A Brief History of Adamson University

Before its foundation in 1932, education in the Philippines mainly consisted of degree programs in Humanities, Law, and Medicine. Thus, upon its establishment, technological education set off throughout the country.

Adamson University was founded as the Adamson School of Industrial Chemistry (ASIC) by George Lucas Adamson and his cousins, Alexander Adamson and George Athos, and began as a 42-student night class at the Paterno Building in Santa Cruz, Manila. The number grew to 200, thus, prompting the move to Solano Street in San Miguel district, ultimately becoming the pioneer of Filipino industrial education, and one of the gateways of Philippine industrialization.

The institution then introduced a four-year secondary education program in Industrial Chemistry in 1934, and boasted a curriculum of combined academic and technical education — pioneering Vocational Education in the Philippines. Upon finishing the said curriculum, graduates have become eligible for admission to the Industrial Chemistry degree program of ASIC.

ASIC was reincorporated as Adamson School of Industrial Chemistry and Engineering (ASICE) in 1936, and began offering courses in mining, metallurgical, civil, industrial, and chemical engineering. The development also prompted the expansion in the curriculum and facilities, including libraries and science laboratories. Adamson School then relocated to a building in Calle Sta. Lucia in Intramuros in 1939.

With its continuous rise, the school was elevated into university status on February 5, 1941 after its application was approved by then Secretary of Public Instruction, Dr. Jorge Bocobo. The College of Law was established on June 1 of the same year with former Senator and Secretary of Finance and Interior Elpidio Quirino as its first dean.

During the Second World War, Japanese forces took over the University as an alien army property, and imprisoned George Lucas and his family as enemy nationals by the Japanese military administration.

Throughout the occupation, University premises and equipment were used by the Japanese as a radio transmitting station until it was flattened by American bombers during the Battle of Manila. 

In 1946, George Lucas accepted an invitation from the Fathers of San Vicente de Paul Church to occupy their premises in San Marcelino Street in Ermita, and re-opened Adamson University on June 20, 1946 with Quirino as the inaugural guest of honor.

The University continued to expand its reputation internationally, attracting international students from China, Thailand, Borneo, Java and small Pacific Islands. It also featured an array of the latest facilities and equipment, and faculty.

Founder and President George Lucas Adamson, meanwhile, consistently made strides in the Philippines, serving as one of the Board of Directors of various government and private organizations focusing in education, science and technology, mining, textile, pharmacology, and agriculture. He also organized the Philippine Chamber of Technology, a group of architects, engineers, chemists, and other technologists promoting technological advancement in the country.

Adamson University was converted into a Catholic University when George Lucas passed the institution’s administration to the Congregation of the Mission (Vincentians) on December 1964. The University housed 4,072 students during the said transfer. The Vincentian Fathers and Brothers continued to uphold the University’s superior technical education, at the same time integrating the Vincentian charism and Catholic formation and tradition. By the end of the year, Adamson University became a non-stock, non-profit educational institution incorporated as Adamson-Ozanam Educational Institutions, Inc.