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Brief History of Aquinas University of Legazpi

Aquinas University of Legazpi (AUL) is a Catholic higher educational institution in Legazpi City, Albay. Known as the Dominican university of Bicol, AUL can trace her beginning on June 8, 1948 when Don Buenaventura de Erquiaga opened the portals of Legazpi Junior Colleges at a modest site with a two-story building on corner Rizal and Mabini Streets in the port district of Legazpi City. About two years later, the school had already expanded to what is now the AUL downtown campus along Peñaranda and Gov. Forbes Streets, this time renamed Legazpi College and offered elementary, secondary, vocational, tertiary, and graduate studies.

On July 1, 1965, Legazpi College became a Dominican educational institution; Rev. Fr. Ramon C. Salinas, O.P. was the first Rector. With a Dominican brand of education made available locally, enrollment grew; thus, to accommodate an increasing population, the College had to acquire a 32 hectare site in Rawis, two kilometers from the downtown campus. On March 7, 1966, the cornerstone of the first building in Rawis was laid. On March 8, 1968, the Honorable Secretary of Education Carlos P. Romulo elevated Legazpi College to the status of a university. On August 30, 1968, Honorable Acting Secretary of Education Onofre D. Corpuz signed the University Charter: Legazpi College would henceforth be known as Aquinas University, the first Catholic university in Southern Luzon.

Father Salinas was installed as the first Rector and President on February 3, 1969 and held the position until 1978. He was succeeded by Rev. Fr. Dr. Manuel T. Piñon, O.P. (1978-1984); Rev. Fr. Dr. Pedro V. Salgado, O.P. (1985-1988); Rev. Fr. Dr. Patricio A. Apa, O.P. (1988-1992); Rev. Fr. Dr. Orlando C. Aceron, O.P. (1992-1995); Rev. Fr. Dr. Virgilio A. Ojoy, O.P. (1995-1999); Rev. Fr. Dr. Ramonclaro G. Mendez, O.P. (1999-2011); and Rev. Fr. Dr. Ernesto M. Arceo, O.P. (2011-present).

AUL offers pre-elementary, elementary, and high school (General Curriculum, Special Program in the Arts, and PAASCU Level III-candidate Science High School), and twenty-three (23) programs (in the College of Arts, Sciences and Education; College of Business Management and Accountancy; College of Health Sciences; and College of Engineering, Architecture and Fine Arts), the newest of which are the UST-supervised BS Pharmacy and BS Medical Technology. The downtown campus hosts the College of Law, the Graduate School, and the Center for Continuing Education.

For more than 67 years of grateful passion and devotion to a life of truth and of love out of gratitude, Aquinas University of Legazpi has helped the youth and the young professionals of Bicol realize their full potential to soar high and soar beyond.

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