History of St. Paul University Iloilo

History 1946-1970 : A Brief History of St. Paul University Iloilo

Impelled by the love of CHRIST, and on the invitation and support of His Eminence Denis Cardinal Dougherty, Bishop of Jaro, The Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres began their apostolic activities in Iloilo by establishing St. Paul’s Hospital in 1911. Their primary aim was to care for the poor and the sick, However, the care of the poor and the sick was not the only apostolic mission of the Sisters of St. Paul; they have also been founded for the purpose of training and educating the young. So it was, with the great desire emboldened by the formative component of their mission, coupled with the pressing need of the hospital for trained competent Catholic nurses, the Sisters under the leadership of Mother Josephine de Jesus opened the School of Nursing in June, 1946. Seventy (70) students were admitted into the first Graduate Nurse Training Program, sixty-eight (68) females and two (2) males, and early sign of the openness and the universality which is a mark of St. Paul. Sr. Marie Louise Limbaga, SPC became Dean from 1946-1947.

Sr. Marie Madeleine soon took the leadership of the new School of Nursing.

The beginnings were difficult, the struggles to grow arduous, but with God’s blessings and through hard work, the school, like the proverbial good seed, progressed and blossomed. Some high points of its developments can be chronicled.

1948 – Recognition of the School of Nursing was granted by the government for the 3-year diploma program leading to the title of Graduate Nurse under the leadership of Sister Marie Madeleine Denoga, SPC.

1950 – A 4-year basic collegiate course in Nursing was opened; this was closed in 1954 due to school’s financial difficulties.

1961 – The Marian Hall building was constructed, more facilities such as the Speech Laboratory, the Refectory, and the Auditorium with its “state of the art” sound, light and stage equipment were acquired through the efforts of Sr. Mary James Taguinod, SPC .

1970 – Consortium with the University of San Agustin was forged to comply with the Department of Education’s requirement to professionalize all Nursing Schools with the able leadership of Sr. Mary Incarnacion de Manuel, SPC as Superior-Administrator of SPH. This was discontinued for a more practical administration of the College.

History 1975-1983 : The “Birth” of St. Paul College of Iloilo in 1975

Under the leadership of Sister Carolina Agravante, SPC, the school was upgraded into a College with the opening of the Arts and Science courses, namely Bachelor of Art in Mass Communication, Bachelor of Science in Biology. Nutrition, Psychology and the 2-year Certificate Courses Diploma in Dietetic Technician, and Junior Secretarial. Nursing was offered as a 5-year BSN program. This period also saw the opening of the Social Laboratory Extension Program (SLEP) which served as the avenue for students’ Community Development Outreach Program.

St. Paul School of Nursing soon developed into a regular College worthy of the name. Her progress may be marked in the following events.

1977 – Sr. Emilienne Mendoza, SPC continued the work of providing leadership to the new College.

1981 – Bachelor of Science in Commerce (BSC) with four (4) major fields of concentration (Accounting, General Business Education, Management, and Marketing) was opened and recognized by the DECS in 1984 upon the initiation of Sr. Remy Angela Junio, SPC.

In 1983, the College of Nursing was chosen by the Board of Nursing Education as the pilot school for the new BSN Curriculum with Sr. Mary Damiana Jiloca, SPC as Director and College Dean and Sr. Remy Angela, SPC as Program Chair of Nursing.

History 1985-1996 : 50 Years of Christian Paulinian Education and Service

1985 – A decision to retrench was made: Bachelor of Science in Nutrition was frozen, Bachelor of Science in Biology was phased out.

1990 – Period of further retrenchment: Bachelor of Science in Psychology, Bachelor of Science in Commerce and Junior Secretarial were also phased out.

1993 – Opening-up to new life. Bachelor of Science in Business Administration major in Management and Business Administration was re-opened, fifty (50) first year BSC students sought entrance to St. Paul College of Iloilo.

1994 – BSBA major in Computer Information Technology was approved by CHED; forty-one (41) students enrolled to the new Course offering.

1995 – A temporary permit to offer Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy was given by CHED. One hundred two (102) students were admitted.

In 1996, Saint Paul College of Iloilo celebrated FIFTY (50) year of “Christian Paulinian Education and Service” during the term of Sr. Rosamond Marie Abadesco, SPC.

Acclaimed by the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC) as top seven in 1996 Nursing Licensure Examination Nationwide and by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) as Number five among the Eight Best Nursing Colleges/Universities in the Philippines.

History 1996-1999: Center of Excellence in Nursing Education

The BSN Program was awarded recognition as Center of Excellence in Nursing Education (COENE) by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) for three years: 1996-1999 with some funding for further development in human resources, facilities, library, and other areas.

The BSN Program underwent PAASCU Re-accreditation and the ABMC, the PAASCU Formal Preliminary Survey.

Saint Paul College of Iloilo with the new leadership of Sr. Ma. Felicina Gubuan, SPC was deputized by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) as COENE, the authority to conduct the Expanded Tertiary Education Equivalency and Accreditation Program (ETEEAP) among the nursing professionals.

1997 – Graduate School Programs in Master of Arts in Nursing (M.A.N.) and Master of Science in Nursing (M.S.N.) were opened.

1998 – The two Graduate School offerings, M.A.N. and M.S.N., were granted Government Recognition (GR) by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) upon the recommendation of the of the Quality Assurance Team (QUAT) evaluation (GR no. 283, s. 1998).

1999 – SPCI was approved as a Regional Center for Career Development (CCD) in the Visayas in an International Education Project linkage with Red River College, Winnipeg, Manitoba via the Association of Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) funding.. This is through the initiative of St. Paul College of Quezon City (SPCQC).

1999 – The Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy Program was granted Government Recognition (GR) by the CHED upon the recommendation of the Quality Assurance Team (QUAT) evaluation. (GR no. 201, s. 1999)

History 2001-2004: From SPC to St. Paul University Iloilo

In 2001, Sr. Carolina Agravante, spc; was re-assigned to SPCI as Director and Program Chair of Nursing.

Our Lady of Grace Building, a new construction undertaken by Sr. Ma. Felicina, SPC, was blessed and became functional housing the SLEP/CCD complex, PT office & laboratory, Library and Computer Internet Room, and more classrooms.

In 2002, Bachelor of Secondary Education opened as new course offering together with Associate in Hotel and Restaurant Management.

In 2003, Bachelor of Science in Information Technology was offered a permit to operate from the CHED.

The College of Hotel and Restaurant Management and Tourism was organized under the leadership of Sr. Catherine Guiuan, SPC putting all the courses on Food Service under it. Permit to establish the BSHRM was given and started in SY 2004-2005.

The year 2004 marks an important milestone in the life of the Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres, their 100th year in the Philippines. The first seven Sisters came from Saigon to Dumaguete in October 29, 1904 at the invitation of Bishop Frederick Z. Rooker, then Bishop of Jaro, saying: “I have asked you to come for the protection of the faith in this country. It is the good God who has chosen you for this work. Make religion loved and put into practice as it should be.” Thus their mission in education towards the Faith began. They spread through the archipelago speaking one language that every Paulinian today knows by heart: CARITAS CHRISTI URGET NOS.

This year, too, on March 10, 2004, The St. Paul University System was awarded by the Commission on Higher Education to the six tertiary schools of the Congregation, namely: St. Paul University Quezon City, St. Paul University Manila, St. Paul University Dumaguete, St. Paul University Iloilo, St. Paul University Surigao, and St. Paul University

Philippines in Tuguegarao as the lead University of the System.

On June 21, 2004, Sr. Carolina Agravante, SPC was formally installed as the first University President in a solemn but joyful ceremony held in the Marian Hall. In attendance were the academic circle of the city, alumni, members of the University System and the whole Paulinian Family of St. Paul University Iloilo.

History 2005-Present

On June 21, 2004, Sr. Carolina Agravante, SPC was formally installed as the first University President in a solemn but joyful ceremony held in the Marian Hall. In attendance were the academic circle of the city, alumni, members of the University System and the whole Paulinian Family of St. Paul University Iloilo.School year 2005-2006 marched on with CHED ushered by the awarding of St. Paul University Iloilo College of Nursing as 2nd outstanding College of Nursing in the Philippines out of 350 schools of Nursing. Also included in the top 10 schools were St. Paul University Dumaguete as 7th and St. Paul University Manila as 10th.The challenge for SPU Iloilo is to establish a contemporary Catholic university culture as she fulfills her mission of making the Father known and loved.The Common First-year Paulinians was established in Academic Year 2005-2006 as Common Freshmen Program.  This program put all the 1st year applicants for the degree programs in one category: Paulinian Freshmen.  This is designed for first year students admitted to a 4-year/5-year course at St. Paul University Iloilo.  It aims to:

  • provide a common orientation to the Paulinian University Culture.
  • unify the academic foundation for all the programs offered at the university
  • bring about closer ties among Paulinians across the different colleges on the campus
  • direct students towards enlightened career path as future Paulinian professionals for God and country.

The Wellness Program, a non-academic program organized in the summer of 2005, opened a new horizon for SPU Iloilo.  It was meant to enhance the musical and cultural heritage of the Ilonggos.  It did more than that – it brought students and teachers together, Paulinians and non-Paulinians children and adults, in activities that everybody loves: music, dancing, cooking, speech and drama, self-defense and foreign languages.  Music, dance, and children’s laughter filled the campus.

January 2006 saw the launching of the 60th Jubilee Year of SPU Iloilo as an educational institution base on her founding in 1964 as St. Paul School of Nursing.  A simple ceremony by the Paulinian family at the gym opened a year full of jubilee activities.


The College of Arts and Sciences opened new programs such as Bachelor of Science in Biology, Bachelor of Science in Psychology, and Bachelor of Arts in English and Theater Arts.

The Bachelor of Science in Information Technology together with Information Management and Computer Science was fully recognized by CHED.

The University applied for the following courses: Doctor of Medicine and Bachelor of Elementary Education major in Pre-School Education.

The new site at Barangay Ticud La Paz, Iloilo City of 6.2 hectares was bought by the Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres after the initial payment of P30M and post-dated checks amounting to P74M.  On this site will rise St. Paul University Iloilo.

The main road to the campus was started, deep well drilling done and farming were considered as achievements of the new site for Academic Year 2005-2006.

With the Spirituality Center still in the drawing board, a formal blessing of the new road and laying of the cornerstone of the first building, the SPU Iloilo Alumni both at home and abroad, and friends pooled resources together to see a new St. Paul University Iloilo rising soon.

St. Paul University Iloilo was recognized by CHED in the 2006 SEARCH FOR CHED  BEST HEI RESEARCH PROGRAM.

Academic Year 2008-2009 marked the completion of the construction of Mere Monique Home at Ticud, La Paz.  It served as a new sanctuary for the retired sisters who have been serving the community for the longest of time.  On the same site, a retreat center and chapel were also built.

Philippine Nurse Association, Inc., Iloilo Chapter, Professional Regulation Commission and the Board of Nursing awarded St. Paul University Iloilo as FIRST PLACE TOP PERFORMING COLLEGE OF NURSING for having 100% of its examinees passe the Nurse Licensure Examination (with 30-99 examinees) in the June and November 2008 examinations.

In Academic Year 2009-2010, Bachelor in Elementary Education major in Special Education and Pre-School Education was opened and the College of Teacher Education was separate from the College of Arts and Sciences.

Philippine Nurses Association, INC – Iloilo Chapter and Iloilo City Government awarded St. Paul University Iloilo Certificate of Recognition for having 100% of its examinees passed the Nurse Licensure Examination in the June 2009 examinations.

Philippine Nurses association, Inc., Iloilo Chapter, Professional Regulation Commission and the Board of Nursing awarded St. Paul University Iloilo as FIRST PLACE TOP PERFORMING COLLEGE OF NURSING and for 100% passing percentage in the Nurse Licensure Examination (with more than 100 examinees) in the November 2009 examination.

In February and July 2010 Physical Therapy Board Licensure Examinations, St. Paul University Iloilo achieved a 100% passing percentage.  In the same year, the Philippine Nurses Association, Inc., Iloilo Chapter, Professional Regulation Commission and the Board of Nursing and Iloilo City Government awarded St. Paul University Iloilo as FIRST PLACE TOP PERFORMING COLLEGE OF NURSING for the 100% of its examinees having passes the Nurse Licensure Examination (with 30-99 examinees) in the July 2010.

In January 2011, St. Paul University Iloilo graduates of Physical Therapy again got 100% passing rate in the Physical Therapy Board Licensure Examination.

Last February 14-20, 2011 the SPC Sisters of St. Paul University Iloilo joined the St. Paul Hospital in their grandest celebration of 100 yeas of loving and caring presence and mission.

In School Year 2011-2012, St. Paul University Iloilo opens its Basic Education Department by accepting enrollment for Kinder I and II.

Year 2013 – The Federation of Accrediting Agencies granted Level 1 status to Master of Arts in Nursing and BS Nursing effective March 2013-March 2016 through Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities Commission on Accreditation (PACUCOA) standards; June 2013- June 2016 to BS Education, BS Information Technology, BS Business Administration, BS Hotel and Restaurant Managment and AB Mass Communication. BS Physical Therapy was granted Level 1 status effective September 2013-September 2016.

On year 2014- The PACUCOA granted candidate status to BS in Biology, BS in Tourism Management, and Bachelor of Arts in English and Theater Arts programs for two years effective October 2014. 

The MOA signing between SPUI and its benefactor, the Tiu Cho Teg-Ana Ros Foundation for the construction of SPUI Basic Education building in Ticud Campus. December 14, 2014 marked the blessing and the laying of the cornerstone.

During the year 2015- The BS Nursing, AB Communication, BS Hotel & Restaurant Management and BS Business Administration programs were granted Level II status by PACUCOA effective October 2015-October 2020.

The BS in Psychology program was granted Candidate status by PACUCOA effective December 2015-December 2017.

The university opened its community-based training programs through the Technical Education Skills Development Authority (TESDA). At present SPUI has registered four programs: Dressmaking NC2, Tailoring NC2, Cookery NC2 and Food and Beverage NC2. It accepts TESDA scholars of out-of-school youth, unemployed community members, OFWs and their dependents.

On 2016- ST. PAUL UNIVERSITY ILOILO celebrates her 70th Jubilee with the theme: “I AM PAULINIAN: THE LEGACY STARTS ANEW.”

SPUI undertakes the K-12 program and opens the Senior High School program and the Grade 5 of the Basic Education.

BS in Biology, BS in Psychology, BS Tourism Management and BA in English & Theater Arts  were granted Level I Formal accredited status by PACUCOA effective May 2016-May 2019.

Higher Education experienced the initial effect of the K-12 education program, SPUI had no enrolment in the first year college in AY 2016-2017. The university opened the Senior High School and accepted enrolment for Grade 11 in SY 2016-2017.

On August 9, 2016- the 2nd President of St. Paul University Iloilo, Sr. Mila Grace A. Silab, SPC was installed in a solemn academic investiture.

By year 2017- The Basic Education transferred to its Ticud Campus, and offered Grade VI in AY 2017-2018. Likewise, the Basic Education and the Senior High School had their initial graduation ceremonies in April and May 2018 respectively.

Year 2018- Two Paulinian graduates topped the Physical Therapy Board Exam administered on February 4 and 5, 2018: Kevi Bordones ranked first with the rating of 85.75 and Jayson Montinola ranked ninth with the rating of 84.45.

At the national level, a total of 588 takers out of 1,017 examinees (57.82%) passed the Physical Therapist Licensure Exam given by the Board of Physical and Occupational Therapy in Manila and Cebu on February 2018. SPUI has a passing rate of 67.19% with 43 passers out of 64 examinees.

From its humble beginnings, today St. Paul University Iloilo is fully recognized by the CHED as an institution of higher learning.  It has consistently graduated men and women, who have upheld the University’s Vision and Mission, and have become leaders in their own workplace and communities.  It has been cite by CHED and other government and non-government agencies for excellence of its academic program and discipline.  It has become not only a “birthing place” of professionals, but most importantly, the Alma Mater of men and women who are fired by the Spirit and Love of Christ.

As the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres celebrates her 100 years in the Philippines, St. Paul University Iloilo remembers her roots, gives thanks to the Almighty, and shares her blessings to all who gather in her name, Paulinians here and abroad.

Today, faithful to her commitment and mission, St. Paul University Iloilo continues to forge onward “impelled by the love of CHRIST.”