History of the College

About the College

The College of Engineering was established in 1939 with an initial offering of a five–year bachelor’s program in Civil Engineering. Its first Dean was Engr. Almancio Alcordo. Although, a new program at the time, it was among the most popular courses shortly before the Colegio de San Carlos closed upon the outbreak of World War II. In 1947, two years after classes had resumed, a three-storey building designed to house the machineries, workshops, laboratories, and classrooms of the College of Engineering was built at the back of Sto. Rosario Church. It was not, however, until 1951 that the College took over the building from its former user, the Boys High School which moved to its new campus in that year. The new building became home to newly-arrived equipment as well as to the new programs in Mechanical Engineering and the Electrical Engineering. A Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering was also opened two years later.

The College of Engineering continued to strengthen its curricular programs in the 1950s. The Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering program was granted recognition by the Bureau of Private Schools in 1955. The following year, the College produced its first topnotcher in national licensure tests, when Eliseo Linog topped the Mechanical Engineering board examination ushering a 100 percent passing mark of all Carolinians who took it.

The 1960’s was a decade of growth and prosperity for the College. In October 1961, it received a donation of 500,000 DM ($360,000) grant for the establishment of a chemical pilot plant equipped for coconut oil extraction. No less than the Philippine Vice-President Emmanuel Pelaez and the German Ambassador Gunther Schlegelberger came to inaugurate the facility on July 16, 1963. The culmination of the Philippine-German cooperation in coconut research, the chemical pilot plant was designed to support three operations: scientific extraction of oil from fresh coconuts, hydrogenation of coconut oil to fatty alcohol, and the production of detergents from sulfated fatty alcohol.

For his achievements in the field of scientific research and for his efforts to set up the chemical pilot plant, the National Science Development Board Chair Dr. Paulino J. Garcia was conferred the Degree Doctor of Science, Honoris Causa, by the University during that year. Dr. Karl-Heinz Imhausen, the noted chemical engineer and industrialist chemical engineer and industrialist who first proposed the idea of setting up the chemical pilot plant, was also conferred the degree Doctor of Science, Honoris Causa. A few years after the plant was established, Dr. John D. Brule’, a visiting professor from Syracuse University almost single-handedly formed the USC Electrical Engineering Department. His presence also paved the way for the establishment of more engineering departments in the next years.

The College of Engineering moved to its present home in the Technological Center (now called Bunzel Building) in the Talamban Campus in 1967, following its inauguration the year before. Planned by faculty members Archt Santos Alfon, Archt Cristobal Espina, and Engr. Jose Rodriguez (who did structural supervision), the Technological Center was a colossal modernist building located about eight kilometers from the USC–Main Campus.

The College became the first PAASCU-accredited engineering school in the country in 1973. The San Miguel Corporation also awarded a professiorial chair to the College in 1976. To cope with rapid technological changes in engineering brought in by computers in the late 70s, it offered a five-year Bachelor of Science in Electronics and Communications Engineering program in 1977. Two years after, the College acquired its first computing machine. The BS ECE program became popular among students. A rise in the number of women and foreign students enrolled in USC’s different engineering programs was also noted during this time.

The 80s saw continued rise in enrollment. In 1986, the College offered the five-year Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering and Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering programs, with new computing machines in the laboratories enticing more students to enroll. A boost in the enrollment in the Industrial Engineering program was also seen in USC as a result of the growth of the export processing zones in the country. With the remarkable increase in enrollment, improvement in the laboratories and the integration of research in the curriculum were undertaken by the College, efforts that earned it Level II accreditation by the Philippines Association of Accredited Schools, Colleges, and Universities (PAASCU). Three years before, the Professional Regulation Commission had ranked the University’s performance in Chemical Engineering Board examination as above the national passing percentage for the whole 22 licensure examinations held from 1971 to 1981, making USC as one of the top three engineering schools in the country. The College was then given Level III accreditation by PAASCU in all programs in 1990.

The USC College of Engineering made a great impact on the information technology scene when it hosted the First International E-mail Conference in 1994 at the Technological Center, with 138 participants. This was the first conference of its kind ever to be held in the Philippines. USC has been selected as the primary node for Internet connectivity in the Visayas.

In the 1990s the College became active in establishing linkages with the government sector and the industry. With the help of the Philippine Productivity Movement-Cebu, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), and the Philippine Council for Industry and Energy Research and Development, The Engineering-Industry Linkage Program was created in 1991. The College also became a member of the Philippine Council for Advanced Science and Technology Research and Development (PCASTRD) Network. Together with 18 other engineering schools in the country, it signed a memorandum of agreement with the DOST in organizing the latter’s Engineering Manpower Development Program. The College and the PAASCU also made a formal agreement in the same year for the Engineering Consortium Project. The indicative plan for the inter-institutional linkage submitted to the Dutch government was also approved. It included provisions for the development of several engineering programs in USC.

Growth in the graduate engineering education in the College characterized the period between mid-90s and the first years of the new millennium. In 1995, it was given permission by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to offer the Master of Engineering program, which produced its first graduates in 1997. CHED also named the College as the Center of Development for Chemical, Civil, and Electrical Engineering programs. Linkage with the Netherlands Organization for International Cooperation in Higher Education (NUFFIC) under the Dutch government helped in the creation of the Master of Science in Civil Engineering and the Master of Science in Chemical Engineering programs. Collaborative undertakings in research between the College and industry and linkages with foreign universities have also increased in the past years.

Today, the College of Engineering continues to be the biggest engineering school in the Visayas and Mindanao with a current population of 3,325 students. For 67 years, it has endeavored to live up to the University’s mission of developing competent and socially-responsible professionals in the field of engineering.