Any discussion about the history of Father Saturnino Urios University or of Urios College must start with a discussion of the history of Butuan Parochial School founded on October 21, 1901 by Reverend Father Saturnino Urios, S.J. The Butuan Parochial School started as a boys’ school which later gained government recognition in 1927 as an elementary school.
The school changed its identity on several occasions over the next 40 years under the management of the Dutch Missionario Sagrado Corazon/ Missionario Sacre Cordis (MSC). In 1939, the high school department was opened and the name of the school was changed to Father Urios High School, then as Father Urios College in 1950 with the opening of the college department, and in 1970, as Urios College.
The Filipinization of schools under the 1972 Philippine Constitution gave way to the diocesan administration of Urios College with the installation of the first lay president. Over the years, Urios College has creditably served the community - immensely contributing to the spiritual, intellectual, cultural, political, social, and moral development of the people in the communities the school is serving.
From a few pupils in a non-graded, catechism school, Urios College has grown and is now offering complete elementary and secondary education; tertiary courses in accountancy, business and management, computer science, engineering and technology, information technology, nursing, arts and sciences, and teacher education. It also has the College of Law, and the Graduate Studies offering Master in Nursing, Business Administration, Educational Management, Public Administration; and the Doctoral degrees in Management and Education. These academic programs are accredited with the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges, and Universities (PAASCU) and PACUCOA (Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities Commission on Accreditation).
Through the years, Urios College has kept faith with its mission, as a Catholic educational institution continuing the work of Christ of building communities for truth and justice in search for peace and genuine people’s development. This is the commitment of Urios College and this commitment has made it a viable and credible institution in this part of Mindanao.
Urios College looked at the future living true to its motto: "Luceat Lux Vestra" - Let Your Light Shine! And it has made its light shine even brighter when it was granted the University Status on July 10, 2006. The Urios College before is now Father Saturnino Urios University (FSUU), the first homegrown university in Caraga Region. This opened a new chapter in the organizational existence of Urios College, and a new path as Fr. Saturnino Urios University with a renewed sense of purpose as a community poised with the demands of this century. And this Path included Living the Urian Spirituality and Values and as the Premier University in Caraga; Reaffirming Concern for Excellence and Service, and Faith Formation; Focusing on Student Success, Leadership, and Service; Moving towards Innovations and Best Practices; and Committing to reach beyond the gates of the FSUU campus to the national and global communities. These are what FSUU will do by building upon the accomplishments of the various members of the Urian community achieved through a total commitment of energies and relationships formed over a hundred and six glorious years.
In 1901, the Butuan Parochial School was founded by Fr. Saturnino Urios, S.J. and opened its doors to welcome the first pupils. A low building made of bricks adjacent to the old church was built to house the first pupils who trickled in slowly. When the state started asserting its influence and control over public and private schools, the late Fr. Jose Buxo, S.J. was believed responsible for the government recognition of the parochial school. In 1935, the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (MSC - Dutch Congregation) took over the missionary work from the Jesuits. In 1939, the high school was opened.
Father Saturnino Urios was born in Játiva, November 12, 1843. His father was a barber, and at the advice of his parish priest permitted the boy to pursue studies when he was old enough, first in Játiva, and then at the Seminario Conciliar in Valencia. He was ordained a diocesan priest on June 6, 1868, but by January 1870, feeling called by God to religious life, left for France where the Jesuits, exiled from Spain by the September Revolution, had established their novitiate.
By July 30, 1874 he embarked from Marseilles for Manila and the island of Mindanao, where he worked as a Jesuit Missionary for the next 40 years. The Jesuits had first come to Mindanao at Butuan in 1596. After the Suppression, they returned, Urios among the first. He evangelized the natives, founded towns along the Agusan River and its tributaries. His love of Spain and the Valencia countryside may be seen in the names he gave to the towns he founded: Las Nives (in honor of Our Lady of the Snows, patroness of Játiva), San Vicente Ferrer (the patron of Valencia), Játiva, Novelé, Segorbe, Alberique, Alcira, Gandía, Morella, and Sagunto.
Urios ended tribal slavery and warfare, negotiated peace between the Americans and the insurgents in 1901, and in the same year founded in Butuan City the school that was to become Fr. Saturnino Urios University. His untiring work to evangelize the natives was imitated by his fellow missionaries, but it eventually destroyed his health, and he died October 27, 1916
This became Fr. Urios High School, named after Fr. Saturnino Urios, SJ. After the ravages of war, the slow and tedious work of reconstruction began and once again, the school was on its feet. The low brick building hummed with activity of the grade school classes. Meanwhile, a wooden building was constructed beside the convent to house the high school classes. In 1947, the high school department turned out its first graduates. In the early 1950's the old brick elementary building had to go to make room for the new church, so a wooden grade school building was constructed along San Francisco St. All grade school classes were then transferred to the new building. In the same year, the wooden high school building was replaced by a two-story concrete building.
In 1950, the college department started with the 2-year commercial course. In 1955, three courses were offered - Commerce, Liberal Arts and Bachelor of Science in Education. In subsequent years, other courses were added - Collegiate Normal (1958); One-year Collegiate Secretarial Science (1959); Two-year Junior Secretarial Course (1960).
There were more students now and they needed new buildings. The three-story high school building along Zamora St. went up first. Then the wooden grade school building had to make way for the three-story administration building. Enrollment continued to increase so the old HE building turned dormitory along Zamora St. had to renovated to have more classrooms.
In the grade school campus, new buildings were also constructed to house additional grade school classes, administrative offices, library and bookstore, HE building, Speech building and computer room.
In 1970, the name of the school was changed from Fr. Urios College to Urios College. Since then, Urios College has added collegiate courses such as: Bachelor of Science in Secretarial Administration, Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering, Two-year Technical courses in Automotive Technology, Computer Technology, Drafting Technology, Electronic Technical course, Industrial Electricity, Machine Shop Technology, General Radio Communication Operator's course, Computer Secretarial, Bachelor of Science in Accountancy, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Bachelor of Science in General Science and Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Information Technology. The Graduate School was also opened and offered Master of Arts in Educational Management, Master in Business Administration, Master of Arts in Guidance and Counseling, Master of Arts in Nursing, Doctor of Management and Doctor of Philosophy in Education.
In 1990, two concrete buildings were constructed in the main campus. The four-story building is where the Engineering and Technology and Nursing classes are held and the two-story faculty center and chapel. A four-story concrete building was constructed in 1997. This is occupied by the high school during the day and the college in the evening. It has 32 classrooms and 15 spaces for laboratories, library and offices. Adjacent to it is a gymnasium, which can accommodate 5,000 to 6,000 persons. Urios College was born small. From its very modest beginnings, the Butuan Parochial School has grown through the years
From the time she turned out her first high school graduates in 1947 and first college graduates in 1955, Urios College is considered one of the leading institutions in Northern Mindanao. Sprawling along streets of J.C. Aquino (formerly Zamora St.), San Francisco, R. D. Calo and Padre Burgos. It boosts of quality education and Christian formation with complete facilities and helps meet the manpower demand of the Northern Mindanao Region. With the creation of the Caraga Region, Urios College faces more challenge being the only catholic academic institution situated in the city of Butuan, which is the administrative seat of the region.