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October 5, 1913, a group of four young men and woman, with age from fifteen to twenty-one, met for breakfast at the Palma de Mallorca, a popular restaurant beside the Sto. Domingo church in Intramuros. The five were Apolinario G. de Los Santos, his brother Mariano V. de Los Santos, his sister Maria Santos and two friends, Buenaventura J. Bello and Manuel Montilla. They were all college students themselves with more daring than money, determined to put up a school suited to the needs of the Filipino youth. These “impecunious youngsters” as they were called by university historian,  faced the challenges ahead of them and followed their dream to establish an institution whose motto was “Patria, Scientia et Virtus.” They named their school-in-the-making Instituto de Manila, after the city of their affection. Apolinario G. de Los Santos was the school’s first Director.

The Instituto’s doors first opened in school year 1914-1915. The forerunner of this institution offered only elementary and high school courses in a leased building in the corner of
Madrid and Penarubia streets, Binondo District. In school year 1919-1920, however, the Instituto conducted its classes in its own building in the Sampaloc District in order to accommodate its growing populace and to provide better facilities.    

Before embarking on a program of expansion to meet the educational needs of its constituency, the Instituto perforce had to undergo internal changes. Their original incorporators unanimously agreed, on the occasion of the eight anniversary of the founding of the institution, to effect a re–organization geared towards the attainment of a university status. The decision was subsequently followed by the re-incorporation of the Instituto as The University of Manila on November 3,1921, under the provisions Act 1459 of the former Philippine Legislature.

Right after its re-incorporation, the University progressed rapidly. The development marked the turning point of this democratic and progressive institution which has withstood the test of time. It fortunately survived two world wars and bewildering variety of changes -- ideological, social, economic and political. From an institution which offered only elementary and high school programs, the university took its place among the country’s leading private schools.

The mustard seed that was the
University of Manila continues to grow through the years. Its genesis of growth was impressive. In March 1919, the College of Law was formally opened. In 1920, the College of Liberal Arts followed.  Three colleges were born in 1922-1923,   namely:  the College of Philosophy and Letters, the College of Education and the College of Business Administration. The Department of Graduate Studies (UM) opened in 1941-1942. The College of Engineering opened in December 1945. In 1946, the Academy of Music and the School of Foreign Service were opened. In 1946, M.A. in Political Science was offered in the Department of Graduate Studies followed by M.A in History in 1951. Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education was first offered in 1951. Between   1963-1966, the College of Criminology and Penology, School of Secretarial Science and Master’s Degree in Public Administration were offered.  On June 7, 1976, the following courses were opened – Two-year Police Science and Technology, Two-year Library Aide, Two-year Bookkeeping, One-year Hotel and Restaurant Management and One-year Tourism.


Manila City