HomePhilippiniana Sacravol. 46 no. 136 (2011)

Which Is the Oldest University? Revisiting the Conflicting Claims of the University of Santo Tomas,Manila and University of San Carlos, Cebu in Light of the Historyof Seminario (Mayor) de San Carlos of Cebu

Aloysius Lopez Cartagenas



The historical fact that the University of Santo Tomas in Manila is the oldest university in the Philippines if not in Asia has been contested by repeated claims of the University of San Carlos in Cebu City. While earlier studies by Villarroel, O P and De la Goza, CM have convincingly shown that the latter claim is wrong, this paper would nonetheless like to offer additional evidence and further clarifications. The earliest roots of the University of San Carlos in Cebu is not the Jesuit Colegio de San Ildefonso of 1595 but the Seminario de San Carlos which, under the Vincentian Fathers, began to admit lay students in 1867. The year 1867, not 1595 as claimed, appears to be the auspicious beginning of an educational institution that would later become a university.