952 and a graduate school in 1976.

In the years between 1946 and 1952, a total of 2,766 students graduated from high school. The college opened in 1952 with a two-year collegiate program, which offered pre-law courses and a degree in Associate in Arts. The college gradually expanded to include four-year bachelor’s programs in the arts, commerce, education and nursing. In 1956, the college and high school became separate departments.

AdZ experienced a “building boom” in the period covering the late 1950s to the 60s. The year 1959 saw the completion of the Jesuit Residence, the Sacred Heart Chapel in 1961, Gonzaga Hall in 1964, and Canisius Hall in 1967.

In 1972, the two one-storey grade school buildings, Berchmans and Kostka Halls, were built. By mid-70s, basic education was well established with an unprecedented enrolment of 381 students in the Grade School. In 1976, higher education expanded to include Graduate School which opened an MBA course, the first graduate program in business administration in Region IX. Soon after, other master’s degrees followed: public administration, nursing, guidance and counselling, and education. These programs were offered under the guidance of Fr. Ernesto A. Carretero, S.J., the first President elected by the Board of Trustees of AdZ.

In the years that followed, more changes and developments took place. The Campion Hall and the Bellarmine Hall were built in 1979 and 1980, respectively. The Fr. Jose Ma. Rosauro S.J. Center was finished in 1986. The Learning Resource Center was inaugurated in 1987 to accommodate the library, book center, audio-visual unit, and various offices. Fr. Carretero, S.J. pushed for the PAASCU accreditation of the high school in 1975, the liberal arts and commerce in 1981, and education, nursing and the grade school in 1982. AdZ attained Level III in the accreditation of these colleges, the highest rank given to tertiary schools in the Philippines at that time.

In 1984, girls were accepted for the first time in the grade school. Twenty-two girls were part of the grade six graduating class in 1992. They became the first batch of girls to study at the Ateneo High School in 1992.

Ateneo in recent times

The 1980s saw the school work toward acquiring university status under the initial efforts of Fr. Carretero, S.J.. Fr. William H. Kreutz, S.J., took over the leadership in the quest for a university status when he was elected president in 1989. By this time, and well into the mid-90s, the school had given birth to other academic undergraduate programs, including major degrees in accountancy, arts and sciences, business management and computer science.

In 1994, a group of Zamboanga-based doctors entered into a consortium with the Ateneo de Zamboanga under Fr. Kreutz’s presidency to establish a medical school named Zamboanga Medical School Foundation (ZMSF). It was located in the La Purisima campus. In 2004, ZMSF was turned over to Ateneo. The medical school became an organic unit of the University and became the Ateneo de Zamboanga University School of Medicine. With partnerships with the University of Calgary, Laos, Nepal and Cambodia, the School of Medicine utilizes the problem-based learning and community-based approach to medical practice with emphasis on serving communities in Western Mindanao.

On August 20, 2001, AdeZ was officially declared a university by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED). On the same year, it was also granted an autonomous status by CHED, making Ateneo de Zamboanga University (AdZU) one of only thirty higher education institutions in the Philippines, and the only one in Western Mindanao, to be granted full deregulation and autonomy. The new College building and the Multi-Purpose Covered Courts were inaugurated in 2001.

In July 31, 2005 a groundbreaking rites for the new high school site was held. This is located in Savanah, Tumaga, Zamboanga City. Toward the end of Fr. Kreutz’s 18-year presidency, saw the completion of the new campus in Tumaga which was later named Fr. William H. Kreutz, S.J. campus. The High School was transferred to this new site in 2006 for school year 2006 – 2007.

In October 11, 2006, Fr. Antonio F. Moreno, S.J. was elected as the second president of the University replacing Fr. William H. Kreutz, S.J.. He assumed office on May 21, 2007 and was officially installed the second President of AdZU on September 22, 2007.

Meanwhile, AdZU and Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan launched the Xavier University College of Law – Zamboanga on 25 June 2011. The College of Law is located in the newly completed four-storey building named in honor of Fr. Manuel Ma. Sauras, S.J. Sauras Hall is also home to the new University cafeteria.[citation needed]

The school Sacred Heart chapel, built in 1961, was replaced after 50 years by a new Spanish colonial-times inspired University Church of the Sacred Heart in time for the celebration of the University's centennial.

Ateneo today and beyond

Ateneo has a new president replacing Fr. Antonio F. Moreno, S.J. On February 23, 2013, the University Board of Trustees elected Fr. Karel S. San Juan, S.J. as the third president of the University. He assumed office on October 8, 2013 taking over from Fr. Wilfredo M. Samson, S.J. who was designated officer-in charge in his absence. Fr. San Juan's assumption of office was delayed as he was finishing his tertianship (the final formal formation of Jesuits) when his election was announced.

Future plans include the transfer of the Grade School to the Tumaga campus. In preparation for this transfer, the construction of several facilities in the new campus such as the Grade School classrooms, an auditorium, an amphitheater, a chapel (the current chapel is housed inside the High Building) and sports facilities will be started soon.[2][3] The groundbreakings rites for the construction of a new grade school building at the Tumaga campus was held on July 30, 2013.


On September 2014, the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (PAASCU) granted institutional accreditation to Ateneo de Zamboanga.

After receiving a five-year Level III Accreditation for the Arts and Sciences, Education, Business and Accountancy, and Nursing programs last May 2014, AdZU submitted itself for an institutional accreditation, an evaluation process that looks at the overall quality of the school, college or institution.

University seal

The Ateneo de Zamboanga University seal reflects the mission of the school.

Surrounding the upper half of the seal is the school motto: "PRO DEO ET PATRIA"—IN THE SERVICE OF GOD AND COUNTRY. The school's mission is to produce men and women for others, men and women for the service of God and country. And on the bottom, surrounding the seal, is the name of the school, the ATENEO DE ZAMBOANGA which was founded in 1912.

In the circular field is the shield. The red and yellow stripes are derived from the coat of arms of the family of Oñaz, the maternal line of St. Ignatius. In the center are two wolves and a food pot. These are of the medallion of the family of Loyola, the Paternal Line of St. Ignatius of Loyola. This medallion stands for the generosity for which the house of Loyola was well known. The cross on the upper right portion of the shield symbolizes the Christian character of the Ateneo. While the vinta indicates the various cultural communities of the South Western Philippines where the school is located. On the bottom left are the book and torch, traditional symbols of education.

Above the shield is the glorious sunburst, the monogram of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) -- IHS surmounted by the cross and below are three nails. The "IHS" are the first letters of the name of Jesus in Greek. Emanating from the name of Jesus are the Blue and white rays that signify his gifts and grace for all.


The college varsity teams compete in a league called Private Schools Athletic Association (PRISAA) and the high school varsity teams participate in the Private Schools of Zamboanga City Athletic Association (PSZAA) league. The high school has boys and girls teams while the college has men's and women's teams.

Ateneo holds an annual sportfest called "Ateneo Fiesta" for its college students. This is a week-long event which starts in the last week of November. Most competitors are varsity athletes who are preparing themselves for the competition in their mother sports league, the PRISAA. College students form teams to participate in different sports events played in the PRISAA.

Student publications

The college official student publication is The Beacon Magazine. While the Grade School and High School student publications are The Quill and The Blue Eagle, respectively.

Student organization

The Sanggunian ng mga Mag-aaral ng Ateneo de Zamboanga University (SMADZU) was its student government prior to 2009. In its place is the El Consejo Atenista, a more representative and solid student government.[4]

See also


  1. ^ About+Us&sublink=History The History of ADZU, Ateneo de Zamboanga University, retrieved 2009-05-15 
  2. ^ Adzu Campus La purisima, Ateneo de Zamboanga University, retrieved 2009-05-15 
  3. ^ AdZU Tumaga Campus, Ateneo de Zamboanga University, retrieved 2009-05-15 
  4. ^ The Beacon Magazine of CSIT, Ateneo de Zamboanga University, retrieved 2009-05-15 

External links

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