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Universidad de Sta Isabel
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A. Our Roots and Milestones
Born and nurtured from the hearts of two great saints, Sts. Vincent de Paul and Louise de Marillac, the Universidad de Sta. Isabel (USI), formerly Colegio de Sta. Isabel (CSI) now on its fourth year as the only university of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul in the world, has the distinct honor and claim to 137 years of educational service to Bicol.

A Royal Order from Queen Isabela II of Spain gave it its mission, and six Daughters of Charity: Sisters Francisca , Crisologo , Ignacia , Juana , Rita and Antonia sailed over rough seas and plodded through forest trails "to make a dream come true."

Founded on November 5, 1867 by Most Rev. Bishop Francisco C. Gainza, O.P. , then Bishop of Caceres, the school was opened to paying and non-paying students as the Royal Order specified. A Royal Decree signed on January 11, 1872, by Amadeo of Saboya, raised the Colegio de Sta. Isabel to "Escuela Normal de Maestras", thus making CSI the first teacher training institution in the Philippines and in the Far East.

At the turn of the 20 th century, the Colegio de Sta. Isabel received government recognition for its Primary Course (1913), its Intermediate Course (1916), its Secondary Course (1924), Secondary Home Economics Course (1932), Music Teachers Course in Piano (1939), and Junior Normal Course (1940).

For a brief moment (1940-41) and at the request of the Bishop, the Colegio admitted boys whose school was closed due to the war. When CSI was used as Japanese headquarters, classes were held in the convento of the Cathedral and the Archdiocesan Seminary. On January 12, 1946 , the first post liberation graduation was held with sixty students. Reconstruction of the war-torn campus began to accommodate more students.

Incarnating the Education, Health, Social and Pastoral Ministries of the Daughters of Charity through its time-tested instruction, extension and Catholic formation offerings, the century-old institution has preserved its Vincentian and Marian character as a quality center of learning in Bicolandia.

B. Post-war Education Ministry and Academic Growth
From a basically teacher-training institution, CSI opened courses which responded to the changing educational needs of Bicol and the nation. The College Department for many years concentrated on the education of women towards Bachelor degrees in Secondary Education (1950), Elementary Education (1955), Bachelor of Arts (1957), Music Education (1960) and Home Economics (1963). Its graduates were much sought after in the primary and secondary schools both public and private.

The decade of the 50's saw the growth of Colegio de Sta. Isabel as a premier school for girls in the region. Opportunities for curricular and co-curricular growth came through the students' participation in the academic, athletic and cultural contests held annually by the Bicol Association of Catholic Schools (BACS). Numerous awards and championship trophies for elementary, high school and college departments fill the university museum in recognition of excellent performance. In many homes of three generations of Isabelinas, are gold, silver and bronze medals, which carry the signs of consistent academic excellence. The school for girls excelled not only in academics and the performing arts. Isabelinas competed in athletics and won championships in the provincial and regional levels. The well-trained WAC (Women Auxiliary Corps) delighted the fiesta-goers with the much-awaited military parades for which they won top awards for many decades. The CSI Women Auxiliary Corps retired from the annual festivities as undefeated champions.

In the performing arts, the Department of Music led the annual productions of operettas and musicals during the fifties to the sixties. Stage productions like Queen by the Grace of God, Glass Menagerie, Desire of All Nations, Madame Butterfly, Antigone, and Broadway musicals like Annie, the King and I, Sound of Music, Flower Drum Song, and many more.

Events worldwide especially in the area of women's rights opened more challenges to the all-girls school. To answer the need for short courses for young girls seeking employment, the Junior Secretarial Course was offered in 1957. With more women moving into the productive employment in business, the College Department opened its Bachelor of Management and Information System in 1963.

While the Elementary and High School Department grew in stability, the College Department especially in the Education Course experienced decrease in enrolment sometime in the mid 70's and 80's.

With the advancement in technology and growth in industries, Computer Technology and a Course in Entrepreneurship were opened in 1993. Responding to the threats to environment in the 90's, a Bachelor's degree in Human Ecology and Environmental Science opened in 1996 and a Bachelor of Science in Biology started in 1998.

In recognition of the quality education that the institution offered, the Daughters of Charity ventured into higher learning. Founded on small beginnings, the Graduate School was granted recognition in July 1968. It offered courses for Master of Arts in Education with majors in Administration and Supervision, Guidance and Counseling, Filipino, Reading , Music Education and Religious Education. In 1989, majors in Maternal and Child Nursing, Community Health Nursing were approved specializations. With an increasing enrolment in Social Work, the graduate school opened its Masters in Social Work 1994 and Masters in Management in 1995.

In 1996, it began to offer Doctorate in Philosophy in Human Development Management, Master of Arts in Nursing, Master in Science in Social Work, and Master in Management.

Today, the university takes pride in having gathered several national awards such as Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines (TOSP), the first awardee being Sr. Julma C. Neo, DC , now the General Councillor of the DC for Asia , residing at the DC Mother House in France . Student leaders both in College and HS have also brought honor to themselves and the school through the Knights of Rizal Model Students of the Philippines, Bayer Philippines Envoy to Germany, Rotary Exchange Scholars' Program, Ayala Young Leaders qualifiers, placers in national licensure examinations e.g. Nursing, Physical Therapy, and other achievements.

In the mid-seventies, with a thrust for community extension work, the Community Development Office was renamed the Community Extension Services (CES). This office augmented the commitment of the DC and the school to the poor and marginalized, which from the early years focused on the Marillac Home for the Elderly and the urban poor communities.

The spirit of the mid-80's to the 90's brought about significant changes in the life of the school. Qualified teachers eventually were given positions of responsibility in the management level. Three prominent alumni and faculty members were appointed to the Board of Trustees. It was an era of lay empowerment. Deans and Department Heads were given autonomy in managing their department.

Aware of the increasing poverty of families and taking cognizance of the need of a growing number of working youth, the Night High School was opened in 1998 with 11 students as its first enrollees. Mrs. Josephine Ensano has served the department as the High School Principal since then. In 2003, the first 18 graduates were granted their USI diploma together with the day High School. Today the Night High School Students number two hundred sixty (260).

C. Development of Health Education
In fidelity to the Health Ministry of the Daughter of Charity, the Pre-Nursing course began in SY 1954-55 with the students completing their Nursing Course at the San Juan de Dios Hospital in Metro Manila.

On May 7,1966 , through the initiative of Sr. Imelda Espiritu, DC, the turnover of ownership of the Naga Medical Center from its founder became final. Honoring the memory of Sr. Elizabeth Seton, Foundress of the DC in America , the acquired Medical Center was named Mother Seton Hospital . The College of Nursing received its full recognition in 1972 and the Department of Social Work in 1973. With a decline in the need for nurses, the need for a bigger hospital with better facilities was conceived. Construction of a new Mother Seton Hospital on Roxas Avenue , started in 1990 and it was inaugurated on July 6, 1991 .

Health-related courses were eventually applied for and approved, namely, Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics (1987) and Physical Therapy (1996).

D. The University Life: The Promise of the Future
With a whole range of curricular offerings from Pre-School to Graduate School , and with consistent high standards of teaching, the school was granted a university status on Nov. 17, 2001 with Sister Justine I. Rosales, DC as the first President. Its Higher Education Department was granted a deregulated status in 2002 by the CHED. On January 30, 2002 , the College of Medicine was opened. This infant college broke new ground and strengthened the Health Ministry of the Daughters of Charity. This development has given birth to the direction of merger with the Mother Seton Hospital and the renovation of the first Mother Seton compound. Unfortunately, the College of Medicine closed in April 2004 due to financial constraints.

As a 2-year-old university in the heart of Bicol, USI leads in the St. Louise de Marillac Education System (SLMES) and is an active member of the PAASCU, ACUP, CEAP and ASEACCU.

In July 25, 2005 , Sister Asuncion G. Evidente, DC was appointed the second USI President. At the helm, the President shares responsibility with the Servant Leadership Team (SLT) for Caceres Cluster with Sr. Myrna C. Bas, DC, Sr. Dolores C. Cornejo, DC, Sr. Elizabeth F. Ysaac, DC, Sr. Manileña A. Libo-on, DC and Sr. Elsie Nasayao, DC as members.

The Board of Trustees of the University is headed by Sr. Ma. Teresa L. Mueda, DC, Provincial of the Daughters of Charity, Philippine Province, as Chairperson, Sr. Elizabeth Ysaac, DC as Secretary, and Sr. Manileña A. Libo-on, DC as Treasurer. The rest of the Board are Sr. Asuncion G. Evidente, DC (USI President), Sr. Lourders L. Albis, DC, Sr. Mary Anne G. Evidente, DC, Sr. Teresita A. Abastillas, DC, Sr. Dolores C. Cornejo, DC, Rev. Msgr. Jonie Aguirre, HP, and Atty. Sabino R. Padilla. Jr.

Today, under the leadership of its President, Sr. Asuncion G. Evidente, DC, the University is expanding. With a total population of over 6,000 with 3,185 in the Higher Education level, 2,559 students in the Basic Education Department and 260 in the Night High School Department. The departments are served by almost 50 mid-level administrators, 276 BED and HED faculty members, 92 non-teaching staff, a maintenance department of 36 and a DC Community with eighteen (18) professed Sisters.
Main Campus: Elias Angeles St. Naga City, 4400 Philippines
Contact Person:
Tel No:
(054) 473-8417/ 473-8442/ 473-8471/ 473-9954
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