The University of the Philippines was founded on June 18, 1908, through Act No. 1870 of the Philippine Assembly. The UP was the result of the Secretary of Public Instruction, W. Morgan Schuster’s recommendation to the Philippine Commission, the upper house of the Philippine Assembly. Act 1870 authorized the Governor General to establish the University of the Philippines in the “city of Manila, or at any point, he may deem most convenient.” The UP was to give “advanced instruction in literature, philosophy, the sciences, and arts, and to give professional and technical training” to every qualified student regardless of “age, sex, nationality, religious belief and political affiliation.”
Much has changed in UP over the past 100 years. From one campus in Manila, it now has 8 constituent universities in 17 campuses all over the country; it has 258 undergraduate programs; and 438 graduate programs with students from almost every region in the country.
On April 29, 2008, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo signed the new UP Charter or Republic Act 9500. The new charter hopes to prepare UP for the challenges it will face as the country’s leading university in the coming years. Efforts for the enactment of a new UP Charter could go back to the term of UP President Edgardo Angara and further studied during the term of UP President Jose Abueva. Armed with the new charter the university prepares itself for the challenges of the 21st century. With this preparation comes the strengthening of the different units of UP.
From the education of ordinary Filipinos under Americans at the time of UP President Murray Bartlett to its journey onto another century under the stewardship of President Alfredo E. Pascual, the university has produced 30 out of 31 National Scientists; 34 out of 57 National Artists; 7 out of the 14 Presidents of the Republic; 12 Chief Justices of the Supreme Court; 15,000 doctors; 8,000 lawyers; 15, 000 engineers; 23, 000 teachers and hundreds of thousands of graduates in other academic fields. The UP has more than served its purpose well and has been of faithful service to the nation.