The University of Mindanao is the largest private, non-sectarian university in Mindanao located in Davao City on the Southern Philippine island. Established in 1946, the University of Mindanao has ten branches spread over thirteen campuses in Southern Mindanao. It is currently an Autonomous Status per CEB Resolution No. 076-2009 with Category A (t) per CMO No. s. 2009 standing accredited by Commission on Higher Education (CHED). Its Business Administration and Information Technology programs were Centers of Development (COD) and its Teacher Education program was considered as a Center of Excellence (COE) by CHED. It is considered as the best Education (All Level III by PACUCOA rating in each major subject) and Engineering School in Davao in terms of numbers of board passers. It is the largest private university in Mindanao and one of the first top five schools with a highest number of programs accredited by PACUCOA in the country today.
In the midst of rebuilding the ruins of World War II, Atty. Guillermo E. Torres constructed the institution that would provide the education for socially, morally, economically knowledgeable, productive and responsible citizenry of the country. His undying faith and enthusiasm pushed him to convince his friends in Manila and new acquaintances to fulfill this vision.
The realization of the dream marked history when the Mindanao Colleges was incorporated on July 27, 1946. During the first year of operation, classes were held in four rented rooms of the Borgaily Building along San Pedro Street in Davao City. Thirteen teachers were hired and there were 381 enrollees. Dr. Efigenia C. Occeña was the Acting Coordinator. The permitted courses were originally the six year complete Elementary Course, two-year Secondary Course (1st and 2nd years), two-year Elementary Teacher Certificate, two-year Associate in Commercial Science, and two-year Associate in Arts. To accommodate the increasing number of enrollees, the Board of Trustees decided to buy Club Royale along Legaspi Street and renovated it to suit classroom requirements. New parcels of land were purchased along Bolton and Bonifacio Street which is the present location of the main campus and Embassy Area respectively. The University’s influence increased with the establishment of the Mindanao Collegian, the first free campus paper in Mindanao. It became the training grounds of the Davao newspaper men, a lot of them front liners of the city’s local publications up to this date. The student-editors from the early days of the Mindanao Collegian are now the “who’s-who” in Mindanao’s media, government and business zeitgeist.
Foreign linkages were sparked when Atty. Torres left for the US for a sponsored study tour on May 1955. These bondages broaden the UM’s scope and help it gear up for more challenging global competitiveness. Some of them were the University on the Air(1971); sister university agreements with the John Dewey International University Consortium of America, New York City and the Fongchia College of Engineering and Business of Taipei, Taiwan.
As its aim of providing “education for all,” UM became popular not only among middle classes but also to those poor but deserving young dreamers. The Open Education Program in the early 70s enabled the institution to help the poor but deserving college undergraduates employed in the business and factory sites and self-employed to earn a college education. From being the humble Mindanao Colleges in Bolton, it blossomed into the University of Mindanao on December 21, 1966, and has spawned 10 more branches to the outlying province in 1948 in Digos, Bangoy, Peñaplata, Tagum (1950), Guianga (1952), Ilang-Tibungco (1951), Panabo (1951), Bansalan (1962), Cotabato (1959), Toril, and a sprawling learning ground in Matina. UM is the first non-sectarian university in Mindanao. The development of the Matina Campus with new infrastructure side by side with the improvement of the University’s image through accreditation with the PACUCOA was pursued with vigor by its founders and the UM family. As the revered historian Josefina C. San Pedro said it, “As each fresh graduate faces the brave new world, equipped and ready, let it be always being remembered that this was how he (Guillermo E. Torres, Sr.) envisioned things to be.” His vision of “education for all” is now well entrenched in the university that is continually responsive to the development of the country.
His dream lives on with each passing year, deeply rooted in the continuing history of the University of Mindanao as its graduates meet the challenges of the future.” Keeping the torch burning is something education never ceases to pass. Its members serve as guiding light for those who desire to learn and improve the quality of life. From one man’s vision, the hope of the nation and future of the young dreamers who come to UM’s halls lie.
The official student publication of the university is Primum, the Latin term for first. Its predecessor, the Mindanao Collegian, has been producing top-caliber editors, journalists and columnists in the entire region.
The University of Mindanao Broadcasting Network (UMBN) is a commercial broadcasting company in Visayas and Mindanao founded in 1949 in Davao City. It runs AM & FM Stations in Mindanao while its affiliate, Ditan Communications runs the Visayas FM Stations. In Davao City, its flagship stations are DXUM 819 kHz. in the AM band and DXWT Wild FM 92.3 MHz.