Ateneo de Manila University

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Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU) is a private university run by the Society of Jesus in the Philippines. Its main campus is located in Quezon City, Metro Manila. It offers programs at the elementary, secondary, college, graduate, and post-graduate levels in various fields such as the arts, humanities, business, law, social sciences, theology, and the pure and applied sciences.

It is one of only two schools in the country to receive Level IV accreditation, the highest possible level, from the Federation of Accrediting Agencies of the Philippines and the PAASCU. This mark of distinction is awarded to institutions which have distinguished themselves in a broad area of academic discipline and enjoy prestige and authority comparable to that of international universities.


The Ateneo Commitment: Faith that Does Justice

The Ateneo has grounded its vision and mission in Jesuit educational tradition. The university's vision-mission statement is summarized as follows:

"The Ateneo de Manila University seeks to foster the formation of men and women who critically examine the world around them, pursue excellence and leadership so as to go forth and develop solutions that beset society, and positively contribute to the development of the Filipino nation and the world at large."

The Ateneo has produced generations of capable and idealistic leaders who have played important roles in shaping and transforming the political, economic, and social life of the country, such as Jose Rizal, Horacio de la Costa, Claro M. Recto, Raul Manglapus, Soc Rodrigo, and Ninoy Aquino, and the many men and women in government, academe, private sector, and civil society.

The university is also largely involved in civic work, with projects such as the Ateneo-Mangyan Project for Understanding and Development and Bigay Puso at the Grade School, the Christian Service and Involvement Program, Banlaw immersion, and Tulong Dunong program for senior students, all at the High School, at the College, the many progams by the Office of Social Concern and Involvement such as builds with Gawad Kalinga and Kalinga Luzon, the Labor Trials Program which is tied in with juniors' Philosophy classes, and at the Professional Schools, projects such as the Graduate School of Business' Mulat-Diwa, the Leaders for Health Project, the Law School's Human Rights Center and Legal Aid programs, to name a few. Other projects include the Pathways to Higher Education program, a tie-up with the Ford Foundation which is a comprehensive response to the problem faced by academically-gifted by financially-underprivileged youth who who seek a college education. There are also programs by the Ateneo Center for Educational Development.


Ateneo de Manila University began in 1859 as a public primary school established in Intramuros for the city of Manila by Spanish Jesuits. However, the educational tradition of the Ateneo embraces a much older history, one intimately associated with the history of the Jesuits as a teaching order in the Philippines.

The first Spanish Jesuits arrived in the country in 1581. While primarily missionaries, they were also custodians of the ratio studiorum, the system of Jesuit education formulated about 1559. Within a decade, the Jesuits founded the Colegio de Manila (also known as the Colegio Seminario de San Ignacio), established in Intramuros in 1590 by the Jesuit Priest Antonio Sedeño, and formally opened in 1595.

In 1621, Pope Gregory XV authorized the San Ignacio, through the archbishop of Manila, to confer degrees in theology and arts. Two years later, King Philip IV of Spain confirmed the authorization, making the school both a papal and a royal university, thus the very first university in the Philippines and in Asia.

The Jesuits relinquished the San Ignacio to Spanish civil authorities in 1768 after their expulsion from Spain and the rest of the Spanish realm, including the Philippines.

Authorized by a Royal Decree of 1852, ten Spanish Jesuits arrived in Manila on 14 April 1859, nearly a century after the Society had been ordered to leave.

This Jesuit mission was sent mainly for missionary work in Mindanao and Jolo. Their reputation as educators, however, remained entrenched among Manila’s leaders. On 5 August, the Ayuntamiento or city council requested the Governor-General for a Jesuit school financed by public money.

On 1 October 1859, the Governor General authorized the Jesuits to take over the Escuela Municipal, then a small private school maintained for some 30 children of Spanish residents. Partly subsidized by the Ayuntamiento, it was the only primary school in Manila at the time Under the Jesuits, the Escuela eventually became the Ateneo Municipal de Manila in 1865, when it was elevated to an institution of secondary education. It offered the bachillerato as well as technical courses leading to certificates in agriculture, surveying, and business.

With the arrival of American colonial rule in the early 1900s, the Ateneo lost its government subsidy and became a private institution. The Jesuits removed the word “Municipal” from the school’s official name, and it has since been known as the Ateneo de Manila. In 1908, the colonial government recognized it as a college licensed to offer the bachelor’s degee and certificates in various disciplines, including electrical engineering.

American Jesuits took over the administration of the Ateneo de Manila in 1912. In 1932, under Fr. Richard O’Brien, third American rector, the Ateneo transferred to Padre Faura after a fire destroyed the Intramuros campus. In 1952, it moved to its present Loyola Heights campus even as the Padre Faura campus continued to house the professional schools.

The first Filipino rector, Fr. Francisco Araneta, was appointed in 1958. And in 1959, its centennial year, the Ateneo became a university.

The Padre Faura campus was closed in 1976. A year after, the University opened a new campus for its professional schools in Salcedo Village, in the bustling business district of Makati. In October 1998, the University completed construction of a bigger site of the Ateneo Professional Schools at Rockwell, also in Makati.


The Ateneo has three major campuses. The sprawling main campus is located in Loyola Heights in Quezon City. This campus is the place most of the students of the Ateneo, from elementary to the graduate level, attend. The Ateneo also has two other campuses located in Makati City, one in Rockwell and another in Salcedo. These two campuses are home to the Ateneo Professional Schools.

Loyola campus

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The Church of the Gesu

The main campus overlooks the Marikina Valley. It is located along Katipunan Avenue and is adjacent to Miriam College to the north. One kilometer further north is the University of the Philippines, Diliman. Loyola Heights is a mainly residential suburban community, whose development has flourished due to the presence of the Ateneo and the other schools in the area. Katipunan itself is a strip of commercial activity, with restaurants, bookstores, banks, and residential towers.

The different complices of the Grade School, High School, and Loyola Schools are located in the Loyola Heights campus. Beside the Grade School is the Henry Lee Irwin, S.J. Theater, where numerous productions and events are staged. Complimenting the old buildings of the Loyola Schools are the Science Education Complex as well as the PLDT Convergent Technologies Center-John Gokongwei School of Management complex.

Within this campus is the Rizal Library, the main university library. Also located here are numerous affiliated units and research centers such as the Institute of Social Order, Asian Public Intellectuals, and others. Also here is the East Asian Pastoral Institute, Loyola School of Theology, and San Jose Seminary.

Among the many buildings in the campus are the imposing Loyola Center, also known as the Ateneo Blue Eagle Gym and Moro Lorenzo Sports Center(MLSC). The Ateneo Gym is one of the largest gymnasiums among the universities in Metro Manila while the MLSC is one of the best sports facilities in the country, used by the Philippine National Team as well as other professional teams for their training needs.

The majestic Church of the Gesu, completed in July 2002, overlooks the campus. Other chapels include the St. Stanislaus Kostka chapel in the High School, the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception in the College complex's Gonzaga Hall, the chapel at the Loyola House of Studies, and the Chapel of the Holy Guardian Angels at the Grade School, among others.

The university has two on-campus dormitories for college students: Cervini Hall and Eliazo Hall. Conveniently located on the highest point in the campus, Cervini can accomidate 204 male students while Eliazo can house 164 female students. Other dormitories, which are also open to college and graduate school students are those of the Institute of Social Order and the East Asian Pastoral Institute.

Makati campuses

The Ateneo Graduate School of Business, Law School, and School of Government are located within the Rockwell compound in northern Makati City. The Ateneo Information Technology Institute is housed in the Salcedo campus, also in Makati City


Ateneo de Manila University is one of the many universities founded by the Jesuits all over the Philippines. Almost all of them are also named Ateneo. This particular university is divided into four schools, plus some other divisions.

Professional Schools

The professional schools are the graduate-level division of Ateneo de Manila. The Professional Schools offer masteral degrees, and the School of Law confers the Juris Doctor (JD) degree in lieu of the Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree.

In development is the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health, which will offer a joint MD-MBA program. The ASMPH will be working with the Medical City hospital.

Loyola Schools

The Loyola Schools is the tertiary level school unit of the Ateneo de Manila University that offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the Arts and Sciences. It operates under the statutes of the Ateneo de Manila University. It is composed of the School of Humanities, the John Gokongwei School of Management, the School of Science and Engineering, and the School of Social Sciences.

Degree Offerings

The Ateneo offers numerous concentrations and degrees for its students. On the undergraduate level, it confers degrees for Bachelor of Arts (AB), Bachelor of Science, and Bachelor of Fine Arts. It also confers the degrees for Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MS), and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees.


Aside from their major concentration subjects, all undergraduate students are required to take up subjects that form a multidisciplinary core curriculum. Unlike other schools which concentrate core curricular requirements, if any, in the first two years, the Ateneo's core curriculum is spread throughout the four or five year-long programs. Students are required to take up classes in the humanities, language courses, mathematics and the natural sciences, social sciences, and history. All students are required to take up classes in Filipino literature. Classes in philosophy and theology are the centerpiece of the core curriculum.

Centers of Excellence and Development for Excellence

Centers of Excellence (COEs) and Centers of Development (CODs) are institutions which, as identified by the Commission on Higher Education, have demonstrated the highest degree or level of standards along the areas of instruction, research and extension. They provide institutional leadership in all aspects of development in specific areas of discipline in the various regions by providing networking arrangements to help ensure the accelerated development of HEIs in their respective service areas.

COEs/CODs in the different disciplines were identified and carefully selected for funding assistance. Funds released to these centers were utilized for student scholarships, faculty development, library and laboratory upgrading, research and extension services, instructional materials development, and networking of existing COEs and CODs.

The Ateneo has Centers of Excellence in Biology, Chemistry, English, Mathematics, Literature Philosophy, Physics, Psychology, Sociology as well as Centers for Development in Business and Information Technology as of 2000

High School

The Ateneo de Manila High School is an exclusive, all-boys Catholic preparatory school.

The Ateneo de Manila High School campus features various facilities designed to give value-added support to the rigorous academic environment of the Ateneo. It features a library which provides access to numerous collections, both local and foreign, as well as educational CD-ROMs and other computer based materials.

The ITC, Instructional Technology Center, has two audio visual rooms and provides a wide variety of non-print materials for faculty and students. The Tanghalang Onofre Pagsanghan, the home of Dulaang Sibol, is a showcase for theatrical and musical presentations.

The Center for Math, Science and Technology which was blessed on 13 March 2003, features the science and computer laboratories of the school. It also has some multi-purpose interactive rooms.

The religious formation programs bring out the best in Ateneo students and these are constantly improving.

Finally, fine sports facilities and a green campus under blue skies make the Ateneo de Manila High School an excellent place for a young man to grow up to be a person of excellence.

Grade School

The Ateneo de Manila Grade School is an all-boys institution unlike the Loyola Schools which are co-educational.

Culture, sports, and traditions

Ateneo de Manila University is active in a number of inter-university sport activities, the most notable of which are the University Athletics Association of the Philippines (UAAP) sporting events. The school enjoys a healthy rivalry with De La Salle University.

The Ateneo Name

The name Ateneo is the Spanish form of Atheneum, which the Dictionary of Classical Antiquities defines as the name of “the first educational institution in Rome” where “rhetoricians and poets held their recitations.” Fr. Meany further explains that Hadrian’s Roman school drew its title from a Greek temple dedicated to Athena, the goddess of wisdom, where, the Encyclopedia Britannica says “poets and men of learning were accustomed to meet and read their productions.”

Atheneum is also used to designate schools and literary clubs, a famous example of which is the Atheneum Angelicum, a Dominican center of learning in Rome. Its closest English translation is academy, pertaining to institutions of secondary learning. In fact the Escuela Municipal de Manila became an Ateneo only after it began offering secondary education in 1865. It became known then as the Ateneo Municipal de Manila. But in the Philippines, the name Ateneo is not merely a common Spanish noun. The Society of Jesus established several other Ateneos since 1865, and over the years, the name Ateneo has become recognized as the official title of Jesuit institutions of higher learning.

When America withdrew government subsidy from the Ateneo in 1901, Father Rector Jose Clos, S.J. dropped municipal from the school name, and it became the Ateneo de Manila, a name it keeps to this day. And since its university charter was granted in 1959, the school has officially been called the Ateneo de Manila University.


What the Ateneo stands for—what shapes it, where it comes from, where it wishes to go, and where it can take the rest of the world—may be better understood through its motto, Lux in Domino: “Light in the Lord.” This is not the school’s original motto. The Escuela Municipal’s 1859 motto was "Al merito y a la virtud": “In Merit and in Virtue.” This motto persisted through the school’s renaming in 1865 and in 1901.

The motto Lux in Domino first appeared as part of the Ateneo seal introduced by Father Rector Joaquin Añon, S.J. for the 1909 Golden Jubilee. It comes from the letter of Paul to the Ephesians, 5.8:“For you were once in darkness, now you are light in the lord. Live as children of light, for light produces every kind of goodness, righteousness, and truth.”

The Ateneo de Manila Seal

In 1859, the Escuela Municipal carried the arms of the city of Manila, granted by King Philip II of Spain. By 1865, along with the change of name, the school's seal had evolved to include some religious images, such as the Jesuit monogram IHS and Marian symbols. In 1909, a revised seal was introduced, with clearer Marian symbols and the current motto, Lux in Domino.

For 20 years, the 1909 seal was used. It was a mark of clear distinction and historical prestige. But except for the Marian overtones, and a small IHS monogram, the seal contained little that spoke of the Ateneo’s thriving Jesuit academic tradition.

Father Rector Richard O’Brien, S.J. introduced a new seal for the Ateneo de Manila’s Diamond Jubilee in 1929. This seal abandons the arms of Manila and instead adopts a design that is thoroughly Ignatian and Jesuit in character. It is the seal the Ateneo uses to this day. 2004 marks the 75th year of this seal.

The Ateneo de Manila seal is defined by two semi-circular ribbons. The crown ribbon contains the school motto, “lux-in-domino”, and the base ribbon contains the school name, “ateneo de manila”. These ribbons define a circular field on which rests the shield of Oñaz-Loyola: a combination of the arms of the paternal and maternal sides of the family of St. Ignatius. (See the sidebar description.)

Above the shield is a Basque sunburst, referring to Ignatius' Basque roots, but also representing a consecrated host. It bears the letters IHS, the first three letters of the Holy Name of Jesus in Greek. an adaptation of the emblem of the Society of Jesus.

Many people erroneously believe that the Ateneo de Manila seal features the letters JHS. This misunderstanding stems from the peculiar rendering of the letters in the Ateneo de Manila seal. The letter I is drawn in a florid calligraphic style and conforms to the circle’s shape. It therefore appears similar to a J.

The seal’s colors are blue, white, red, and gold. In traditional heraldry, white or silver (Argent) represents a commitment to peace and truth. Blue (Azure) represents fortitude and loyalty. Red (Gules) represens martyrdom, sacrifice, and strength. Gold (Or) represents nobility and generosity.

White and blue are also the Ateneo’s school colors, the colors of Our Lady. Red and gold are the colors of Spain, home of Ignatius and the Ateneo’s Jesuit founders. Finally, these four tinctures mirror the tinctures of the Philippine flag, marking the Ateneo’s identity as a Filipino University.

Blue and White

The Ateneo has adopted the colors of Our Lady as its own school colors. The school colors are therefore signs of the Ateneo’s devotion to Mary and its commitment to become, like her, a constantly true and faithful servant of the Lord.

Marian blue, ultramarine, is the purest, most brilliant, and most enduring of blues. It is also the rarest and most expensive of pigments, and exceeds gold in value. The color must be extracted in tiny amounts from crushed lapis lazuli, a gem. Medieval artists therefore reserved blue for the robes of the Virgin and the Child Jesus. Mary is also Queen of Heaven and Star of the Sea, and appropriately, her color is also the color of sky and water. Sky blue symbolizes distance, divinity, and dreams; Marine blue, mystery, depth, intimacy. In Mary’s blue mantle, Heaven and Earth, depth and height, the divine and the human come together.

White is also a color of Mary, conceived without sin and clothed with the sun. It is at once colorless and yet bears the entire spectrum of color. White signifies silence, an emptiness and space that is pregnant with possibility. It is also the color of openness, of truth, of purity, and of hope.

Marian Devotion

Ateneans value symbols of devotion to Maria Purissima, Queen of the Ateneo. Among them are the rosary in the pocket, the blue October Medal of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, and the alma mater song “A Song for Mary”.

Blue Eagle

For the longest time during the National Collegiate Athletic Association competitions in the 1930s and earlier, the Ateneo had no mascot. The basketball team lorded it over the opposition, proudly carrying the school’s colors and name.

Meanwhile, Catholic Schools in the United States, particularly those named after saints, were distressed by the cheekiness with which they were mentioned in sports pages. Headlines read “St. Michael’s Wallops St. Augustine’s,” or “St. Thomas’ Scalps St. Peter’s.” It was then agreed that each school adopt a mascot, a symbol for the team which sportswriters could toss about with impunity and which would consequently allow the saints to live in peace.

The idea quickly caught on in the Philippines. By the late 30s, the Ateneo had adopted the Blue Eagle as a symbol, and had a live eagle accompany the basketball team.

The choice of mascot, of course, held iconic significance. It was a reference to the “high-flying” basketball team which would “sweep the fields away;” the dominating force in NCAA. Furthermore, there was some mythological—even political—significance to the eagle as a symbol of power.

In On Wings of Blue, a booklet of Ateneo traditions, songs, and cheers published in the 1950’s, Lamberto Javellana writes:

“The Eagle—fiery, majestic, whose kingdom is the virgin sky, is swift in pursuit, terrible in battle. He is a king—a fighting king… And thus he was chosen—to soar with scholar’s thought and word high into the regions of truth and excellence, to flap his glorious wings and cast his ominous shadow below, even as the student crusader would instill fear in those who would battle against the Cross. And so he was chosen—to fly with the fleet limbs of the cinder pacer, to swoop down with the Blue gladiator into the arena of sporting combat and with him to fight—and keep on fighting till brilliant victory, or honorable defeat. And so he was chosen—to perch on the Shield of Loyola, to be the symbol of all things honorable, even as the Great Eagle is perched on the American escutcheon, to be the guardian of liberty. And so he was chosen—and he lives, not only in body to soar over his campus aerie, but in spirit, in the Ateneo Spirit… For he flies high, and he is a fighter, and he is King!”

The eagle also appears in the standards of many organizations, schools, and nations as a guardian of freedom and truth. It is also worthwhile to note that the national bird of the Philippines is an eagle as well.

Dante in his Divine Comedy uses the Eagle as a symbol of the Roman Empire, which used the bird as part of its standard. The Romans considered the eagle sacred to Jupiter himself. To this day, the eagle is often seen as the bird of God, the only bird that could fly above the clouds and stare directly at the sun. In fact, the eagle represents St. John, the Evangelist, in honor of the soaring spirit and penetrating vision of his gospel.

The Ateneo's Cheering Tradition

The Ateneo’s success in athletics was renowned even before the NCAA began. Intense games were fought before rather disorganized and rambunctious Atenean spectators. To help cheer the Ateneo squad on, the Jesuits decided that the Ateneo ought to have some sort of organization in its cheering. As a result of their effort, the Ateneo introduced organized cheering to the country by fielding the first-ever cheering squad in the Philippines.

The Ateneo was a proud pioneer. There were even arguments about how the Ateneo’s brand of cheering is both unique and rooted in classical antiquity. In the 1959 Ateneo Aegis, Art Borjal argues:

“It all started about 2,000 years ago along the Via Appia in Rome. The deafening cheers of Roman citizens, lined along the way, thundered in the sky as the returning victorious warriors passed by…The type of cheering that the Ateneo introduced was, in a way, quite different from that of the Romans. When the warriors came home in defeat, the citizens shouted in derision and screamed for the soldiers’ blood. To the Atenean, victory and defeat do not matter much. To cheer for a losing team that had fought fairly and well is as noble, if not nobler, than cheering for a victorious squad.”

The words of some of the cheers seem incomprehensible or derived from an exotic tongue. Loud, rapid yells of “fabilioh” and “halikinu” mean to rally the team and to intimidate and confuse the enemy gallery. Meanwhile, fighting songs help inspire the team, and to “roll out the victory.” The united crowd, a Blue Babble Battalion, enlivens the team “under banners of white and fair blue.”

Ateneo de Manila Hymn: Song for Mary

Before Ateneo de Manila moved to Loyola Heights, the school anthem was "Hail Ateneo, Hail", a marching tune. However, with the campus' move from Padre Faura to Loyola Heights, the school hymn was changed to "Song for Mary", written by Fr. James Reuter.

The tune is adapted from Calixa Lavallée's hymn "O Canada", composed in 1880. It is commonly believed that Ateneo copied the music of Canada's national anthem. However, "O Canada" was adopted as Canada's national anthem in 1980, four decades after Ateneo de Manila adopted "Song for Mary" as its alma mater song.

Noted alumni and professors

External links

Official web sites

Professional schools





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