A Brief History of Adamson University

Dr. George Lucas Adamson, a Greek chemist from Athens, founded the Adamson School of Industrial Chemistry (ASIC) on June 20, 1932 to train young men and women along the lines of practical industrial chemistry. It started as a one-classroom school that evolved into the Adamson School of Industrial Chemistry and Engineering (ASICE) on February 19, 1936. Upon approval by the Secretary of Public Instruction of its application for university status on February 5, 1941, it became known as Adamson University (AdU).

George Lucas’s cousin Alexander Athos Adamson came to ASIC shortly after to help the fledgling school. Alexander joined the administration on July 15, 1932, serving at one time or another as Vice President, Treasurer and Registrar. Much later, Alexander’s brother George Athos Adamson also came onboard in 1934, becoming the School Dean, Dean of the College of Engineering and professor. Evdoxia Savaides Adamson, wife of George Lucas, started working and teaching in the University in 1939, then served as Dean of the College of Education and of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Sofia Adamson, George Athos’s wife, taught in the College of Education after arriving in 1939 and briefly served as Directress of the Junior Normal College. Except for George Athos and Sofia who left after the war, all the Adamsons remained working in the University until its turnover to the Vincentian Fathers and Brothers of the Congregation of the Mission in 1964. George Lucas Adamson served as President until 1967, for a total of 35 years, including a three-year holdover stint at the assumption of the Vincentians as administrators.

Before finally settling on its permanent home along San Marcelino Street in 1946 after the war, the school stayed in three different locations: Sta. Cruz (1932-1933), San Miguel (1933-1939) and Intramuros (1939-1941). In San Marcelino, the University expanded with the acquisition of the Meralco building in 1968 and the St. Theresa’s College-Manila campus in 1977, both just across the street.

Fr. Leandro I. Montañana, C.M., a Spanish Vincentian, was the second President and first under the C.M. administration. He served in that capacity until 1985 when Fr. Rolando S. Dela Goza, C.M., the first Filipino university president, succeeded him and served until 1994. Next came Fr. Jimmy Belita, C.M., president until 2003 and was succeeded by the current president, Fr. Gregorio L. Bañaga, Jr., C.M.

Although best known for its chemistry and engineering programs, Adamson gradually added architecture, sciences, pharmacy, business, education, liberal arts, law, graduate school, basic education, and theology courses as it grew bigger. The transfer of ownership in 1964 incorporated the University into the Adamson-Ozanam Educational Institutions, Inc.  and led to its transition from a secular to a Catholic institution. St. Vincent de Paul, founder of the C.M., was declared University Patron Saint and the motto Veritas in Caritate (Truth in Charity) was adopted. A new vision was articulated, basically that of offering affordable quality education especially for the socially disadvantaged—one not substantially different from that of the Founder’s who wanted to help Filipinos gain a livelihood by offering a maximum amount of practical education in a minimum amount of time. To keep up with the challenges and demands of the time, the University responded by offering information systems and technology, nursing, customs administration, hospitality management, and physical education courses.

The 21st century saw Adamson University gaining a series of achievements under the leadership of Fr. Bañaga. The University was declared a historic site by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines in 2007 during its celebration of its Diamond Jubilee. A marker was placed in front of the St. Vincent Building, the oldest edifice in the University, to commemorate this history.

In 2010 the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) granted the Autonomous status and certification for the Institutional Monitoring and Evaluation for Quality Assurance (IQuAME) to the University after passing CHED’s rigorous evaluations and visits. The Autonomous status means that Adamson University will have more autonomy or independence in its administration, decision making and implementation; have the privilege to offer new programs and distance courses, among others; and the authority to grant an Honoris Causa to those deserving following CHED’s provisions for granting honorary degrees. Meanwhile, the IQuAME certification means that the University has met the requirements and has complied with the standards set forth by CHED to determine the worthiness of its education and service. Several of its degree programs have also been recognized by CHED as Centers of Excellence and/or Centers of Development.

In celebration of its 80th anniversary, the Adamson University Museum-Founder’s Wing was opened on November 16, 2012. The Founder’s Wing houses memorabilia and personal effects of Dr. Adamson, which were donated by his family. The items featured in the Founder’s Wing have been carefully preserved by his widow, Mrs. Evdoxia Adamson, and were sent from Spain where the Adamson family now lives.

Strengthening its efforts to achieve excellence, Adamson University applied for and successfully achieved the prestigious ISO 9001:2008 Management Systems certification by TÜV Rheinland in January 2013. The ISO 9001:2008 certification means that the quality of the university’s processes and standards are at par with international management systems and that the University has instituted quality assurance methods in both the academic and support services with procedures for its maintenance. In formalizing and maintaining its quality assurance methods, students, parents, and other customers of the University can be assured that teaching quality remains at its best and that transactions are done efficiently.

Adamson University has transformed itself into a dynamic and harmonious community of administrators, faculty, employees, and students teaming up to maintain its level of academic excellence to produce socially responsible and globally competitive graduates. Its continuing quest for excellence tempered by its desire to make an impact in its community renders the holistic education offered by the University as true to its aim of providing education with a heart.