University Presidents

George Lucas Adamson

Founder and first President of Adamson University (1932-1967)

Dr. George Lucas Adamopolous (1899 - 1978) was born and raised in Greece. He grew up into a driven young man with a relentless thirst for knowledge inspired by the teachings of Socrates and Plato. He lived the Greek virtue of philotomo, or love of honor, as seen in his deep sense of obligation, nobility, and moral pride.

After his secondary education, George Lucas initially enrolled in a two-year diploma course in telecommunications and postal services at Athens Technical College and was one of the first enrollees of the Bachelor of Science degree during the inaugural year of the University of Athens School of Chemistry (1918). The Greco-Turkish War (1919-1922) interrupted his studies when he was called to serve in the Greek Civil Military. He was assigned to the telecommunications and postal services section at the Ministry of Public Works from 1918 to 1924. He also continued his university education as a part-time student and graduated in 1924 with a degree in Chemistry.

George Lucas opened a college-level preparatory school after his graduation. He taught returning war veterans and prepared them for University Entrance Examinations, which they could take after their tours of duty. Despite the success of his venture, he sought out a personal quest and left Greece for Australia in 1927. During his voyage, he studied English and spoke fluently upon his arrival in Sydney, Australia. He also changed his surname to Adamson (Adamopolous means' son of Adam' in ancient Greek) to adapt to an English-speaking country.

Given the favorable market situations in Sydney, George Lucas thrived, creating innovations such as mineral table water and a mineral batch liquid under the brand name Rayospa. He was also co-publisher and editor of the Greek-English newspaper Ethniko-Vima (The National Tribune) and technical consultant of the Australian Cotton Wool Products company. Although his success was undeniable, his businesses were also affected by the Great Depression, which hit the world from 1929 to 1932. Industrialized countries severely suffered, including Australia. This prompted him to seek better opportunities in Japan.

On his way to the Orient in 1930, he decided to visit the Philippines, then under American colonial rule. He met a Greek national, John Talambiras, who has been living in the country for years. Talambiras led him to a venture with Ciriaco Chunaco and the Chunaco family, and the eventual establishment of the Chunaco-Adamson Chemical Company. The venture used Adamson's system, preventing the wine from turning sour in production. Upon his return to Manila, George Lucas founded the Adamson Testing Laboratory, which provided valuable metal and ore testing services to various industries (fuel, textile, chemical, medical, soil, and agriculture) in the Philippines.

Despite finding success in business, the fire for education remained, leading him to establish the Adamson School of Industrial Chemistry (ASIC), the first of its kind in the country. ASIC continued to gain students and apply academic and technical upgrades, evolving into the Adamson School of Industrial Chemistry and Engineering (ASICE) in 1936 and Adamson University in 1941. George Lucas Adamson was bestowed with the honorary degree of Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Athens in January 1938 as recognition for his achievement of founding the first school of Industrial Chemistry in the Philippines.

The University was severely damaged during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines, prompting George Lucas to relocate Adamson University. In 1946, he accepted the invitation of the Fathers of San Vicente de Paul Church to occupy their property on San Marcelino Street. Adamson University re-opened on June 20, 1946. Aside from his duties as university president, he also took an active part in nation-building, serving as a member of the board of directors of government and private organizations under the education, science and technology, mining, textile, pharmacology, and agriculture sectors. He also organized the Philippine Chamber of Technology, a group of architects, engineers, chemists, and other technologists promoting technological advancement in the country. He was also appointed Greek Consul General, representing the Greek government on official and social functions, assisting in the conclusion of an Air Agreement between the Philippines and Greece, and the chief delegate and signatory to the Treaty of Friendship between the two nations.

Despite Adamson University's management transfer to the Congregation of the Mission in 1964, Dr. George Lucas Adamson remained president until his retirement in April 1927. He remained on the University Board of Trustees and was given the title of President Emeritus.

Alexander Athos Adamson

Alexander Athos Adamson (1911-1993) initially took up Dentistry in college but eventually finished a three-year Mechanical Engineering program at the Sydney Technical College after he joined his cousin, George Lucas, in a business venture in Australia.

Upon George Lucas' departure from Australia to the Philippines during the Great Depression, Alexander Athos followed suit and helped out in his cousin's newly established Adamson School of Industrial Chemistry (ASIC). He served simultaneously as vice president, treasurer and registrar. He was credited for his capacity and erudition as a financial executive and administrator in running and developing the institution.

Alexander Athos reaffirmed his commitment to the Philippines by acquiring Filipino citizenship in September 1942 and serving as Consul General of Greece to the Philippines. He continued working at Adamson University even after the turnover to the Congregation of the Mission in 1964, and he was a member of the University's Board of Trustees.

George Athos Adamson

George Athos Adamson (1908-2003) was an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at the Polytechnic University of Athens before coming to the Philippines. He declined a one-year scholarship in England and decided to join his younger brother, Alexander Athos, and cousin, George Lucas, in Manila, where he served as technical director and dean of the Adamson School of Industrial Chemistry (ASIC). He was also appointed as dean of the College of Engineering in 1935.

During the school's curricular expansion, George Athos helped set up the laboratories and pilot plants and was also the school's director of curricula. He often visited Manila's Chinatown, then Calle Gandara, to check out machinery stores of US Navy surplus goods that could be used as mini-manufacturing plants in ASIC's laboratories.

After the Japanese invasion of the Philippines, he left with his wife, Sofia de Mos, and resided permanently in Pasadena, California, in the USA until his demise in 2003.

Adamson University conferred George Athos Adamson a Doctor of Science degree, honoris causa, in 1982.

Fr. Leandro I. Montañana, CM

First Vincentian President and Second President of Adamson University (1967-1986)

Fr. Leandro I. Montañana, CM (1920-1994) is a Spanish-born priest who became the first Vincentian president of Adamson University. He studied Philosophy at the Vincentian Fathers Seminary in Hortaleza, Madrid, in 1940 and took up Theology at the Seminario de San Pablo in Cuenca from 1943 to 1946.

Fr. Montañana continued his studies at the Mary Immaculate Seminary in Hampton, Pennsylvania, and attended the Catholic University of America, where he obtained a Licentiate in Theology in 1948. He was ordained a priest in October 1946 and was conferred a Doctor of Philosophy degree, honoris causa, by the San Carlos Seminary in Cebu a year after.

As an educator, he served as professor and spiritual director of the Sacred Heart Seminary in Bacolod from 1948 to 1952. He also had teaching stints with San Vicente Ferrer Seminary in Jaro, Iloilo (1952-1956), Seminario del Santissimo Rosario in Naga City (1956-1957), and San Carlos Seminary (1957-1958).

He served as Provincial Visitor of the Congregation of the Mission's Philippine Province from 1958 to 1970, with the acquisition of Adamson University being one of the highlights of his tenure. He also served as Chairman of the University's Board of Trustees from 1964 to 1970 and was eventually chosen to be the second president of Adamson University.

During his time as University President, Fr. Montaña prioritized faculty retention and salary increase, technological advancements, greater decentralization, increased autonomy, and the transformation of Adamson University into a Catholic institution.

He is also known as one of the co-founders of the Association of Catholic Universities of the Philippines.


  • Laying down the foundation of Adamson University as a Catholic-Vincentian institution through the establishment of the Adamson-Ozanam Educational Institutions, Inc.;
  • Acquisition of the old Meralco Building (now Cardinal Santos Building);
  • Acquisition of the Tabacalera property where the Ozanam Building was erected;
  • Acquisition of the Saint Theresa's College (now St Theresa Building); and
  • Establishment of linkages with international educational institutions.

Fr. Rolando S. Dela Goza, CM

First Filipino President and third President of Adamson University (1986-1994)

Fr. Rolando S. Dela Goza, CM spent his early years in Cadiz, Negros Occidental and New Lucena, Iloilo. He finished his secondary education at Saint Vincent's Seminary in Valenzuela and obtained his Philosophy degree from Saint Mary's Seminary in Perryville, Missouri, in 1962.

He simultaneously took his Master of Arts in History and Bachelor of Arts in Theology degrees, earning the latter from De Andreis Seminary, Lemont, Illinois, in 1966 and the former from De Paul University, Chicago, in 1969. He also has a Doctor of Philosophy in History (Magna Cum Laude) degree from the University of Santo Tomas and took up a Senior Management Program at Harvard University.

After his presbyteral ordination in May 1966, Fr. Dela Goza became Prefect of Discipline at the Saint Vincent Seminary and taught at San Carlos Seminary in Cebu. He was later hailed as head of Adamson University's Social Science Department, then was elevated to Assistant Dean, and eventually Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences until he was assigned as Vice President in 1985.

Fr. Dela Goza became Adamson University's first Filipino-born president in November 1986 and was among the first commissioners of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) when it was established in 1994. He also served as President of the Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities (PACU) and Provincial Visitor of the Congregation of the Mission from 1979 to 1986.

An active writer-historian, Fr. Dela Goza authored numerous books, including The Greatest Filipino: His Life and Works (1984), The Vincentians in the Philippines 1862-1962 (1985), which he co-authored with Fr. Jesus Cavana, CM, and Adamson University: A History,1932-1992 (1993), which he co-authored with Dr. Bernardita Churchill.


  • Setup and strengthening of University academic programs;
  • Transfer of administrative offices from the Saint Vincent Building to the Cardinal Santos Building;
  • Construction of engineering laboratories at the Ozanam Building;
  • Construction of a Chemistry Laboratory, once touted as the biggest in Asia, at the Ozanam Building;
  • Construction of eight (8) computer laboratories;
  • A Policy of Academic Excellence resulting in Vincentian-Adamsonian Board topnotchers;
  • Construction of the Falcon Footbridge of Service connecting the Saint Theresa and Cardinal Santos sites;
  • Adamson University's recognition as the second largest Catholic University in the Philippines and third largest internationally among Vincentian Institutions (1992).

Fr. Jimmy A. Belita, CM

Fourth President of Adamson University (1994-2003)

Fr. Jimmy A. Belita, CM is a native of San Dionisio, Iloilo. He finished his secondary education at Saint Vincent's Seminary in Valenzuela and obtained his Philosophy degree from Saint Mary's Seminary in Perryville, Missouri. He also holds a Master's degree in Divinity Studies from De Andreis Institute of Theology in Lemont, Illinois, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Religious Studies from the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium.

Fr. Belita served as Rector of the Seminario Mayor de San Carlos in Cebu from 1979 to 1982 while doing his Master's in Management for Executives and Managers at the University of San Jose- Recoletos. During his tenure as Chairperson of Religious Studies at De La Salle University from 1986 to 1990, he was awarded the Ariston Estrada Professorial Chair from 1990 to 1994. He was also the regional director and treasurer of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP-NCR).

In Adamson University, Fr. Belita served as the first Campus Minister. He also held posts as Dean of Theology and of the Institute of Religious Education (IRED), Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees before he was chosen as the University's fourth president, which he occupied from 1994 to 2003.

A prolific writer, he has written various books, namely From Logos to Diwa (1986), The Way of Greater Self (1991), Cast into the Deep (1994), Teaching and Being Church: Towards an Ecclesiology of Education (1997), and God was not in the Wind (2006).

Banking on the University's history, Fr. Belita envisioned Adamson University as a flagship institution for science and technology known for competence, professionalism, and commitment to service to people in poverty situation, as well as a community that enhances collaborative innovation and productivity. Fr. Belita also focused on empowerment, employing regimentation and motivation-building to further recognize an employee's 'true worth as a person' and promoting the growth of the faculty whom he saw as the core of Adamson University.


  • Attainment of deregulated status from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED);
  • Transfer of the library from the Cardinal Santos Building to the Leandro Montañana (LM) Building at the Saint Theresa site;
  • Computerization of enrollment;
  • Construction of the Francis Regis Clet Building for the Basic Education Department, the University Gymnasium, and the Little Theater (now SV Hall);
  • Construction of the Falcon Walkway from Taft Avenue to campus premises; and
  • Establishment of linkages with educational institutions in Thailand, Pakistan, Indonesia, and South Korea.

Fr. Greogorio L. Bañaga, Jr., CM

First Alumnus President and Fifth President of Adamson University (2003-2015)

Fr. Gregorio L. Bañaga, CM was born and raised in Tarlac City. He entered the Saint Vincent's Seminary, Valenzuela, in 1966, and proceeded to the Vincentian Hills Seminary, Angono, Rizal, in 1970. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy degree from Adamson University and a degree in Theology from the University of Santo Tomas. He was ordained to the Sacred Order of Presbyters on March 17, 1979.

He also holds a Master's degree in Organizational Development from Loyola University, Chicago, Illinois, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Organizational Behavior degree from Weatherhead School of Management - Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio.

Upon his ordination, he was assigned to the Vincentian Mission Team, which carries the seminal works of Saint Vincent de Paul to outlying areas in Rizal, Bataan, Camarines Sur, and Pangasinan. He also served as East Asian Coordinator of the Non-Government Organization (NGO) Movement for a Better World, and Director of Students, Pastoral Director, and Professor of Pastoral Theology at the Saint Vincent School of Theology (SVST) in Tandang Sora, Quezon City.

As an administrator at Adamson University, he was Vice President for Student Affairs in 1999 and Vice President for Administrative Affairs in 2001 before being chosen as the school's president in 2003. In such capacity, he also served as president of the South Manila Inter-Institutional Consortium (SMI-IC) from 2006 to 2010 and as a member of the Board of Trustees and President (2011-2013) of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines.

Fr. Bañaga focused on the renewal and deepening of the Vincentian character of Adamson University, launching projects designed to promote Vincentian values and practices and integrating Vincentian teachings into the practices of the University community. Such initiative led to improved collaboration and networking with the Vincentian Family and other Vincentian educational institutions. His tenure adopted an alternative philosophy of change known as Appreciative Inquiry that accentuated the optimism within an organization. He also advocated for a more holistic learning style and academic culture in the University.

After his tenure as fifth president of Adamson University, he held significant positions for the Congregation of the Mission, as Provincial Visitor of the Philippine Province (2017 - 2022), and elected Vicar-General in 2022 at the CM Curia in Rome, Italy.

  • The university was awarded Autonomous Status and CHED-IquAME Certification;
  • University certification with ISO 9001:2008 Management System from TÜV Rheinland;
  • Acquisition of Meralco property beside Cardinal Santos Building;
  • Campus fully equipped with internet and Wi-Fi connection;
  • Renovation of Adamson University Theater and University Art Gallery;
  • Establishment and reactivation of local and international alumni connections;
  • Construction and improvement of University Covered Court, Sewage Treatment Plant, Miraculous Medal Garden, Plaza de San Vicente, and Museum and Archives; and
  • Development of campus physical environment.

Fr. Marcelo V. Manimtim, CM

Second Alumnus President and Sixth President of Adamson University (2015-2023)

Fr. Marcelo V. Manimtim, CM is a native of Tagaytay City, Cavite, where he began his elementary education before entering St. Vincent's Seminary in Valenzuela, Bulacan, in June 1963.

In June 1968, he entered the Vincentian Hills Seminary. He then took his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy degree at Adamson University, graduating in 1972, and his degree in Theology from the University of Santo Tomas, which he finished in 1976. Fr. Manimtim made his perpetual vows in May 1975 and had his presbyteral ordination in March 1976. He also took graduate studies at the Gregorian Pontifical University in Rome, Italy, finishing his special studies in Church History in 1980 and his doctorate in Philosophy in 1993.

Fr. Manimtim's pastoral journey began in 1976 when he assumed the role of Prefect of Discipline at St. Vincent's Seminary. Following his studies in Rome, he returned to the Philippines in 1980 and taught Church History at the San Carlos Major Seminary in Cebu City for a year. In 1981, he took on the role of Spiritual Director at Vincentian Hills Seminary in Angono, Rizal, for three years, then served as its Rector for four years. Following the pursuit of his doctorate, he embarked on a missionary assignment to the Solomon Islands in 1993, where, alongside two other Vincentians, they established the Holy Name of Mary Seminary in Honiara, marking the first seminary in the Solomon Islands.

In subsequent roles, Fr. Manimtim became the Rector of the St. Vincent School of Theology (SVST) in Quezon City in 2001 and assumed the position of Superior/Rector at the St. Vincent Seminary in Quezon City in 2002. From 2004 to 2007, he served as the Provincial Visitor of the Philippine Province of the Congregation of the Mission, concurrently acting as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Adamson-Ozanam Educational Institutions, Inc. After his term as Provincial Visitor, Fr. Manimtim received a significant appointment as the director of the Centre International de Formation (CIF) at the Maison-Mère (Mother House) of the Congregation of the Mission in Paris, France. Notably, he was the first Asian CM priest to hold this prestigious position, a role he fulfilled from 2008 to 2014.

Upon returning from Paris, Fr. Manimtim went back to SVST as professor and Rector. He was hailed as President of Adamson University in September 2015. During his tenure, he was an active member of various organizations representing the University, holding positions such as President of the Association of Catholic Universities of the Philippines (2015-2018), President of the Association of Southeast Asian Institutions of Higher Learning National Council of the Philippines (2021-2023) and President of the South Manila Educational Consortium (2022-2023).


  • Attainment of ISO 9001:2015 Management System certification from TÜV Rheinland;
  • Attainment of accreditations from leading accrediting bodies in the Philippines;
  • Construction of the Dr. Carlos Tiu Center for Innovation and Research;
  • Expansion of academic and industry partnerships both locally and internationally;
  • Enhancement of the University Gymnasium and covered courts;
  • Construction and improvement of laboratories, classrooms, and common spaces on campus;
  • Implementation of an online and blended learning approach for students;
  • Creation of an online resource system for academic and co-academic employees, facilitating online attendance, leave, and benefits tracking;
  • Transfer of the Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy program to the Saint Vincent School of Theology;
  • Establishment of the University Information Security Office;
  • Transition to the K-12 curriculum featuring the Senior High School program;
  • Introduction of new dual degree programs in collaboration with international partners; and
  • Creation of Adamson University Neo-Science and Technology Incubation Center.