The Congregation of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (Oblate Fathers)
first came to the Philippines on September 25, 1939 upon invitation
by Bishop Luis del Rosario, S.J. of Zamboanga. Taking over from the Jesuits, the Oblate Fathers continued with the evangelization of
the entire province of Cotabato and Sulu-Tawi-Tawi.
The Pacific war in 1941 interrupted the Oblate Mission in Mindanao. Some Oblate Fathers were taken as prisoners and incarcerated in
University of Santo Tomas by the Japanese.
After the war the Oblate Fathers established the Notre Dame College (now University) in 1948 which was then the first college founded
in Cotabato City and the entire Province of Cotabato with Fr. Robert E. Sullivan, OMI as its first Dean, Juan I. Sinco, as Registrar
and messenger, and Samuel Cabiles as Librarian, assisted him. The pioneering faculty of eight members included Fr. Bob Sullivan, OMI;
Bro. Maurus James Doherty, FMS; Bro. Damian Teston, FMS; Mother Ma. Isabel Purificacion, RVM; Mrs. Nilda Quintana; RTC Judge Vicente Cusi Jr.;
Atty. Matias Basco; and Mr. Alfredo Gimenez.
The College started classes using the building of the Notre Dame of Cotabato Girls Department with its first 128 students in the
first semester and 98 students in the second semester.
In 1949, the Notre Dame College acquired its own building (adjacent to the Cathedral) and the Notre Dame Press along Quezon Avenue.
The school site was located practically in the heart of Cotabato City.
In 1952, Fr. John P. Murphy, OMI succeeded Fr. Sullivan as Dean of the College. In 1953, the College received full government recognition
for its course offerings in Liberal Arts, Commerce, and Education. In the same year, the College of Law started offering first year law subjects.
Complete elementary education was offered later with the establishment of the Notre Dame Training Department, envisioned to be a teaching
laboratory for Education students majoring in Elementary Education.
In 1954, Fr. James W. Burke, OMI became the Dean of the College. For three years, 1954-57, the College further expanded its course offerings to
meet the growing needs of the community.
During his term, the Normal College was opened with complete courses in Elementary Education leading to the Degree of Bachelor of Science in
Elementary Education. In 1956, the two year pre-nursing course was offered.
In 1957, Fr. John P. Murphy, OMI assumed as Dean for the second time replacing Fr. Burke who was elected Superior of the Oblate Province in
the Philippines. New buildings were constructed namely: the Burke Building, named in honor of Fr. James Burke, OMI, the Faculty House,
Elementary Training Department, and the Technical Building.
The decade of the 60s brought further innovations in the curricular offerings. The College of Engineering was opened. Courses common to Civil,
Mechanical, and Electrical Engineering were offered in the first and second years. In 1965, a complete program leading to the Degree of
Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering was given government recognition. The Graduate School offered courses leading to the degree of
Master of Arts in Education.
The government in 1965 and 1967 likewise recognized the Technical school that offered a complete secondary high school and vocational education,
These developments were made possible under the guidance and leadership of Fr. Philip F. Smith, OMI who assumed as Rector of the College in 1964.
In1968, a new Administration-Science-Auditorium Building was constructed.
It was on March 11, 1969 when Notre Dame College gained its University status. Notre Dame University was formally inaugurated on September 9, 1969
at the same time it marked its twenty-first year as an educational institution. It was highlighted by the investiture of the Very Rev. Joseph Milford, OMI
as the first University President and the installation of the Very Rev. Philip F. Smith, OMI as the first University Rector.
Several changes have taken place; one of the significant changes was the assumption of the first Filipino President, the Rev. Fr. Orlando Quevedo, OMI who
was formally installed on January 30, 1971. The years 1970-1976 were very eventful. The early 70’s were the height of student activism. Almost everyday
we read about student demonstrations in the papers. The radical Kabataang Makabayan tried to establish a foothold at the University but failed.
Despite the conflict that plagued the city in 1970, NDU continued its expansion and developments: in July 1970, the University offered Journalism; in 1972,
the Planning and Development Office was created with Mr. Guillermo Hagad as Planning and Development Officer; in the same year, the Socio-Economic Research
Center (SERC) was established with Ms. Eva Kimpo-Tan as Director; in 1974, NDU opened its Nursing College; the College of Commerce offered two new courses:
Management and Financial Management; in November 1975, three new graduate courses were offered: Master of Arts in Education major in Elementary School
Management, Secondary School Management, and Master of Arts in Guidance.
On August 17, 1976, Cotabato City was devastated by a strong earthquake of tectonic origin causing damage to the University buildings. The Science Building
and the Auditorium collapsed. The Main and Technical Buildings suffered severe cracks.
The earthquake had left NDU in ruins, but it survived. Towards the end of 1976, Fr. Quevedo took a spiritual renewal course and was replaced by Fr. Jose Roberto Arong, OMI,
who inherited the task of reconstruction and rehabilitation. He was the third president of the University and the second Filipino to occupy such position. The phenomenal
catastrophe did not hinder NDU’s rehabilitation and reconstruction.
In 1977, the Quinn and McGrath Buildings were built to house the Engineering College; the Gerard Mongeau Chapel which became the heart of the University was constructed and
consecrated in September 1981.Parallel with the physical improvement was an upgrading of the University’s academic offerings. In 1976, the Graduate School offered an
M.A. in Public Administration, followed in 1980 by an offering of an M.A. in Business Administration.
In 1980, the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (PAASCU) certified the Level I accreditation of the three colleges of the University,
the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Commerce, and the Teachers’ College.
In the same year, the Core Curriculum was introduced integrating both Christian and Islamic Values in all core subjects taken by the students. There were two other buildings
that were built for the Engineering College—the Javellana and Vengrin buildings.
On June 12, 1982, Fr. Jose D. Ante, OMI took the Presidential post of NDU. It was during his time that doctoral degree in the field of Education, major in Educational
Management was introduced;
The Science building named Arch. Philip Smith Science Hall, and Deckert Building were constructed; College of Arts & Sciences, Teachers’ College, and College of Commerce were
granted level II PAASCU accreditation while the College of Engineering was granted its level I accreditation; on December 8, 1988, the De Mazenod Library was blessed and dedicated;
and two days later on December 10, 1988, the NDU Peace Center was inaugurated which coincided with the 40th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
In 1992, Fr. Eliseo R. Mercado, Jr., OMI became the 5th President. With his knack at finding resources and funding agencies, NDU gradually regained its financial stability.
More than that, under his leadership, the University was projected in the limelight of academic excellence, peace advocacy, and development. It was on the same year when
College of Arts and Sciences, College of Education, and the College of Business and Accountancy earned the PAASCU Level III Accreditation.
In 1997, the Nepomuceno Building was built to house the Graduate School and the College of Law.
The University has opened new linkages and network in the field of business, communications, education, and research with FAPENET and INTERNET links. In August 1998, the NDU homepage
was launched for Internet access.
A Data Bank in the University Research Center was established to provide collections of facts and figures about strategic regions of Mindanao through the NDU homepage.
In school year 1997-98, the University, in cooperation with the Mindanao Advanced Education Project (MAEP) of the Commission on Higher Education, offered Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
in Peace and Development and Master of Arts (M.A.) in Peace and Development.
In 1997, the Brekel Building was built at the side of the ruins to house the Logistics Office.
In June 1998, Notre Dame University celebrated its Golden Jubilee Year as a provider of tertiary education in Central Mindanao.
In December 1999, the Teaching Caravan Program under the University Center for Continuing Education was launched to provide continuing professional education (CPE) to high school
teachers in the Cotabato region.
Entering the New Millennium...