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History of Father Saturnino Urios University (FSUU)

Over a Hundred and Fifteen Glorious Years


Father Saturnino Urios University was christened Butuan Parochial School on October 21, 1901 by Reverend Father Saturnino Urios, S.J.  It began as a boys’ school which later gained government recognition in 1927 as an elementary school. It was, at first, a low building made of bricks, adjacent to the old church.


The school changed its identity on several occasions over the next 50 years under the management of the Dutch Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (MSC).  In 1939, the Butuan Parochial School opened its high school department and renamed itself to Father Urios High School, after the school’s founder who had died 23 years prior. With the opening of the college department in 1950, it was renamed to Father Urios College, simplified in 1970 as Urios College.


The Filipinization of schools under the 1972 Philippine Constitution gave way to the diocesan administration of Urios College. Its first and longest-staying lay president, Juanito A. Lao Ph.D., was then installed in 1976.   From 1970-2004, Urios College served the community, contributing immensely to the spiritual, intellectual, cultural, political, social, and moral development of the people of Caraga. It was during these years that the school realized its motto: "Luceat Lux Vestra" - Let Your Light Shine.  


Urios College has taken a drastic turn since Rev. Fr. John Christian U. Young took its helm as President in 2004. At that time, the school’s facilities had been worn and torn; Butuanons of today recall how the school seemed to have lost its flare. Under Fr. Young’s leadership and example, however, Urios College reorganized its operations and rekindled its commitment to academic excellence and quality education. On July 10, 2006, after a strong showing from the entire Urian community, Urios College elevated its typology into a university—the first homegrown university in Caraga.

From handling a few pupils in a non-graded, catechism school, what was once Butuan Parochial School is now Father Saturnino Urios University, or FSUU. It offers the full K to 12 program; tertiary courses in accountancy, business and management, computer science, engineering and technology, information technology, nursing, arts and sciences, criminology, and teacher education.


FSUU also has its own College of Law and its Graduate Studies and Research Office (GSRO). The GSRO offers Masters in Nursing, Educational Management, Guidance and Counseling, Teaching Filipino, Teaching English, Teaching General Science, Teaching Special Education, Master of Science in Physical Education, Master of Science in Teaching Math, Master in Public Administration and Master in Business Administration, Doctoral in Management, and Doctor of Philosophy in Education. Most of FSUU’s academic programs are accredited by the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges, and Universities (PAASCU).



Catholic, Service-Oriented University

As a Catholic educational institution, the school has kept its faith with its mission: to continue Christ’s work of building communities for truth and justice. It is envisioned that altogether, these communities must work towards genuine development and lasting peace for all.  This century-old commitment has made FSUU what it is today—a credible and viable institution in Northeastern Mindanao.  


The shift from UC to FSUU opened a new chapter in the school’s long history. From that point on, FSUU operated with a renewed sense of purpose—to prepare the Caraga region in facing the ever-growing world outside the academe.  In its succeeding years, FSUU molded its identity as Caraga’s premier university, fully aware of the responsibilities attached to it. In this K to 12 transition period, the school’s five thrusts are: (1) to provide quality and relevant education, (2) to advocate values formation and integrate this with Urian living, (3) to develop its resources and to make these sustainable, (4) to develop synergy, convergence, and communication among its units, and (5) to advance leadership and governance in the Caraga region. These have been FSUU’s commitments even before these were formulated. And with the challenges brought by the K to 12 program, the school only hopes to strengthen its capacities to serve.


FSUU has continuously recognized and built upon the accomplishments of its community members. Year after year, it holds its University Service Awards for those who have continued to embody the Urian values of Unity, Religiosity, Integrity, Altruism, and Nationalism. Day after day, it molds a community of learners, teachers, and staff who will let their lights shine. The school believes that it owes its 116 years of existence to the Urians who have a strong sense of self and the communities whom they are tasked to serve.


 Highpoints as Caraga’s Premier Academic Institution

Beginning with its elevation into university status in 2006, the school has continued to grow and upgrade its services through the addition of more course offerings: BS Biology and BS Applied Mathematics in 2007; BS Accounting Technology in 2008; BS Criminology in 2009; MA Teaching English, MA Teaching Filipino, MA Teaching General Science, MA Teaching Special Education, MS Teaching Mathematics, and MS Physical Education in 2010; Bachelor in Physical Education and BS Social Entrepreneurship in 2015. On the same year, its Teacher Education Program was awarded by CHED as Center of Development.


This prevailing mindset and momentum has led the university to other noteworthy achievements. In 2008, FSUU was able to develop its property in Barangay Libertad. It put up the state-of-the-art Archbishop Morelos Campus, the only one of its kind in the Caraga region, built to accommodate FSUU’s basic education classes. Today, it caters to a full range of students from Kinder to Senior High School, with a newly opened swimming pool for community use. In 2015, it inaugurated the College Building East in its main campus, equipped with e-facilities apt for the fast-changing times.


Part of this continued construction is the creation of the Biodiversity Informatics and Research Center. It heads species-discovery expeditions in Caraga and serves as a repository of knowledge on local plants and animals. For its efforts, it was recently awarded an institutional grant by the CHED.


Throughout its existence, the University has produced topnotchers in board examinations and has consistently obtained above-national passing rates. Most recently, the school produced its first topnotcher in Civil Engineering, Kenneth Acas, ranking 4th in the 2016 National Board Examinations. Another first for the university is the Accountancy batch achieving 100% passing rate for the 2016 board exam (first takers, November). These recent achievements are fruits of FSUU’s unrelenting drive to perform better. Likewise, these are the school’s inspirations to surpass even greater boundaries.


The University has forged and maintained strong partnerships with different organizations and institutions—national and international—to achieve greater

results and impact in pushing for economic development, peace, sound environment and governance. At present, the University has ongoing collaborations with the Miriam College of Quezon City for Development Training Programs for Teachers; the Deutsche Gessellschaft fur Internationale Zasammenarbeit (GIZ) on Peace Building Programs and on Micro-Insurance Initiative; the Asia Foundation and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for the Implementation of Transparent Accountable Governance 4 (TAG 4) project in select Caraga LGUs; the Asian Universities Digital Resource Network (AUDRN); the Biodiversity Institute of the University of Kansas; Toyo University in Japan; and the Museum fur Naturkeunde, Leibniz-Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity Science in Berlin, Germany; the American Field Service (AFS) Intercultural Program Philippines; United Towers Philippines; the Sifa University in Istanbul, Turkey; and the Universitas Kristen Indonesia Paulus. FSUU’s doors remain open as it provides trainers and hosts trainings for both high school and college teachers from all over Caraga.




These achievements, along with the quality of graduates FSUU has produced, have resulted in its recognition by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) Limited as one of the Top 201+ Asian Universities for 2011.


These academic achievements are best embodied beyond the university’s walls by the FSUU Dragon Boat Team and the FSUU Foundation Inc. (FSUUFI) The FSUU Dragon Boat Team is a championship team of rowers from the Urian community which advocates the saving of the Taguibo Watershed and the Agusan River. Meanwhile, the FSUUFI is the university’s outreach arm, able and ready to extend a helping hand to victims of natural disasters and dire poverty. It does this through initiating livelihood, feeding, and awareness programs to empower the poor.



Highlights and Milestones



As it stays committed to its mission, FSUU continues to break ground and receive awards. On its first year as a university, it was proclaimed as the 2006 Regional Winner in the Search for Outstanding HEI Research Program. In 2008, the university was awarded for having Outstanding Students Services Program in Mindanao. In the same year, the University successfully established the Urios Legacy Village in partnership with Gawad Kalinga and Jollibee Foundation, currently with 112 habitable houses.


In 2010, the University’s light shone even brighter when it received the following recognitions: the 4 Stars Award during the accreditation visit of the LoGoTri-PhilNet (Local Governance Training and Research Institutes- Philippine Network, Inc.) for the Governance and Administration Training Program of the DCLG-IS under the office of the Development Centers; Regional Award as Outstanding Employer by SSS for the efficient financial management and reporting; designation as a Gawad Kalinga Builders Institute for Research; and the Mindanao Winner in the CHED’s Nationwide Search for the Best HEI Implementing the Drug Education, Prevention and Control Program.


FSUU continues to hope, learn, and work in order to serve the greater community outside its walls. Beyond its worldly milestones and achievements, the university is proudest for staying true to its tradition of producing Mindanawons who are committed to pursue the work of Christ.


Life Story of Rev. Fr. Saturnino Urios, S.J.


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 Nieves (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.