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A Comprehensive Guide to Silliman University

Silliman University : Dumaguete’s pride
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Silliman University Brief History

Silliman University : Dumaguete’s pride


Silliman University is a private research university in Dumaguete, Negros Oriental, Philippines. Founded in 1901 by the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions, it is the oldest American-founded university in Asia and the first Protestant institution of higher learning in the Philippines. The university is named after its chief benefactor, Horace Silliman, a businessman from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania who donated $10,000 to help establish the school.

The university began as Dumaguete Mission School established by Presbyterian missionaries on August 28, 1901, just two days after Horace Silliman's donation was approved by the Presbyterian Church Board of Foreign Missions. It initially had 23 students taking up intermediate courses at that time. On January 15, 1902, it became Dumaguete Mission Institute offering four-year secondary courses leading to the degree of Bachelor of Arts. When it first opened, it only had five faculty members and two buildings namely the Administration Building and Silliman Hall.

In 1910, the Dumaguete Mission School was renamed Silliman Institute in honor of its principal donor Horace Silliman. When the Philippine Revolution erupted in Dumaguete, some institutes including Silliman were closed down by the revolutionaries due to their American origins. The institute reopened on August 28, 1901, with an initial 23 students taking up intermediate courses. On January 15, 1902, it became Dumaguete Mission Institute offering a four-year secondary course leading to a Bachelor of Arts degree. When it first opened, it only had five faculty members and two buildings; the Administration Building and Silliman Hall.

From school to university

Silliman became a college on October 1, 1918, and was renamed Silliman College. The Department of Economics, the Department of Pharmacy, and the Department of Mathematics were established in 1919 followed by the Department of English Language in 1920. In 1921, it began to offer a two-year Associate in Arts course while continuing to offer the four-year Bachelor's degree program. Also in 1921, the college was given authority to confer the degree Master of Arts in the English Language as recommended by a special committee from the University of the Philippines.

The Graduate School was established in 1927 and the first Master's degrees outside of the English Language were awarded in 1928. The Silliman Memorial Hospital, Dumaguete's first hospital, opened on December 8, 1928. The college became a university on June 21, 1938, by Commonwealth Act No. 3396, and was renamed Silliman University.

World War II to the present day

During World War II, the Japanese Imperial Army occupied Dumaguete starting in 1942. In 1945, the United States Armed Forces landed in Dumaguete and liberated it from the Japanese Imperial Army towards the end of the war.

SU has since grown to become one of the largest universities in the Philippines with over 10,000 students enrolled in its undergraduate and graduate programs. It offers 73 undergraduate majors, 48 master's degree programs, and 3 doctoral degree programs.

The university is also home to the Silliman National Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports the university's educational, cultural, and social development programs.

Silliman University is accredited by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges, and Universities (PAASCU). It is a member of the Association of Christian Universities and Colleges in Asia (ACUCA), the Dumaguete City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (DCCCII), and the Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges (PASUC).

Educational system

5 Cs of Silliman Education

Silliman University’s educational system is built on the foundation of its core values, which are expressed in every aspect of its organization and activities. The university upholds excellence in teaching, research, and service to the local community as well as to humanity at large. It also encourages individual growth and development through spiritual formation, leadership opportunities, and community engagement.

To meet the needs of its students, Silliman University offers a wide range of educational programs across its nine academic units. These include the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, School of Business and Economics, Institute of Religious Studies, Institute for Social Transformation, Center for Language Learning Excellence, Computer Science Research Center, School of Education, School of Nursing, and the College of Hospitality Management. Each unit offers its degree and diploma programs that are tailored to the individual student’s needs.

In addition to traditional classroom instruction, Silliman University also provides numerous online courses through its eLearning platform. This allows students from around the world to access the same quality of education, regardless of their location.

The university also offers a comprehensive student support system, with everything from career counseling to mentoring sessions. This ensures that each student receives the necessary guidance and resources they need to succeed in their educational journey. Further, Silliman University has a vibrant research culture in place that encourages academic growth and exploration.

Overall, Silliman University is committed to providing an exceptional educational experience for its students. With its commitment to excellence, innovation, and student success, the university continues to be a leader in higher education in the Philippines.

Silliman University also provides numerous extracurricular activities, student organizations, and volunteer programs to further enhance the education of its students. These activities offer a great opportunity for students to develop new skills and form lasting relationships with their peers.

Silliman University Virtual Campus Tour 2020

In conclusion, Silliman University is an example of what a successful educational institution should be -- committed to excellence in teaching, research, service, and student development. With its diverse educational programs, comprehensive student supports, and dynamic extracurricular activities, Silliman University is well-equipped to provide students with the best possible educational experience.

The university has been recognized for its outstanding contributions to education by numerous organizations, including the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). This recognition is a testament to the university’s commitment to providing an exceptional learning experience for its students.

Silliman University is dedicated to continuing this tradition of excellence and innovation in its educational system, ensuring that each student receives the best possible education available. The university strives to cultivate a culture of learning and excellence, making it an ideal university for students around the world to pursue their educational dreams. 


If you are looking for a university in Dumaguete, Silliman University is the best choice. With its long history and tradition of excellence, SU has something to offer everyone. Dumaguete is also a great place to live, with its laid-back atmosphere and friendly people. I hope this guide has helped give you an overview of what Silliman University has to offer. 

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