SPUP Through the Years
St. Paul University Philippines (SPUP) was founded on May 10, 1907, as Colegio de San Pablo, by the Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres, (Mother Ephrem Marie Fieu, Sr. Suzanne du Sacre Coeur Cran, Sr. Agnes de Sainte Anne Couplan, and Sr. Jeanne de St. Louis Bourrelly, Sr. Marie Angeline Acau and Postulant Sr. Ste. Foy de Sacre Coeur Sacramento) who came to Cagayan Valley upon the invitation of Bishop Dennis Dougherty. The school’s name was changed to Colegio del Sagrado Corazon de Jesus in 1909, then to Sacred Heart of Jesus Institution (SHOJI) in 1925. The school started in a Spanish Convento, adjoining the Cathedral, but due to increase of enrollment and curricular expansion, the community moved to the Colegio de San Jacinto and its grounds in 1934 (where the University stands today) which the SPC Sisters acquired from the Dominican Order.
The school served as military garrison and hospital of the Japanese forces in 1941. The entire complex was razed to the ground during the Liberation in 1945. The school assumed the name St. Paul College of Tuguegarao (SPCT) in 1948 and became the first Teacher-Training Institution in Cagayan Valley. With the opening of college degrees, the school became the first accredited institution in the region by the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (PAASCU) in 1961. However, the entire complex was reduced into ashes on January 18, 1965. Despite the challenges, SPUP became the first University and Catholic University in the Cagayan Valley region in 1982.
In its efforts towards innovative and global education, SPUP gained the distinction of being the First Private Catholic University in Asia and the First Private University in the Philippines granted an ISO 9001 Certification by TUV Rheinland in 2000 and one of the Universities in the Philippines accredited by the Asian Association of Schools of Business International (AASBI) since 2014. SPUP has also been selected, as one of only 16 Universities in the Philippines, by World Bank as a Knowledge for Development Center (KDC). For its exemplary achievement as an Innovative Private School, SPUP was honored as a Netizen’s Choice Awardee in the 2021 Philippine Social Media Awards in recognition of its strong online presence, positive ratings and reviews, and responsible use of social media platforms as its marketing tools. Moreover, SPUP was ranked 38th by the World’s Universities with Real Impact (WURI) on Ethical Value because of its innovative program in creating real value to society and providing opportunities along social responsibility, ethics, and integrity. Consequently, it also ranked SPUP among the Top 101-200 Innovative Universities in the world in 2021.
The pioneering Internationalization initiatives of the University have fostered opportunities for SPUP academic community. With the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) designating the University as one of the 12 participating schools in the entire country for the ASEAN International Mobility for Students (AIMS) programme, SPUP endeavored breakthroughs for its students and teachers along academic exposure and exchange, work and travel, and cultural immersions in various countries across the world. As a result, the University was declared the Third Prize winner in the First Philippine Higher Education Internationalization Award by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the University of Philippines Open University (UPOU) in 2021. The recognition advanced the stature of SPUP as an International University. Currently, the international community in SPUP, comprising of international and exchange students and professors, is continuously growing, while its international linkages and partnerships are extensively expanding.
In its endeavors to foster sustainable development through quality education, the UNESCO Associated Schools Project Network (ASPNet) has recognized SPUP as its affiliate-school in the country. Moreover, for its integrated undertakings towards environmental stewardship and care for creation, SPUP was conferred the Most Environment-Friendly and Sustainable School in Region II by the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB). Along community development and service learning, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) awarded SPUP Community Development Center as the Best Non-Government Organization in Luzon in 2019 for its contribution in improving the lives as well as in providing better opportunity for the poor, vulnerable and marginalized sectors of the community. In 2020, SPUP won the Prince Talal International Prize for Human Development by Arab Gulf Programme for Development (AGFUND) in recognition of its efforts towards the realization of the Sustainable Development Goal on Zero Hunger.
In the evangelization of faith and promotion of arts and culture, SPUP instituted a proactive ecumenical approach towards intercultural and interfaith differences due to the increasing population of international students. The creative approach “to where faith and culture meet” responds to the challenges of internationalization where the academic community is strongly rooted in the Catholic beliefs, respectful of others’ creed and culture. In 2012, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) identified SPUP as a Catholic Center for Culture, for its collaborative undertaking to conserve the patrimony of the Church and to promote greater awareness of the Church’s heritage through education, worship, and the Sacraments. Moreover, in 2014, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) bestowed SPUP a Historical Marker in recognition of its contribution in the historical development of Cagayan Valley in the fields of education and public service. In 2018, the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) has designated SPUP as a Regional Arts Center for its efforts in promoting arts and culture, showcasing artistic excellence, and fostering public participation in the arts.
Today, SPUP is recognized as an Autonomous Institution by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED); Center of Excellence in Nursing; Center of Excellence in Teacher Education; Center of Development in Information Technology; Center of Teacher Training Institution; the first PAASCU-accredited Integrated Basic Education Unit in Cagayan Valley; a deputized institution for the Expanded Tertiary Education Equivalency Accreditation Program (ETEAAP); Most Outstanding Student Services in the Philippines; Outstanding Research/Academic Library in the Philippines; an associate member of the Asian Association of Open Universities; an accredited school by the Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities Commission on Accreditation (PACUCOA) for its Graduate School; a delivering Higher Education Institution for Graduate Studies for the K-12 Transition Program; and its School of Medicine is listed in the World Health Organization’s (WHO) World Directory of Medical Schools.
Through the years, SPUP continuously provide a holistic and high-quality education that is value-based, technology-enabled, and sustainable. As it offers basic to graduate school education, SPUP has advanced its teaching-learning process and its digital transformation of educational services towards the integral formation of the human person. SPUP remains committed in making a difference by preparing and forming its students and graduates to be God-loving responsible citizens who can contribute to nation-building and shape a peaceful, just, sustainable, and better world.