Among the things Mons. Rosales discovered in his new diocese was the lack of Catholic institution of higher learning. In December of 1946, he went about trying to address the problem by looking for a religious congregation who would be interested to run his envisioned Catholic college, but he found none. It was then that Mons. Rosales took notice of the two mission schools set up by the missionaries of the SVD (Societas Verbi Divini) in the northern towns of Tubigon and Inabanga. The two mission schools here were headed by a young American SVD missionary, Fr. Alphonse Lesage.
Summoning Fr. Lesage to Tagbilaran, Bishop Rosales broached to him the offer for the Society to run his envisioned school. Fortunately, the offer was accepted by the congregation. Thus in July of 1947, Holy Name College, a diocesan school under the supervision of the SVD Fathers, opened its doors with 919 enrollees. A local church dignitary, Mons. Gelacio Ramirez, scion of a landed Tagbilaran family, offered a large downtown building for use as a school. Fr. Alphonse Lesage, SVD, became its first Rector.
In July 1948, Holy Name College was given full government recognition for a four-year high school, general secondary; in July 1950, for the first to fourth year Liberal Arts, first to fourth year Bachelor of Science in Education, and a complete elementary department. On June 15, 1953, the College of Law was also given government recognition. In June 1955, the Collegiate Home Economics (BSHE) and the Bachelor of Science in Commerce (BSC) were given government recognition, and on June 19, 1957, the Secretarial and the Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education (BSEED) were also granted the same. In the succeeding years, more course offerings of Holy Name College were given government recognition such that by the 1960s Holy Name College had earned the distinction of producing quality graduates that soon supplied the work force of establishments within and outside Bohol.
In 1964, the SVDs succeeded in negotiating for the full transfer of ownership of Holy Name College from the Diocese of Tagbilaran. To mark its change in ownership the school was renamed Divine Word College of Tagbilaran (DWCT), as with almost all schools all over the country owned by the Society. It would be known under this name for the next 37 years. In 1965, a brand-new four-storey concrete building was inaugurated in campus. It also purchased a nearby house and lot that soon served as the home of the ever-expanding Elementary Department. It was also around this time that DWC received government recognition for the four-year BSEED-HE, a four-year and a five-year night secondary education, and for Master of Arts, major in Guidance and Counseling, and a two-year course in engineering.
In 1970, the long succession of American rectors was broken when Fr. Leo D. Ortiz, SVD was appointed as the first Filipino president of the school. Fr. Ortiz organized the Academic Council along with other functional committees to go with the time for reforms and changes. Also organized were the salary and the student affairs committees. Fr. Ortiz also started the implementation of programs for faculty development.
By the late 70s, DWCT already felt real congestion in the main campus. The time had come for it to expand. It was its second president, Fr. Teodoro P. Gapuz, SVD who led the search for a new and bigger area for campus expansion. He found it in Dampas, an outlying district – a 7.2 hectare property that in 1982 would see a new building rise in the middle of wild brushland and open country. In October of the same year, the High School Department transferred here in a campus named Janssen Heights. Fourteen years later, other departments would be relocated here.
Fr. Romeo P. Bancale, SVD took the helm of administration after Fr. Teodoro P. Gapuz, SVD starting school year 1984-1985. During his term, Divine Word College was granted Level I accreditation by the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (PAASCU), for the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Teachers’ College, and the College of Commerce. This Level I status was awarded to these three colleges starting SY 1984-1985 up to SY 1986-1987. Fr. Bancale led the school in obtaining re-accreditation for five years from SY 1987-1988 to SY 1992-1993, this time on Level II accredited status with the same accrediting agency.
In 1993, when Fr. Florante S. Camacho, SVD became the sixth president of DWCT, he started in earnest the effort to apply for university status. To prepare the school for this eventuality, Fr. Camacho reorganized and strengthened the Research Center, worked for partnerships and linkages with outside institutions, such as the Ateneo Social Weather Stations and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), as well as with the Provincial Government of Bohol. Conscious of the school’s crucial role in community development, Fr Camacho also established in 1997 the Office of Cultural Affairs and Development to spearhead cultural development not just in campus but also with the wider community outside.
Significant strides were also made in the school’s quest for excellence. During Fr. Camacho’s second term of office in school year 1996-1997, two engineering programs were opened: computer, and electronics and communications engineering. Computer Science was made a separate college not anymore attached to the College of Commerce. There were then eight collegiate departments of the school, namely Arts and Sciences, Education, Commerce and Accountancy, Engineering, Nursing, Computer Science, Law, and the Graduate School.
The Graduate School also expanded its programs. Ph.D. in Education, major in Educational Management got its government recognition in 1998. More fields of concentration were added to the master’s program.
In 1996, the administration decided to construct a two-storey building in the new school site, Janssen Heights, Dampas District dedicated to the memory of Fr. Joseph Bates, SVD, one of the pioneer administrators of then Holy Name College. This was first used by the Elementary Department and the College of Education. By school year 1999-2000, the elementary building accommodated the College of Education and the College of Engineering.
DWCT’s enrollment reached its peak in school year 1997-1998, the golden Jubilee year. The highlight of Fr. Camacho’s second term of office (1996-1999) was the Golden Jubilee Celebration in August 1997. It was a well-attended and well-applauded week-long affair which included such memorable activities as the reunion of former and current teachers and employees, and the culmination of the year-long search for outstanding alumni. The golden jubilee parade was the most colorful in DWCT’s history. The alumni homecoming brought together young and not-so-young graduates from practically all over the Philippines and abroad.
The Administration made an earnest effort for DWCT’s quest for university status on January 29, 1996 when the application for change of status was submitted to the CHED. By October 1996, the CHED sent a team to assess the school’s readiness for conversion to a university status. Among the stringent recommendations of CHED was the need for the school to acquire Level III accredited status. Also emphasized was the improvement of faculty academic qualifications and the involvement of the faculty and staff in research and community extension.
The story of Holy Name University is, of course, not all about buildings and recognition of courses. It also tells about the devotion, loyalty, sacrifices, and successes of its faculty, students, administrators, and the entire Holy Name University Community. It is a story of high achievement.
Graduates of the College of Education obtained high passing rates in board examinations for teachers. The average passing rate for five years from 2010-2015 exams in the elementary and secondary levels is 49.75% and 46.67% while that of the national level is 29.33% and 31% respectively. In 2000, Jean Cuadra Cañete got the 4th place and in 2001, Jose Pabalan III got the third place. Jaremilleta Arawiran capped the 5th place in the 2003 exam, Janess Marie C. Encarnado 7th place in 2007, and Maria Jane Ebua 8th in 2010. More examinees topped the examination for teachers in the succeeding years – Vanessa Marie Baygan in April 2011; Gracellie R. Laroda in September 2011; and Josephus Anthony C. Buma-at in September 2012. In the March 2013 examination, HNU made its landmark achievement when four of the examinees topped – Christine Abigail P. Andoy, Rez Guiller A. Ongcoy, Charito M. Sayson and Creslie Jean D. Palanca got the 3rd, 6th, 7th, and 10th places respectively. The achievement was repeated in the March 2015 examinations when Flora Mae M. Batausa and Jofel M. Butron emerged as 5th and 9th placers respectively.
In 2007, the CHED recognized the College of Education as Center of Training for Teachers. On May 17, 2016, the same commission recognized the college as Center of Development in Teacher Education and in 2019, the Professional Regulations Commission recognized the same college as a provider for Continuing Professional Education in Teacher Education.
The CPA board exams in the early years placed the school in the national limelight. Romualdo Murcia III copped the first place in the October 1997 exam. Earlier in the May 1997 exam, May Solera got the 7th place and Evelyn Cabanos, the 19th place. In the October 2000 exam, Jerone Tabanera got the 6th place. In the October 2002 exam, Melvin Lopena got the 15th place. In May 2006, Warren Yap got the 2nd place and in October 2011, Abraham Apit took the 6th place in the same examination. In July 2014, HNU made another remarkable feat in the same examination. It posted a 100 percentage of passing of its first takers. From 2010 to 2015, the average national passing percentage was 38.37% while HNU’s was 65%.
A landmark achievement of the College of Law was in 1969 when Atty. Oscar B. Glovasa topped the bar exams. In the same exam, Atty. Jose M. Mesina also of DWCT, got the 11th place. Although no other bar topnotchers were produced in the succeeding years, yet, DWCT consistently produced lawyers every year. For two successive years in 1993 and 1994, the DWCT Law School was ranked as one among the top five performing law schools all over the country.
The College of Engineering had several board topnotchers. Engr. Rodnie Melgar got the 5th place in the ECE exam in 2000; Engr. Ramon Gualberto, Jr. got the 6th place in the 2001 and Engr. Leah T. Decasa was 8th in 2010. In the May 2006 Civil Engineering exam, Engr. Andres Santiago made it to the 8th place after he first took and passed the Master Plumber Licensure Exam in September 2005 where he got the 4th place. On the average, the percentage of passing in CE from 2010-2015 is 58.64% while that of the national level is only 40.03%.
The average passing percentage of the nursing graduates in the board examinations for the last five years is 54.17%. This is higher than the national average which is 41.85%. Several graduates were board topnotchers, among them: Janet Cabahug, 7th place in 1988; Ruleo Bantugan, 10th place in 1992. The school continued to record a high performance of graduates in the nursing licensure examinations where Emily Tan got the 8th place in the June 2006 examination, John Vincent Lim Omo, 9th in 2008, Judith Cuadra 10th in 2011, Nymfa Fatima Suello 9th in 2014 and Krissa Mae Lapiz was 6th in 2015.
Human resource development was given a big boost. During the first year of Fr. Camacho’s term, only 20 percent of the college faculty had the master’s/doctor’s degree. This percentage moved up to 44% by school year 1998-1999. This paved the way for complying with the requirement for university status.
In February 1999, the accredited colleges of the school were again subjected to the formal survey for PAASCU reaccreditation. By August 1999 Level II re-accredited status was again granted to DWCT to last to the second semester of 2004 or for a period of five years.
The administration lost no time in applying for the Level III accredited status. The papers were sent to the PAASCU Office in October 1999. By May 2000, PAASCU granted DWCT the much sought after Level III accredited status, a significant step towards achieving university status. Still in the quest for quality education, the university subjected itself for Level IV accreditation by PAASCU and it was granted in 2012 to six baccalaureate degree programs.
The SVD Fathers continued to give emphasis to faculty development and the improvement of facilities. A ten-year development plan was submitted to the CHED as part of the documents required for university status. By September 2001, the CHED released the list of 32 higher education institutions in the Philippines granted full autonomy and DWCT was one of them. The status was again granted to Holy Name University in 2015 by the same Commission.
This development was a prelude to the much-awaited and long-sought university status. On November 19, 2001 Divine Word College of Tagbilaran (DWCT) was granted university status. To underscore continuity and commitment to its original ideals, the name Holy Name University was unanimously adopted to banner the school’s progressive march to the future.
More courses and major fields were opened with the granting of autonomy and university status. The College of Education offered new programs like Guidance and Counseling, Pre-elementary Education, Special Education and Values Education. BS in Hospitality Services Management was opened under the College of Commerce with the Hotel and Restaurant management as the first major field.
In school year 2003-2004 new courses were offered, BS Criminology, B.S. in Information Management and BS Psychology. Mass Communication program was opened in the College of Arts in Sciences. The graduate school also offered Master of Arts in Philosophy. Another major field, Tour and Travel Management was opened in the BSHSM program.
In a span of four school years, additional programs were offered: Master of Library Science, Masters of Arts in Nursing, Bachelor of Elementary Education major in Special Education. The need of more allied health programs prompted the university to offer Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology in 2013, which garnered a 100% passing percentage in the licensure examination for its first batch of graduates in August 2017 and more than 90% passing percentage in the succeeding board examinations.
The administration, in its pursuit for quality education, constructed two school buildings in SY 2003-2004 and SY 2006-2007 at the Janssen Heights campus, Freinademetz building which is home to the College of Nursing and the Scanlon building, for the College of Arts and Sciences respectively. State-of-the-art laboratory equipment are found in the two buildings, which facilitate the teachers’ and students’ teaching-learning process.
In June 2005, Fr. Ernesto M. Lagura, SVD took over the leadership of the university taking the place of Fr. Florante S. Camacho, SVD. It was during the term of Fr. Lagura, SVD as university president, when the Scanlon Building for the CAS was constructed. Renovations took place in the College of Law, like the improvement of the Dean’s Office, construction of the HNU Law Center, the transfer of the Law Library to the third floor; and the faculty room for the law professors.
It was also during the presidency of Fr. Lagura that the Civil Engineering Program was granted Level I PAASCU accreditation in 2006.
A joint project Water Assessment Testing, Education, Research Support Services (W.A.T.E.R.S.S.) of the Australian Government and Holy Name University through the provincial government of the Province of Bohol was materialized in February 12, 2008.
Holy Name University as an institution of high learning highly recognized its genuine partnership with the CHED. In March 2007, the university submitted the documents to the CHEDRO for the renewal of the autonomous status and was granted a one-year autonomous status from November 2007 to November 2008. In September 2007, HNU with the concerted effort of the academic community members, prepared the documents for Institutional Quality Assurance Monitoring and Evaluation (IQUAME). All documents were submitted to the CHED Main Office Manila and the CHED Regional Office.
In 2008, Fr. Francisco T. Estepa, SVD was installed as third President since the school became a university in 2001. He would occupy this post for the next 12 years during which period the school saw a lot of developments, changes and challenges.
First and foremost, Fr. Estepa worked for the continuation of the autonomous status HNU has been enjoying in the past decade. All these efforts came to fruition when in 2010 the university successfully got this sought-for renewal from the Commission for Higher Education. At the same time, the Estepa administration also endeavored to promote and expand its PAASCU accreditation. Thus, in 2016, the efforts of the administration paid off when the Arts and Sciences, Elementary and Secondary, and the Business and Accountancy programs got a fresh five-year reaccredited status until 2021. Also in the same year, CHED granted to HNU’s Teacher Education program the status of being a Center for Development (COD), the very first academic institution in Bohol given such recognition. A year earlier, HNU also passed the criteria as Delivering Higher Education Institution (DHEI) for the following CHED-sponsored scholarship grants for the following programs: Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Management, Master of Arts in Administration and Supervision, and Master in Business Administration.
Meanwhile, the student population of HNU continued to grow. New spaces of learning were required. In 2015, the new HRM Laboratory was opened. The new facility has provided a home for front office operations, food and beverage service, bar management of those taking Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management as well as Office Management for those taking Bachelor of Science in Business Administration program.
In the next school year, Holy Name University expanded its curricular programs. In 2013-2014, Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology and Bachelor of Elementary Education major in Special Education were introduced. Doctor of Management major in Human Resource Management was offered in SY 2014-2015. The school year 2016-2017 opened four other graduate school programs: Master of Arts in Education major in English- IT; Master of Arts in Education major in Cultural Education; Master of Arts in Teaching PE and Music; Doctor of Philosophy in Literature. In SY 2017-2018, Doctor of Philosophy major in English Language Teaching was offered. Earlier in 2016, Holy Name University, in partnership with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCAA), offered the Graduate Diploma in Cultural Education. In its efforts towards internationalization, the university had linkages with two prestigious educational institutions in Asia: Fu Jen University in Taiwan and Seisen University in Japan.
As a result of its proactive endeavor towards improving its academic and curricular edge, Holy Name University posted several achievements: Karina Mae Alipoyo Uy ranked 1st in the Guidance Counselors’ Board Examinations and Hazel May Fiel Ignacio also earned a spot in the Top 10 of the 2016 Licensure Examinations for Teachers. HNU also earned the number one spot in the list of top performing Med Tech schools with its 100% passing rate in the 2017 Med Tech Board Examinations.
The school year 2016-2017 saw the implementation of the new K+12 curriculum. The university made sure that every SHS student is prepared to go to college at the same time is equipped with the skills to take a particular career after Senior High school. Not sitting on its laurel, Holy Name University ensured its teaching staff learned the best practices and to ensure quality education for the students. This came as the university adopted Outcome-Based Education to align the teachers’ assessments with the expected results in 2016.
Aside from curricular development, Holy name University during the Estepa administration also brought in new services and innovations. The Office of Cultural Affairs and Development established two more performing groups: HNU Chorale and the HNU Band. The SVD Retreat House built on top of Mount Banat-i, southeast of the city, started its formal operation. Station DYJR 106.5 FM, Janssen Radio was formally inaugurated and blessed on September 13, 2016 to provide the students the best training in the field of radio broadcasting. Taking an innovative approach in developing a mechanism to enhance graduates employability, Holy Name University through its Alumni Job Placement Office has fortified its link with Jobs180.com since school year 2015-2016. In early 2016, Holy Name University showed why it has been the known as trailblazer in the educational landscape of Bohol with the unveiling of the cutting edge 100 kilowatts photovoltaic solar panels to drastically bring down the electric costs of the university. The Water Treatment Facility has been set up in 2018 in the effort both to conserve water in campus, as well as to manage its use. During the same year Holy Name University stepped into the new world of information technology by installing a large LED screen at the main entrance of the school by the university. This was a joint project of the school and an alumni group. In 2019, Holy Name University took the lead in various scholarly endeavors to generate new ideas and contribute to the world of knowledge through the establishment of the Center for Marine Science and Coastal Management Studies and the Center for Boholano Studies.
Three crucial events happened during the time Fr. Francisco T. Estepa served as President of Holy Name University. All three came as insurmountable odds that threatened the very existence of the school. First there was the 7.2 magnitude earthquake of 2013 that resulted in the abandonment of the old main building. But it unified the school into one campus and focused all developmental efforts in one place. Then came 2016, when the K-12 curriculum was implemented. For a time it seemed that, with the closure of the college level the good old times of Holy Name University had gone out once and for all. But when the Senior High School level students finally graduated they came and enrolled, ensuring the continuation of our educational tradition. Finally, came the threat of the COVID 19 pandemic which caused us to make drastic adjustments under a scheme of things called the “New Normal.” While it is still too soon to predict how this situation would impact the future status and course of Holy Name University, there is reason to be optimistic that everything will still turn out fine, what with our record of resilience as an academic community.
Already, signs of the shape of things to come have already started filtering in. In June of 2020, just three months since the implementation of the COVID lockdown protocols, a new president has come to the helm of Holy Name University. He is Fr. Ruel F. Lero, SVD, formerly the Vice-President for Academic Affairs. With his youthful enthusiasm and well-grounded background as academician, there is reason to hope under his watch our dear old Holy Name would weather the latest storm and be brought into stiller water ahead, on the way to the glorious celebration of the school’s 75 years of sterling service to God and the His people.
About the LogoBasically, the logo is made up of a blue shield encompassed by an unbroken cord of gold. A gold scroll is emblazoned across the middle part of the shield with the legend "Benedicite Nomini Eius." The shield is compartmentalized into four cartouches that are so arranged so as to form the outline of a cross. Each cartouche contains an emblem representative of the thrusts and character of Holy Name University. The main colors of the logo are green, gold and blue.
The SHIELD represents the entire university, its blue color - a new addition to the traditional green and gold of Holy Name College, signifying the new status brought about by its recent promotion, its birth at the beginning of the new millennium, as well as an allusion to the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mother invoked every year by HNU during the October pilgrimages.
The UNBROKEN GOLD CORD signifies the unity of the three main groups composing the HNU community: the Administration, the Employees and the Student Body. These three components are further signified by the three knots at the topmost part of the emblem. The gold cord is arranged in such a way as to suggest a crown, for indeed, if these components live in harmonious unity, it would be the crowning achievement of each and everyone.
The THREE-DIMENSIONAL TRIANGLE - This signifies the Trinitarian Spirituality that HNU has derived from the SVD missionaries; it also signifies the Trilogy of Education, namely, Instruction, Research and Community Extension.
The FLAMING TORCH, the traditional symbol of education and learning. It also symbolizes that trailblazing character of the Holynamian that has made its products stand out in the world outside.
The EMBLEM OF THE SOCIETY OF THE DIVINE WORD is also contained in the shield, not only to denote the ownership of the school. It is also an expression of gratitude by the Boholano community to the SVDs for their pioneering task of establishing the first Catholic college in the island more than fifty years ago.
The HILLS and the COCONUT TREE. The cone-shaped Chocolate Hills are an allusion to the island of Bohol where HNU is located. The coconut tree, its trunk tall and commanding but with leaves drooping downwards to its earth origin, aptly symbolizes the Servant-Leader HNU aims to produce among its graduates - young men and women who take on leadership roles in their respective communities but who never forget their origin nor let go of their innate humility.
The GOLD and GREEN colors, as well as Scroll with the legend "Benedicite Nomini Eius" (Blessed Be His Name) are carryovers from the past, recalling to mind those days when HNU used to be called Holy Name College, later Divine Word College of Tagbilaran. These colors had been chosen by Alphonse Lesage himself, Founder and First Director of HNC, to signify the enthusiasm of youth and the nobility of learning. These symbols, therefore, underscore the persistence of the past, the continuity of tradition that has sustained Holy Name University down the years and which will serve as its strength and basic orientation in the years to come.
All Four Emblems are grouped together to form the outlines of the CROSS, for Holy Name University is Bohol's first Catholic university, just as more than fifty years ago, Holy Name College started out as the first Catholic school of higher learning in Bohol. In HNU, the salvific and evangelical character of Catholic Christianity, under the administration of the SVD Missionaries finds new expression, new character and a new channel for spreading the Good News of salvation.