Ateneo de Manila University

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Ateneo de Manila University

Motto Lux in Domino ("Light in the Lord")
Established 1859
Type Private, Jesuit University
President Fr. Bienvenido Nebres, S.J.
Undergraduates Approx. 7,500
Postgraduates Approx. 3,000
Location Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines
Campus 1.2 km² (Loyola Heights campus)
Hymn A Song for Mary
Colors Blue and white
Nickname Ateneo Blue Eagles
Mascot Blue Eagle

The Ateneo de Manila University (also called "Ateneo de Manila" or simply "the Ateneo") is a private university run by the Society of Jesus in the Philippines. Its main campus is located at Loyola Heights in Quezon City, Metro Manila. It offers programs in the elementary, secondary, undergraduate, and graduate levels. Its academic offerings cover various fields, including the Arts, Humanities, Business, Law, the Social Sciences, Theology, and Pure and Applied Sciences. Aside from teaching, the Ateneo de Manila also engages in extensive research and social outreach work.

It is one of the only two universities in the Philippines to receive the Level IV accreditation--the highest possible level--from the Federation of Accrediting Agencies of the Philippines and the PAASCU. It received its Level IV accreditation on June 2004.


The Ateneo de Manila University operates from several campuses in Metro Manila, with each campus housing different academic and research units. Several thousand faculty members serve a diverse student body of different ages in different academic levels, from elementary to postgraduate. The Loyola Schools have around 7,500 undergraduate students and around 3,000 graduate students making the Ateneo small, in terms of population, relative to many other Philippine universities.

The University began in 1859 when the City of Manila turned over the Escuela Municipal, a public primary school in Intramuros, to Spanish Jesuits. The school took on the name Ateneo when it began offering secondary education in 1865, and it has since grown into a university engaging in teaching, research, and social outreach. Its academic programs are geared toward research coupled with praxis and real-world output through which the university and its community engage social problems, especially in areas of national development.

The Ateneo commitment

The Church of the Gesu
The Church of the Gesu

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

"A Filipino, Catholic, and Jesuit university, the Ateneo de Manila aims to form men and women for others who critically examine their world and pursue excellence and leadership in order to solve social problems and to drive sustainable, inclusive, and empowering human development in the Philippines and the world at large."

Grounded on the Jesuit educational tradition of engagement with the world at large, the university is deeply involved with civic work. Social involvement is not merely extra-curricular, but a key part of Ateneo education.

Some of the Ateneo's social projects include the Ateneo-Mangyan Project for Understanding and Development (AMPUD) and Bigay Puso in grade school; and the Christian Service and Involvement Program, Damay Immersion, and Tulong Dunong program for senior students in high school. In college, social development is fostered by many programs of the Office of Social Concern and Involvement, including house-builds with Gawad Kalinga and the Labor Trials Program tied into junior Philosophy classes. Various student organizations and offices of the Loyola Schools also operate their own social involvement programs.

At the Ateneo Professional Schools, programs and units like the Graduate School of Business' Mulat-Diwa, the Leaders for Health Program, the Law School's Human Rights Centre and Legal Aid programs aim to form leaders for the frontlines.

Other Ateneo initiatives include Pathways to Higher Education, a comprehensive response to the problem faced by academically-gifted by financially-underprivileged youth who seek a college education; and the Ateneo Centre for Educational Development (ACED), which conducts highly effective national teacher and principal training programs.

The centerpiece social program of the university is its university-wide social action program, its partnership with Gawad Kalinga, which, to date, has helped build communities and schools in Payatas, Quezon City and in many Nueva Ecija municipalities. GK-Ateneo has also driven Kalinga Luzon, the massive rehabilitation effort for victims of the late 2004 Luzon typhoons, GK Youth-Ateneo, arguably the largest and most active student social program of the Ateneo, and Kalinga Leyte, an ongoing program which aims to provide long-term rehabilitation for the victims of the Southern Leyte landslide.


Presidents and Rectors of the
Ateneo de Manila University
Fr. Jose Fernandez Cuevas, S.J., 1859 – 1864
Fr. Juan Bautista Vidal, S.J., 30 July 1864 – 1868
Fr. Pedro Bertran, S.J., 11 June 1868 – 1872
Fr. Jose Lluch, S.J., 04 September 1871 – 1875
Fr. Juan Bautista Heras, S.J., 21 August 1875 – 1881
Fr. Pablo Ramon, S.J., 01 January 1881 – 1886
Fr. Miguel Roses, S.J., 06 February 1886 - 1894
Fr. Miguel Sedarra Mata, S.J., 11 February 1894 – 1901
Fr. Jose Clos, S.J., 09 June 1901 - 1905
Fr. Joaquin Añon, S.J., 11 December 1905 - 1910
Fr. Joaquin Villalonga, S.J., 31 October 1910 - 1916
Fr. Marcial Sola, S.J., 28 May 1916 - 1920
Fr. Juan Villalonga, S.J., 29 July 1920 - 1921
Fr. Francis X. Byrne, S.J., 15 June 1921 – 1925
Fr. James J. Carlin, S.J., 24 July 1925 - 1927
Fr. Richard A. O'Brien, S.J., 11 August 1927 - 1933
Fr. Henry C. Avery, S.J., 30 July 1933 – 1937
Fr. Carroll I. Fasy, S.J., 26 February 1937 - 1941
Fr. Francis X. Reardon, S.J., 25 April 1941 – 1947
Fr. William F. Masterson, S.J., 14 May 1947 – 1950
Fr. James J. McMahon, S.J., 15 March 1950 - 1956
Fr. Leo A. Cullum, S.J., 31 July 1956 - 1959
Fr. Francisco Araneta, S.J., 15 June 1959 – 1965
Fr. James F. Donelan, S.J., 02 July 1965 – 1969
Fr. Pacifico A. Ortiz, S.J., 01 May 1969 - 1970
Fr. Francisco Araneta, S.J., 15 November 1970 - 1972
Fr. Jose A. Cruz, S.J., 12 August 1972 - 1984
Fr. Joaquin G. Bernas, S.J., 01 April 1984 – 1993
Fr. Bienvenido Nebres, S.J. , 01 April 1993 - Present

The Ateneo de Manila is governed by a Board of Trustees, currently chaired by alumnus Manuel V. Pangilinan. A central administration, led by the University President, Fr. Bienvenido Nebres, S.J. , oversees key initiatives related to academics, international programs, university development and alumni relations, personnel, security, and other university-wide concerns.

Individual units and departments are usually led by a vice president, with the exception of the basic education units, led by a director who oversees the leadership of both the High School's principal and the Grade School's headmaster. The Loyola Schools and Professional Schools are led by their respective vice presidents, who oversee school deans, who in turn oversee department chairs and program directors.

Admissions and financial aid

Individual schools such as the Loyola Schools, the Ateneo Professional Schools, and the Ateneo Grade School and High School handle their own admissions. Admission into one unit does not guarantee admission into another unit.

The Ateneo receives thousands of applications from all over the country every year. Applications from foreigners to the college and graduate school programs are quite common. In 2005, the Loyola Schools admitted 2,023 freshmen, a figure larger than the projected average of 1,800 freshmen from recent years. 20% of the entering class was composed of valedictorians (83), salutatorians (62), and honorable mention graduates (277).

The university also extends financial aid to students. Scholarships are available in all academic units, with funding coming from the university, third parties, and donations made by alumni, the government, and the private sector. The Loyola Schools offer Merit Scholarships for the top scorers in the Ateneo College Entrance Test (ACET), and the San Ignacio Merit Scholarships are given to top ACET takers from public high schools.

University units

The Ateneo de Manila University is composed of school units and auxiliary units. Affiliated units contribute to the work of the different school and auxiliary units, facilitating the work of learning, teaching, research, and social involvement. Individual units enjoy a considerable amount of autonomy from the central administration.

Professional Schools

The Ateneo Professional Schools (APS) is the main professional education division of Ateneo de Manila.

The Professional Schools offer degrees such as Master of Business Administration and Master of Arts, and the School of Law confers the Juris Doctor (JD) degree in lieu of the Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree. The Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health, which opens in 2007, will offer an integrated Doctor of Medicine and Master of Management program. The Professional Schools also confer certificates for short courses.

  • AGSB-BAP Institute of Banking
  • Ateneo Graduate School of Business
  • Ateneo Information Technology Institute
  • Ateneo School of Government
  • Ateneo School of Law
  • Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health
  • Centre for Continuing Education

Loyola Schools

Xavier Hall, the administration building
Xavier Hall, the administration building

The Loyola Schools offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the arts and sciences. It is composed of four colleges, the School of Humanities, the John Gokongwei School of Management, the School of Science and Engineering, and the School of Social Sciences.

The current Vice-President for the Loyola Schools is Professor Ma. Assunta C. Cuyegkeng (PhD Chemistry, U. Regensburg). She replaced Professor Anna Miren Gonzales-Intal (PhD Psychology, Yale University), who will return to teaching. Vice-President Cuyegkeng assumed the post last April 1, 2006.

The Loyola Schools' programs are geared toward student-centeredness. The Ateneo was one of the first schools in the Philippines to enact a Magna Carta for Undergraduates.

High school

The Ateneo de Manila High School is a Catholic preparatory school for male students.

The campus features various facilities such as a library, the Instructional Technology Centre, the Tanghalang Onofre Pagsanghan ( Dulaang Sibol), and a large athletics complex with one of the largest school-based covered courts facility in the country. In 2003, the High School opened a new building called the Centre for Math, Science and Technology (commonly known as "MST"), which contains the school's science and computer laboratories and the faculty room for the Science and Math teachers.

The High School is also known for religious formation programs, such as the Christian Service and Involvement Program (CSIP), which comprises the Dungaw-Exposure Trip for freshmen, Damá-Christian Service Program for sophomores, and the Damay Immersion and GK Programs for juniors. Other religious formation activities include the Tulong Dunong program for seniors, recollections and retreats. The Ateneo High School is notable for being the first school to hold sessions of Days with the Lord.

The current principal is Fr. Raymund Benedict Q. Hizon, S.J.. His assumption of the post marks the first time a Jesuit has held the position since Carmela C. Oracion was appointed principal from 1998-2006.

Grade school

The Ateneo de Manila Grade School is an elementary school for boys with a current average population of 4000 students. It has facilities and classrooms for students from the preparatory level to the seventh grade. It is an integral part of the Ateneo de Manila University governed by its own by-laws and administrative set-up. Its current headmaster is Fr. Jose Moises T. Fermin, S.J.

Auxiliary units and Research Centers

  • Ateneo Art Gallery
  • Ateneo Centre for Asian Studies
  • Ateneo Centre for Economic Research and Development
  • Ateneo Centre for Educational Development
  • Ateneo Centre for English Language Training
  • Ateneo Centre for Organization Research and Development
  • Ateneo Centre for Psychological and Educational Assessment
  • Ateneo Centre for Social Policy and Public Affairs
  • Ateneo Information Design Studio
  • Ateneo Institute of Literary Arts and Practices
  • Ateneo Java Wireless Competency Centre
  • Ateneo Language Centre
  • Ateneo Macroeconomic Research Unit
  • Ateneo-PLDT Advanced Network Testbed
  • Ateneo Research Network for Development
  • Ateneo Teacher Centre
  • Ateneo de Manila University Press
  • Ateneo Wellness Centre
  • Centre for Communication Research and Technology
  • Centre for Community Services
  • Governor Jose B. Fernandez Ethics Centre for Business and Public Service
  • Institute of Philippine Culture
  • John Gokongwei School of Management Business Accelerator (SOMBA)
  • John Gokongwei School of Management Business Resource Centre
  • Konrad Adenauer Asian Centre for Journalism (ACFJ)
  • National Chemistry Instrumentation Centre
  • Ninoy and Cory Aquino Centre for Leadership
  • Pathways to Higher Education-Philippines
  • Philippines-Australia Studies Network
  • Ricardo Leong Centre for Chinese Studies

Affiliate units

Affiliate units are allied institutions which may or may not formally be part of the Ateneo de Manila, but which are based in an Ateneo campus, and support or augment the work of the university in various fields.

  • Arrupe International Residence
  • Asian Public Intellectuals Fellowships
  • Ateneo Union Office
  • Centre for Family Ministries Foundation (CEFAM)
  • Centre for Leadership & Change, Inc. (CLCI)
  • China Office
  • East Asian Pastoral Institute (EAPI)
  • Faculty Housing
  • Gaston Z. Ortigas Peace Institute (GZOPI)
  • Health Alternatives for Total Human Development Institute (HealthDEv Institute)
  • Institute of Social Order (ISO)
  • Institute on Church and Social Issues (ICSI)
  • ISO Canteen
  • Jesuit Basic Education Commission
  • Jesuit Communications Foundation (JesCom)
  • Jesuit Music Ministry (JMM)
  • Jesuit Residence
  • Jesuit Volunteers Philippines
  • Loyola House of Studies
  • Loyola School of Theology
  • Manila Observatory
  • Office of Joaquin G. Bernas, S.J.
  • Partnership of Philippine Support Agencies
  • Philippine Development NGOs for International Concern
  • Philippine Institute of Pure and Applied Chemistry (PIPAC)
  • Program for Cultural Cooperation
  • San Jose Major Seminary
  • Sentro ng Alternatibong Lingap Panligal (SALIGAN)
  • Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan
  • Social Service Centre
  • Society of Jesuit Social Apostolate (SJSA)
  • Ugnayan at Tulong para sa Maralitang Pamilya Foundation (UGAT Foundation)
  • Vietnam Service Office

International programs

A souvenir shop and cashiers at Xavier Hall
A souvenir shop and cashiers at Xavier Hall

The Ateneo has growing international linkages with universities, institutions, and organizations from all over the world, particularly in Asia, Australia, North and South America, and Europe. Through these cooperative efforts, the university hosts visiting faculty and research fellows from institutions abroad, and in turn, Ateneo faculty members also engage in teaching, research, and study in institutions abroad.

International cooperation also includes active student exchange through Philippine immersion programs for a month or two for small groups of 15-18 students or full study programs wherein students from partner institutions abroad take regular courses.

The Loyola Schools also offers students an opportunity to study abroad under a student exchange program during their undergraduate or graduate years. Students engage in either semestral or yearly study or exchange programs in partner universities abroad. Students of the John Gokongwei School of Management and the Fine Arts Program of the School of Humanities can also sign up for the Junior Term Abroad program, wherein they will spend a semester in one of the Ateneo's partner schools for undergraduate business studies.


Early history

The founding of the Ateneo de Manila University finds its roots in the history of the Society of Jesus as a teaching order in the Philippines.

The first Spanish Jesuits arrived in the Philippines in 1581 as missionaries. They were custodians of the ratio studiorum, the Jesuit system of education developed around 1559. Within a decade of their arrival, the Society, through Fr. Antonio Sedeño, founded the Colegio de Manila (also known as the Colegio de San Ignacio) in Intramuros in 1590. The San Ignacio formally opened in 1595, and was the first school in the Philippines.

In 1621, Pope Gregory XV, through the Archbishop of Manila, authorized the San Ignacio to confer degrees in theology and arts and elevated it into a university. In 1623, Philip IV of Spain confirmed the authorization, making the school both a pontifical and a royal university, and the very first university in the Philippines and in Asia.

However, by the mid-18th century, Catholic colonial powers, notably France, Portugal, and Spain, had grown hostile to the Society of Jesus because the Jesuits actively educated and empowered colonized people. The Society was particularly notorious for encouraging indigenous people to seek self-governance. Because of this, the colonial powers eventually expelled the Society, often quite brutally, from their realms.

In 1768, the Jesuits surrendered the San Ignacio to Spanish civil authorities following their suppression and expulsion from Spain and the rest of the Spanish realm, including the Philippines. Under pressure from Catholic royalty, Pope Clement XIV formally declared the dissolution of the Society of Jesus in 1773.

Pope Pius VII reinstated the Society in 1814, after almost seven decades of persecution and over four decades of formal suppression. However, the Jesuits would not return to the Philippines until 1859, almost a century after their expulsion.

19th century

Through an 1852 Royal Decree from Queen Isabella II, ten Spanish Jesuits arrived in Manila on 14 April 1859, nearly a century after the Jesuits left the Philippines. This Jesuit mission was sent mainly to do missionary work in Mindanao and Jolo.

Because of the Jesuits' entrenched reputation as educators among Manila’s leaders, on 5 August the Ayuntamiento or city council requested the Governor-General to found and finance a Jesuit school using public funds. On 1 October 1859, the Governor-General authorized the Jesuits to take over the Escuela Municipal, a small private school maintained for some 30 children of Spanish residents. Ten Spanish Jesuit priests and a Jesuit brother began operating the school on 10 December 1859. The Ateneo de Manila University considers this date its foundation day.

Partly subsidized by the Ayuntamiento, the Escuela was the only primary school in Manila at the time. The Escuela eventually changed its name to Ateneo Municipal de Manila in 1865, when it became accredited as an institution of secondary education. It began by offering the bachillerato or bachelor's degree, as well as courses leading to certificates in agriculture, surveying, and business.

After Americans occupied the Philippines in the early 1900s, the Ateneo de Manila lost its government subsidy from the city and became a private institution. The Jesuits removed the word Municipal from the school’s official name soon after, and it has since been known as the Ateneo de Manila.

In 1908, the American colonial government recognized the Ateneo de Manila's college status and licensed its offering the bachelor’s degee and certificates in various disciplines, including electrical engineering. The Ateneo campus also housed other Jesuit institutions of research and learning, such as the Manila Observatory and the San Jose Major Seminary.

Early 20th century

American Jesuits took over Ateneo administration in 1912. Fr. Richard O’Brien, the third American rector, led the relocation of the San Jose Major Seminary in Padre Faura, Ermita after a fire destroyed the Intramuros campus in 1932.

Devastation hit the Ateneo campus once again during World War II. Only one structure remained standing – the statue of St. Joseph and the Child Jesus which now stands in front of the Jesuit Residence in the Loyola Heights campus. Ironwork and statuary salvaged from the Ateneo ruins have since been incorporated into various existing Ateneo buildings. Some examples are the Ateneo monograms on the gates of the Loyola Heights campus, the iron grillwork on the ground floor of Xavier Hall, and the statue of the Immaculate Conception displayed at the University Archives.

But even if the Ateneo campus had been destroyed, the university survived. Following the American liberation, the Ateneo de Manila reopened temporarily in Plaza Guipit in Sampaloc, Manila. The Padre Faura campus reopened in 1946 with Quonset huts serving as buildings among the campus ruins.

In 1952, the university, led by James Masterson, S.J., moved most of its units to its present Loyola Heights campus. Controversy surrounded the decision. An Ateneo Jesuit supposedly said that only the "children of Tarzan" would study in the new campus. But over the years, the Ateneo in Loyola Heights has become the centre of a dynamic community. The Padre Faura campus continued to house the professional schools until 1976.

Fr. Francisco Araneta, S.J. was appointed as the Ateneo de Manila's first Filipino Rector in 1958. In 1959, its centennial year, the Ateneo became a university.

Late 20th century

The following decades saw escalating turbulence engulf the university as an active movement for Filipinization and a growing awareness of the vast gulf between rich and poor grip the entire nation. Throughout the 1960s, Ateneans pushed for an Ateneo which was more conversant with the Filipino situation and rooted more deeply in Filipino values. They pushed for the use of Filipino for instruction, and pushed the university to implement reforms that addressed the growing social problems of poverty and injustice. During that time, the Graduate School split into the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the Graduate School of Economics and Business Administration, which eventually became the Graduate School of Business.

In 1965, Fr. Horacio de la Costa, became the first Filipino Provincial Superior of the Philippine Province of the Society of Jesus. On September 25, 1969, Pacifico Ortiz, S.J., was installed as the first Filipino President of the Ateneo de Manila.

Ateneans also played a vital role as student activism rose in academe in the 1970s. Students faced university expulsion and violent government dispersal as they protested the dismissal of dissenting faculty and students, oppressive laws and price hikes, human rights violations, and other injustices. On September 21, 1972, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law. The university administration had great difficulty reconciling the promotion of social justice and keeping the university intact. They locked down on the more overt expressions of activism--violence and miltancy--and strived to maintain a semblance of normalcy as they sought to keep military men from being stationed on campus.

In 1973, Jesuit Superior General Fr. Pedro Arrupe called for Jesuit schools to educate for justice and to form "men and women for others." The Ateneo college opened its doors to its first female students in that same year.

The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences moved to Loyola Heights in 1976, and the Padre Faura campus finally closed in 1977 as the Graduate School of Business and the School of Law moved to H.V. de la Costa St. in Salcedo Village, Makati. That same year, the Ateneo, then the ‘winningest’ school in men's basketball, left the NCAA, which it co-founded, due to violence plaguing the league.

In February 1978, the Ateneo opened the Ateneo-Univac Computer Technology Center, one of the country’s pioneering computer centers. This later became the Ateneo Computer Technology Centre.

On August 21, 1983, Ateneo alumnus Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr. was assassinated upon his return from exile in the United States. Ateneans continued to work with sectors such as the poor, non-government organizations, and some activist groups in the dying years of the martial law era. On February 11, 1986, alumnus and Antique Governor Evelio Javier was gunned down. Two weeks later, Ateneans joined in the peaceful uprising at EDSA which ousted Ferdinand Marcos.

Recent history

In 1987, nine years after the Ateneo joined the University Athletics Association of the Philippines (UAAP), the university went on to win its first crown in UAAP men’s basketball. The Blue Eagles won a second straight title in 1988.

In 1991, the Ateneo joined in relief operations to help the victims affected by the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo. That same year saw the School of Law phased out its Bachelor of Laws degree and conferring the Juris Doctor degree.

In 1994, the Ateneo was one of the first Philippine schools on the Internet, and was part of the conference that connected the Philippines to the world wide web. In 1996 the Ateneo relaunched the Ateneo Computer Technology Centre as the Ateneo Information Technology Institute and established the Ateneo School of Government. In 1998, the Ateneo’s Rockwell campus, which would house the Graduate School of Business and the School of Law, rose in Bel-Air, Makati, while the Science Education Complex was completed in the Loyola Heights campus.

The Science Education Complex
The Science Education Complex

In 2000, the School of Arts and Sciences which comprised the College and the Graduate School restructured into four Loyola Schools: the School of Humanities, the John Gokongwei School of Management, the School of Science and Engineering, and the School of Social Sciences. The completion of the Moro Lorenzo Sports Complex in Loyola Heights bolstered the sports program. Midway through the year, high school alumnus and Philippine President Joseph Estrada faced grave corruption charges. The Ateneo hosted KOMPIL II and other organizations and movements, as members of the university community gathered in force at the Jericho March at the Senate and other mass actions.

In 2001, after a second popular uprising at EDSA, Ateneo alumna and former Economics faculty member Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was sworn in as the 14th President of the Philippines, overthrowing Estrada. In May, she would face another uprising EDSA sparked by Estrada supporters, who protested his arrest on plunder charges. Arroyo quelled the uprising, but political uncertainty would continue to plague the nation throughout her administration.

In April 2002, the Office of the President established Pathways to Higher Education-Philippines with the help of the Ford and Synergeia Foundations. In July, on the feast of St. Ignatius, the University Church of the Gesù finally rose in the Loyola Heights campus, and was consecrated by Jaime Cardinal Sin. The year also saw the Blue Eagles end a 14-year drought in men's basketball.

In 2003, the Ateneo adopted its first formal, university-wide social action program, its partnership with Gawad Kalinga, a movement initiated by Couples for Christ that aims to eliminate poverty and build a new Philippines by building respectable homes and caring communities for the poor. In November 2004 typhoons and flooding devastated Luzon and the rest of the Philippines, even as tsunamis ravaged most of southeast Asia. In response, the Ateneo community launched its disaster relief program, Task Force Noah, which has continued to contribute to disaster relief and rehabilitation efforts in areas that include Calatagan in Mindoro and Guinsaugon in Southern Leyte. The Ateneo also earned the highest possible accreditation status, Level IV, from the Federation of Accrediting Agencies of the Philippines and the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (PAASCU). That same year, the Ateneo de Manila celebrated its 145th anniversary, and the 145th anniversary of the return of Jesuit education in the Philippines as it launched the countdown to its sesquicentennial, its 150th anniversary in 2009.

In January 2005, as typhoon relief efforts wound down, the Ateneo, Gawad Kalinga, and other partners launched Kalinga Luzon (KL). KL is a program dedicated to the long-term rehabilitation of typhoon-stricken communities in Luzon. 2005 also saw the rise of initiatives such as the Social Involvement Workshops and other fora, especially in light of the political crisis sparked by allegations of President Arroyo's cheating in the 2004 presidential elections. The Ateneo also established more tie-ups and foreign linkages, as well as prepared efforts leading to the development of the Leong Centre for Chinese Studies in the university.

In early 2006, members of the Ateneo de Manila University and affiliated Jesuit institutions continue to be at the forefront of movements calling for discernment, action, and sustainable solutions to the deeply divisive political issues that continue to rock Filipino society. The Ateneo de Manila University also intensified its social development efforts, launching Kalinga Leyte, a program for the long-term rehabilitation of Southern Leyte, with its GK partners. The Ateneo has also expanded the scope of its involvement with Gawad Kalinga and has begun to drive GK initiatives throughout Nueva Ecija, and in other provinces such as Cotobato and Quezon.


Loyola Heights campus

Overlooking the Marikina Valley, the main campus is located in Loyola Heights, along the eastern side of Katipunan Avenue, and is south of and adjacent to the campus of Miriam College.

The Grade School, High School, and Loyola Schools are located in the Ateneo's Loyola Heights campus. Beside the Grade School is the Henry Lee Irwin Theatre, built in 1996 to house the school's formal events and productions. Complementing the old buildings of the Loyola Schools are the Science Education Complex, as well as the PLDT Convergent Technologies Centre-John Gokongwei School of Management Complex.

Within this campus is the Rizal Library, the main university library. The library houses one of the largest collections in the Philippines, and has among its holdings key collections such as the American Historical Collection, the Ateneo Library of Women's Writings, the Pardo de Tavera a large collection of Filipiniana and rare books, electronic materials, bound and electronic journals and periodicals, and an assortment of microfiche materials. Near Rizal Library are the University Archives.

Also located here are numerous units and research centers affiliated with the Ateneo, such as the Institute of Social Order, Institute of Philippine Culture, Institute on Church and Social Issues, Asian Public Intellectuals Fellowships, the Philippine Institute for Pure and Applied Chemistry, the Jesuit Communications Foundation, the Jesuit Basic Education Commission, and others. Also situated here are the East Asian Pastoral Institute, Loyola School of Theology, and San Jose Seminary, all Jesuit formation institutions all federated with the Ateneo de Manila University. The Manila Observatory is also located on campus.

Among the buildings in the southern part of the campus is the Loyola Centre, also known as the Ateneo Blue Eagle Gym, and at the north end stands the Moro Lorenzo Sports Centre (MLSC). The Ateneo Gym is one of the largest gymnasiums among the universities in Metro Manila while the MLSC is often used by the Philippine National Basketball Team as well as other professional teams for their training needs.

The Church of the Gesu, completed in July 2002, overlooks the campus. The school's 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 in the Grade School, among others. Though strictly speaking not a part of the University but standing on its campus, San Jose Major Seminary also has a chapel. Moreover, walking distance from the University Campus are two parish churches: the Our Lady of Pentecost Parish Church and the Madonna della Strada Parish Church. The latter parish includes the university in its territory.

The university has two on-campus dormitories for college students: Cervini Hall and Eliazo Hall. Located near the Loyola Schools, Cervini accommodates approximately two hundred male students, while Eliazo houses one hundred and sixty female students. Other dormitories which are also open to college and graduate school students are those of the Institute of Social Order, Arrupe International Residence, and the East Asian Pastoral Institute.

The Ateneo de Manila is also home to the largest Jesuit community in the Philippines, most of whom reside at the Jesuit Residence in the Loyola Heights campus. These Jesuits are involved in teaching, administration, and research within the University and others work with other affiliated units.

Rockwell Centre campus

The Rockwell Center campus of the Ateneo de Manila University houses the Ateneo Professional Schools, namely the School of Law, Graduate School of Business, School of Government, AGSB-BAP Institute of Banking, and the Ateneo Centre for Continuing Education.

The campus was donated by the Lopez Group of Companies to the Ateneo de Manila University. The Rockwell structure houses the different faculty departments, classroom and teaching facilities, several research centers, a moot court facility, and the Ateneo Professional Schools Library.

Salcedo campus

The Salcedo campus houses the different facilities of the former Ateneo Information Technology Institute (AITI) and the Ateneo Centre for Continuing Education (CCE).

Ortigas campus

Opening in 2007 is the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health in Ortigas. The ASMPH will be working with an adjoining partner hospital, The Medical City.

University traditions

The Ateneo name

The word and name Ateneo is the Spanish form of Athenæum, which the Dictionary of Classical Antiquities defines as the name of "the first educational institution in Rome" where "rhetoricians and poets held their recitations." Hadrian’s school drew its name from a Greek temple dedicated to Athena, the goddess of wisdom. The said temple, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, was where "poets and men of learning were accustomed to meet and read their productions."

Athenæum is also used in reference to schools and literary clubs. The closest English translation is academy, referring to institutions of secondary learning. The Escuela Municipal de Manila actually became the Ateneo Municipal only after it began offering secondary education in 1865.

The Society of Jesus in the Philippines established several other schools, all named Ateneo, since 1865, and over the years, the name "Ateneo" has become recognized as the official title of Jesuit institutions of higher learning in the Philippines.

When the United States withdrew subsidy from Ateneo in 1901, Father Rector Jose Clos, S.J. dropped the word municipal from the school name, which then became Ateneo de Manila, a name it keeps to this day. Since its university charter was granted in 1959, the school has officially been called the Ateneo de Manila University.

Lux in Domino

The Ateneo's motto is Lux in Domino, meaning "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."


In 1859, the Escuela Municipal carried the coat of 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 some Marian symbols. A revision was introduced in the school's golden jubilee 1909 with clearer Marian symbols and the current motto, Lux in Domino. This seal was retained for 20 years.

Father Rector Richard O’Brien, S.J. introduced a new seal for Ateneo de Manila’s diamond jubilee in 1929. This seal abandons the arms of Manila and instead adopts a design that uses mostly Jesuit and Ignatian symbols. This is the seal currently used by Ateneo.

The seal is defined by two semi-circular ribbons. The crown (top) ribbon contains the school motto, "Lux-in-Domino", while the base (bottom) 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.

In precise heraldic terms, the Shield of Oñaz-Loyola may be described as: "Party per pale: Or, seven bendlets Gules; Argent, a two-eared pot hanging on a chain between two wolves rampant." In plain English, the shield is gold, and divided vertically. To the viewer's left is a field of gold with seven red bands. These are the arms of Oñaz, Ignatius' paternal family, which commemorates seven family heroes who fought with the Spaniards against 70,000 French, Navarese, and Gascons. To the viewer's right is a white or silver field with the arms of Loyola, Ignatius' maternal family. The arms consist of a two-eared pot hanging on a chain between two rampant wolves, which symbolize the nobility. The name "Loyola" is actually a contraction of lobos y olla (wolves and pot). The name springs from the family's reputation of being able to provide so well that they could feed even wild wolves.

Above the shield is a Basque sunburst, referring to Ignatius' Basque roots, and also representing a consecrated host. It bears the letters IHS, the first three letters of the Holy Name of Jesus in Greek, and an adaptation of the emblem of the Society of Jesus. Many erroneously believe that the Ateneo de Manila seal features the letters JHS. This stems from the peculiar rendering of the letters in the Ateneo de Manila seal. The letter I is drawn in a florid calligraphic style that conforms to the circle’s shape. It therefore appears similar to a J.

Both scalloped and unscalloped versions of the seal are extant. Since scallops are not formally a part of a seal's design in traditional heraldry, they are merely a decorative element applied for aesthetic or nostalgic purposes.

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 Ateneo’s school colors, the colors of Mary. 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.

Marian devotion

Ateneans value symbols of devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Maria Purissima, Queen of the Ateneo. Among them are the rosary in the pocket, the October Medal (the Miraculous Medal of the Immaculate Conception with a blue ribbon), and the graduation hymn, "A Song for Mary."

In official Jesuit documents (e.g., Catalogus Provinciae Philippinae Societatis Jesu), the Ateneo de Manila is also referred to as the "University of the Immaculate Conception BVM", the Immaculate Conception being the official patron of the University. This is why the eighth of December, the Solemn Feast of the Immaculate Conception is always a school holiday although the University community honours her liturgically a few days before or after the feastday itself.

"A Song for Mary"

Before the Ateneo de Manila moved to Loyola Heights, the school anthem was "Hail Ateneo, Hail," a marching tune.

When the Ateneo moved from Padre Faura to Loyola Heights in the 1950s, the school adopted "A Song for Mary" as its graduation hymn. Fr. James Reuter wrote the lyrics, and Ateneo band moderator Captain Jose Campana composed the melody, adapted from the 1880 composition of Calixa Lavallée's hymn " O Canada," which Canada adopted as its national anthem in 1980.

Over the decades, the graduation hymn eventually supplanted "Hail Ateneo, Hail" and is now widely considered the Ateneo de Manila's alma mater song.

Colors: blue and white

The Ateneo has adopted blue and white, the colors of its patron Mary, as its official school colors. Marian blue is traditionally ultramarine, a deep ocean blue tincture derived from lapis lazuli, which historically has been used to colour the vestments of Mary in paintings. But since Mary is honored as Stella Maris (Star of the Sea) and Queen of Heaven, various shades of blue, such as royal blue and sky blue are acceptable shades of Marian blue as well.


The Ateneo de Manila University is a member of the University Athletics Association of the Philippines, where it fields teams in all events. It was also a founding member of the National Collegiate Athletics Association in the 1920s. The Ateneo left the NCAA in 1978 due to the league-wide violence prevalent at the time, and then joined the UAAP in the same year.

Aside from the UAAP, the Ateneo also participates in the Father Martin Cup, the Home and Away tournament, and the Shakey's V-League. Different university units also field teams in leagues such as RIFA (football), PAYA and PRADA (basketball), the Inter-MBA Friendship Games, various inter-university golf tournaments, and so on. The Ateneo also fields teams to the Jesuit Athletic Meet, an athletic meet of the different Jesuit schools in the Philippines.

Mascot: The Blue Eagle

Prior to the 1930s, Ateneo had no mascot. Meanwhile, Catholic Schools in the United States, particularly those named after saints, were distressed by the cheekiness with which they were mentioned in newspapers' 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.

The idea quickly caught on in the Philippines. By the 1930s, the Ateneo adopted Blue Eagle as a symbol, and had a live eagle accompany the basketball team.

The choice of the colour blue is clearly based on the Ateneo's colors. The choice of an eagle holds iconic significance. It is a reference to the "high-flying" basketball team which would "sweep the fields away" as a dominating force. 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 1950s, 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." 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 ancient Romans considered the eagle sacred to Jupiter himself. The eagle is often seen as the bird of God, the only bird that can fly above the clouds and stare directly at the sun. This is also why it represents St. John the Evangelist, in honour of the "soaring spirit and penetrating vision of his gospel."

The national bird of the Philippines is, incidentally, an eagle.

Cheering tradition

The Ateneo de Manila was rather successful in athletics even before the NCAA began. To help cheer the Ateneo squad on, the Jesuits decided that the Ateneo ought to have some sort of organization in its cheering. The Ateneo then introduced organized cheering to the country by fielding the first-ever cheering squad in the Philippines, which is now known as the Blue Babble Battalion.

The Ateneo was a proud pioneer, arguing about how the Ateneo’s brand of cheering is both unique and rooted in classical antiquity. In the 1959 Ateneo Aegis (the college yearbook), 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 language. Loud, rapid yells of "fabilioh" and "halikinu" to intimidate and confuse the enemy gallery. Meanwhile, fighting songs help inspire the team to "roll up a victory".

Notable alumni and professors

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