History of Far Eastern
Far Eastern University
is a nucleus of rich academic and cultural
experiences. It takes pride in its eminent founder who as educated in the United
States and who cooperated with excellent academics to establish one of the
famous universities in the country.
Dr. Nicanor Reyes, Sr.
obtained his Ph.D. in Accountancy and M.A. in
Business Administration from Columbia University after he had finished his
Bachelor’s Degree in Commercial Science in 1917 from New York University and AB
from UP in 1915. he had served as the chair of the Department of Economics of
the University of the Philippines before he established his own school.
The name Far Eastern University was coined following the fusion of two schools,
the Institute of Accountancy
founded in 1928 by Dr. Nicanor Reyes, Sr.
and the Far Eastern College
established by Nicanor Maronilla-Seva,
Fransisco M. Africa, Pedro Cortez, Salvador Unson, and Vicente Fabilla in 1919.
The Institute of Accountancy initiated a three-year, non-degree program as a
springboard before offering courses in business administration, economics, and
banking and finance. It was renamed the Institute of Accounts, Business and
Finance (IABF) after its founding. Classes were held at the Masonic Temple on
Escolta using three rooms but later transferred to more spacious quarters in the
Fajardo Building on Avenida in 1930-1931.
When Dr. Reyes had gained the controlling stock of the Far Eastern College which
primarily offered liberal arts courses, he decided to merge it with IABF. On
November 5, 1933, he became the first president of what is now known as the Far
Eastern University situated at the cigarette factory on the corner of
(now Claro M. Recto Avenue) and M. Lorenzo
He retained IABF as one of its colleges, or Institutes, and incorporated the
Institute of Arts and Sciences
(IAS). Fransisco M. Africa became the first
dean of IAS with Clemente Uson being his IABF counterpart. Established in the same year were the Institute of Education
, the Boys High School
the Girls High School
, and the Grade School.
Whet FEU has aspired for through the years was to attain not only quality
, but also quality environment.
Dr. Reyes engaged an
architect, Pablo Antonio
, who was schooled in England, and who later
became National Artist for Architecture, to translate, to translate
architecturally his vision of a forward-looking and progressive university.
Architect Antonio designed the main building along Quezon Boulevard, which now called Nicanor Reyes Hall
and is considered a landmark building of the
Art Deco style. The completion of the new and modern building in 1939 launched the five-year building program of Dr. Reyes. Two other buildings were erected in record time – the Girls High School (now called the FEU-East Asia College) and Boys High School (now called Law Building).
In 1934 the Institute of Law
was founded, and two years later, the Institute of Technology, with Fransisco Santana, as its first dean. In April 1938, the FEU Junior College was opened in Lingayen, Pangasinan.
Other buildings were built on the four-hectare university campus, but the rapid
expansion project was cut off by World War II. FEU buildings became the
headquarters of the Japanese Imperial Military after burning all the University
records, books, and facilities. Sadly, during the liberation of Manila, the
retreating Japanese massacred Dr. Reyes and some members of his family. Before
his death, Dr. Reyes had the satisfaction of hearing President Manuel L.
Quezon’s remark after the latter’s visit to the campus: “Dr. Reyes, I do not mind telling you that I think Far Eastern University is the best non-sectarian university the country today.”
The sad death of the founder did not stop FEU’s commitment to educations. The university was re-opened in October 1945 despite the use of most of its facilities by the American forces until their departure in May 1946, the
post-liberation years saw the renaissance of FEU with its massive expansion of facilities aimed at meeting the demands of modern and relevant education in the country and the increasing student population.
After the founder’s leadership, FEU was still run by prominent educators as
presidents – Dr. Hermenegildo B. Reyes, Jaime Hernandez, Dr. Fransisco Dalupan, Clemente Uson, Dr. Leoncio B. Monzon, Belen Enrile-Guitierrez, Dr. Vidal Tan, and Dr. Teodoro Evangelista.
It is to the credit of subsequent administrators of FEU that soon after the war, in 1949, Pablo Antonio was again commissioned to build the FEU Administration Building, which housed the famous FEU Auditorium and which Dr. Reyes had promised to the very successful pre-war Drama Department under Sarah Joaquin. It was the most modern and first centralized air-conditioned auditorium in the country, with a revolving stage to boot. The new auditorium became the “Cultural Center of the Philippines” during the 50’s and 60’s, and many artists performed there. For over 20 years, it was the venue for major cultural presentations like the operas La Traviata
, Il Trovatore
, and Carmen
In 1950, the seven-story Science Building was erected. In July 1952, the
Institute of Medicine
was established, followed in June 1955 by the
Institute of Nursing
The university inaugurated the FEU Hospital
on October 22, 1955, which
served as the principal training hospital for students of the Institutes of
Medicine and Nursing.
Other buildings erected were the Chapel, the seven-story Arts Building (AB), the
two-story Home Economics Buildings, the seven-story New Technology Building (THB),
and the eight-story Grade School Building (now Education Hall Building).
These facilities became the venues of instruction of the different institutes
set up after the liberation. The Institute of Medicine eventually became a
non-stock, non-profit educational foundation known as the FEU Dr. Nicanor Reyes Medical Foundation
(NRMF) along with the School of Medical technology
, the FEU Hospital and the Student Health Service Clinic
on August 7, 1970. In 1957, the Institute of Graduate Studies took charge of offering graduate courses, hence allowing the other institutes to concentrate on the administration of undergraduate courses
The 1959, President Teodoro Evangelista articulated the University’s thrust for
the 60’s – “Education for Culture” – a broader program to include arts and
culture in the academic preparation of students to be well-rounded persons. Dean
Alejandro R. Roces introduced the teaching of Humanities, together with Alfredo
Roces, Juses Q. Cruz, and Carmita Legarda. Dean Roces was a major force in many
other pursuits of the University in the areas of arts and culture, including the
commissioning of Fransisco “Botong” Fransisco
to paint the Stations of
at the Chapel and Piyesta ng Anggono
Administration Building, among others.
In July 1970, FEU founder’s eldest son, Nicanor Reyes, Jr., acted as the dean of the newly formed Institute of Architecture and Fine Arts. Eventually he became the University president from March 1971 until his death in 1982. he was succeeded by Dr. Belen E. Guitierrez as acting president.
FEU suffered the same plight experienced by other academic institutions in the country during the martial law regime. One of the consequences of dictatorship on student life was the cessation of The Advocate
, the official student publication of the University. Demonstrations, anarchy and graffiti on all the walls of the University and the city were some of the tangible reactions of the studentry to the authorities.
After EDSA 1, a people power revolt, the situation normalized, particularly in
the so-called “University Belt” – a university district of the city in which the disorder and chaos in the streets penetrated the campuses. Much had to be done by the new administration to achieve the standards of the founder – which was to have not only quality education
but also quality environment
. Dr. Josephine Cojuanco-Reyes, widow of Dr. Nicanor Reyes, Jr., assumed the presidency in 1987. FEU was at the center of a crowded area, but from the start, the quadrangle with buildings intelligently built only on the periphery made it possible to have an organized campus.
In 1989, Dr. Felixberto C. Sta. Maria was installed as the eighth president,
together with Dr. Lourdes R. Montinolla, the only living scion of the founder,
as the Chair of the Board of Trustees. Their tandem brought a renaissance to FEU with efforts to revitalize and preserve buildings and facilities with Art Deco Style. They also continued to revise and improve the curricula. Moreover, three of its units, - Institute of Arts and Sciences, Institute of Education, and the Institute of Accounts, Business, and Finance – attained accredited status.
After careful study of the technology program, the administration in 1992
decided to phase it out in favour of a computer technology program forged with the East Asia Computer Center, Inc.
which offered degrees in computer science and certificate courses.
A cultural rebirth was also brought by the establishment of President’s Committee
on Culture with its twice-a-month presentations of local and international
artists at the historic FEU Auditorium. Modern stage productions necessitated
the overhauling of the auditorium with state-of-the-art theatre facilities,
including a wide screen and a powerful video and computer projector.
Dr. Sta. Maria retired after 60 years of service, and on July 15, 1995, an
eminent public servant, academic and management expert from the Asian Institute
of Management assumed the presidency. Dr. Edilberto C. De Jesus was formally
appointed as the ninth president of FEU on March 9, 1996.
His leadership, anchored on the philosophy of Total Quality Management (TQM),
centered on the sustained growth and development of the faculty, curricula,
facilities, researches and outreach functions.
The University also forged with linkages with other developed academic
institutions that provided of possible technology transfer and assistance for
faculty development. At present, FEU strengthens its international linkages
with the University of Oregon, University of Cincinnati, Eastern Mediterranean
University, Turkey, Girne American University, North Cyprus, University of
Incarnate Word, Texas, among others.
FEU has many firsts; the first to air-condition all classrooms, the first to put
up a basketball court with the latest high-tech facilities including a maple
wood floor, the first to set up an outdoor rubberized basketball court, among
the first to set up electronic libraries. Almost all the buildings have been
done up and different gardens around the campus provide refreshing greenery and
serenity to students who seek a shelter from outside stress.
Dr. Reyes’ dream of a university included the emphasis of art and culture,
aesthetics, and the best facilities the university could afford for a
well-rounded education. FEU today takes pride in having numerous works of art by
National Artists such as Vicente Manansala, Fransisco “Botong” Fransisco, and
Fernando Amorsolo that grace its grounds and buildings.