Notre Dame of Dadiangas University: Seven Decades of Making a Difference

Marist apostolic presence in the General Santos area started in 1952 when the Missionary of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate turned over Notre Dame of Lagao (a high school) to the Marist Brothers. Students were coming from around Lagao and Dadiangas areas. Since the students coming from Silway and other areas around Dadiangas had to walk a significant distance to Lagao the Marist Brothers thought of establishing campus in Dadiangas. This idea came into reality when in 1953, the brothers under leadership of Brother. Damian Teston, FMS decided to hold classes in Dadiangas.

 Two years later, in 1955, Notre Dame of Dadiangas was recognized as a high school totally independent of Notre Dame of Lagao. Subsequently, the Marist Community of Dadiangas was created to manage Notre Dame of Dadiangas. The community was composed of Brothers Alfred George Ouellette, FMS, Micheal O’Keefe, FMS and Sergio Dignadice. In the year 1958 the Brothers turned over the old school site near the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage church to the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena. The Sisters run the school exclusively for girls while the Brothers administered Notre Dame of Dadiangas exclusively for boys.

In 1959, the College Department was opened. The school under its first director, Brother Michael O’Keefe became Notre Dame of Dadiangas College. To comply with one of the requirements in order to offer a teacher training program, Brother Nicholas Grogan, FMS opened the Elementary Department in 1961. The College started with three courses: Bachelor of Science in Commerce, Bachelor of Arts and Certificate in Secretarial Sciences with 16I students. The Elementary Department started with 180 pupils. Brother Grogan served as the first Elementary Department principal. In SY 1963-64, Ms. Purification Llido was appointed as the first lay Elementary Department principal. As Notre Dame of Dadiangas expanded more offices were established in order to handle responsibilities in the administration. Among the first personnel to handle the newly created offices were Mr. Artemio Sevilla as the High School and College Registrar, Ms. Eremita Alameda as Chief Librarian and Ms. Pilar Ferraren as the Guidance Counselor.

From 1960 to 1975. the population of General Santos City increased by 160).51%. Consequently, the enrollment at NDDC followed the trend. student population also grew steady During this Period, two big industrial companies DOLE-Philippines and Standard Philippine Fruit Company (STANFlLCO)have started to operating the area. In 1968, Dadiangas became General Santos City Job opportunities had increased which spawned more people to migrate to General Santos. A rapid increase in student population followed. This phenomenon called for a proactive response as well to the rapid increase in student population. Brother Henry Ruiz who was appointed as Director in 1967 recognized the need of more classrooms and office spaces. It was then the that a three-storey building was constructed (now named Henry Ruiz Hall in honor of Brother Henry).

During the term Brother Henry as Director of NDDC, three key positions were created, in response to the growing enrollment The Dean of Men, Dean of Women and Dean of Studies. The oblates of Notre Dame (OND)Sisters were invited to work in the College. One of them was assigned as Dean of Women and the rest teach Religious Education.

Brother Herbert Daniel Dumont. EMS succeeded Brother Henry as Director for one school year. Then in 1973, Brother Samuel Geveso was appointed as the first Filipino Brother to head the school and the first to use the title of President. In November 1974, Ms. Olympia Cristobal was appointed as the first lay woman Dean of Studies.

Brother Paul Meuten, FMS, took over as president of NDDC in 1976. He spearheaded the work on the preparation of the school for its accreditation by the Philippine Association for Accrediting Schools, Colleges, &Universities (PAASCU). He then introduced the creation of the system in school operation. Many documents today evolved from ones he prepared to include the policy manual, the student handbook and the like.

Brother James McKnight, FMS, was named President in SY 1979. The school obtained its first accreditation during his term The Small Business Management Advisory Council (SBMAC) started during his term. This was NDDC’s first organized Community Extension Services. Two academic degree programs were opened: BS Mathematics and BS Guidance and Counseling Then a chapel in the campus was built to help provide a right venue for spiritual and religious celebrations of the school community. The dream to build the chapel was realized through fund raising activities and the help of the community, specifically the parents of the elementary pupils.

In 1982, Brother Manuel Uluan was appointed president. During his term as president, the school obtained a five-year accreditation: the Business Resource Center which evolved from Small Business Management Advisory Council (SBMAC) was opened: Notre Dame Lagao Boys and Notre Dame Dadiangas High.

School Boys were merged into one Department of the NDDC: BS Engineering and BS Nursing Program; the opening of the Graduate school programs. The beginnings of the BS Nursing program wa successfully implemented through the help of Sr Mary Mathew Damo, SPC. She was the first head of the Nursing Program In 1985, Brother Leonard Sonza, FMS was appointed President of NDDC. Then, a year later Brother Crispin Betita, FMS assumed the presidency. NDDC was granted a Level III PAASCU accreditation, and became a Center of Early Childhood Education in Region XI. Also, programs that focused on the concept of taking care of the future “were established. These include setting aside funds intended for development and retirement.

An organized faculty development program was conceptualized and implemented. The members of the academic council were tasked to be responsible for this program. Among the goals of the program were to improve the capacity of teachers to deliver effective instruction and to comply with the basic requirements for accreditation particularly for teachers to f their Masters and Doctorate. During this period, the Dean of the Graduate School was appointed. Ms. Gelita Morales was the first appointee for this post.

Participative model of governance was strengthened. More Unit heads participated in creating programs relative to their own budgets, their own plans, implement them and exercise control over their budget. Among the landmarks during Brother Betitas formulated: the Marist Missionary Sisters (SMSM)started their presence in the school (September 1987) with Sr. Patricia Leamy and Sr Malia Josefina losefo, SMSM as the first SMSM to join the NDDC community; the construction a two/storey building for the Elementary Training Department (now named Brother Reginald Theodore Hall); in SY 1991-92 the Elementary Department accepted girls to enroll in the school.

Brother Briccio J. Baynosa, FMS, became President in 1992 He focused his vision on the improvement of facilities. Among the projects undertaken was the construction of the Brother Roger Bagares Hall. The building was dedicated to the first Filipino Brother who died in service. Simple but numerous improvements of the physical facilities including the campus parking lots, the kiosks, the maintenance work-area and office, the painting of the old high school office, the expansion of the chairperson’s office and the faculty room, and the completion of the stage in the covered area. During this period, the Mother and Child Center intended to serve the indigent mothers and children of the SOCSARGEN ta, was constructed. The funding was sourced out through the efforts of Brother Robert McGovern, FMS who obtained the help of the German Doctors Association.

To respond to health and medical needs of personnel, the organization of NDDC Mutual Health Benefit Fund (now program) [NDDC. MHBP]. In the succeeding years, this program saved many employees from financial dislocations due to hospitalizations.

In SY 1995-96. Brother Wilfredo E. Lubrico, FMS assumed the presidency of NDDC, At this point, the financial capability of the school was stable. Notre Dame of Dadiangas College through the years, had been moving well along with the rapid development of General Santos City. General Santos City had been experiencing booming developments. More migrants came to the City. Retrofitting and construction of facilities to respond to the needs of giving quality services. Through continuous improvement of academic programs recognition through accreditations was achieved. The efforts and cooperation of the Marist Brothers, the lay personnel and administrators had achieved a level of excellence, that the government through the Commission of Higher Education elevated the status of the College to University status. Like the Hermitage, Notre Dame of Dadiangas University was built by the Marist Brothers their lay mission partners through hard work and building blocks that started since 1952.

Student population of NDDC was rising very fast. The rapid increase in student population prompted the University to address the shortage of classroom. Leonard Sonza Hall was constructed. then the old one-storey high school building along the National Highway was demolished and the Michael O’Keefe Hall was constructed in its place. The construction work commenced in SY 2003-04. These buildings created spaces for classrooms, library, expansion. the auditorium, two faculty rooms, the Nursing and the Engineering laboratories. The college opened additional academic degree programs: AB in Psychology, Political Science, Mass Communication: BS Biology, BS Architecture, BS in Electrical engineering, BS Electronics and Communications Engineering, BS ibrary Science, BS Social Work, BS in Criminology. Moreover, NDDC was granted the Autonomous Status by the Commission on Higher Education effective October 27, 2003.

 In SY 1996-97, through donations obtained by Broth Robert McGovern, another elementary school was opened at the Espina Campus. This was operated on a socialized tuition scheme. the school’s concrete step to reach out to the least favored sector of General Santos City.

In 1998. the Board of Trustees of NDDC made a landmark decision, the acceptance of girls in the High School in Lagao. Brother John Y. Tan, FMS took over as President in 2006 A significant event took place in the life of the University. On June 26, 2006, Notre Dame of Dadiangas College became Notre Dame of Dadiangas University. Brother Tan was named the first University President.

Notre Dame of Dadiangas University through the years, had been moving well along with the rapid development of General Santos City. Facilities had improved and quality academic programs were recognized through accreditation. The efforts and cooperation of the Marist Brothers, the lay personnel and administrators had achieved a level of excellence, that the government through the Commission of Higher Education elevated the status of the College to University status. Like the Hermitage, Notre Dame of Dadiangas University was built by the Marist Brothers their lay mission partners through hard work and building blocks that started since 1952.

The school had its inauguration as a university, together with the installation of Brother John Y. Tan, FMS, as the first University president, on August 15, the Feast of the Assumption, year 2006.

The following month after Bro Tan’s Installation, three graduate school program and six undergraduate programs were evaluated by PAASCU for accreditation or re-accredi During the second week of No PAASCU team visit, NDDU received the following acc rely two monthsafier member Da result: Education, Business Administration, Arts & Science, and Accountancy were granted re-accreditation for five years Computer Science was for three years.

In January 2007. the school started preparing for the construction of a building in the Lagao campus where the Elementary department is expected to transfer in June 2008. The building would house the classrooms, elementary library, the offices and the laboratories.

 On March I and 2, 2007. the PAASCU team came 5r the resurvey of the Elementary Department. On May 18, 200 PAASCU granted a five-year accreditation status to the Elementary Department and to the Industrial Engineering for three years, while the Graduate programs [MBA, MPA, and MAEd were given one year consultancy. While these accreditation works were on going in three levels, the preparation of the five-year plan continued without let up.

 In June year 2008, the Elementary Department mores Lagao Campus. That same year, the Graduate School also more to Bro. Reginald Laflamme Hall which was previously occupied by the Elementary Department.

School year 2009-2010 was another interesting year. A new president, Brother Manuel V. De Leon, FMS was appointed However, as Brother De Leon was also the Provincial Superior of the Marist East Asia Province, a new position was created the Executive Assistant to the President, to assist him in his task University President. The President in the past three years Bro. John Y. Tan, FMS was assigned to the newly created position as Executive Assistant to the President.

In 2009, the University was granted renewal of the University’s Autonomous Status by the Commission on Higher Education. This was effective March 11, 2009-March 30, 2014 Two new programs, Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management and Bachelor of Science in Tourism Management were also opened. A laboratory for these programs was constructed.

In the First Semester of SY 2009-2010, the IBED High School Department was resurveyed by PAASCU and was granted five-year renewal of its accreditation. During the second semester. both the College and the Graduate School had their successful PAASCU re-evaluation.

In the SY 2011-2012 the administration Building of NDDU Espina Campus was constructed. The project was fully funded through a major donor, Dato Low Tuck Kwong, an alumnus of Maris Stella High School.

In the year that followed, SY 2012-2013, four academic programs were opened. These included Bachelor Science in Pharmacy, Medical Technology, Environmental Science and Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education major in Special Education.

The Executive Assistant to the President, Brother Ta hands-on leadership was the spirit that inspired the community to work hard and fast. when the University decided to pursue the International Organization for Standardization (1SO)9001-2008 Certification in May of 2012. Putting together and organizing documentary evidences on the readiness of the University for ISO Certification was done in a record of seven months. By December 12-14, 2013, the University passed the audit condo by TUV Nord and was given positive recommendation for Certification. It was another milestone in life of NDDU.

 In SY 2014-2015, Brother Paterno S. Corpus, FMS wa appointed President of NDDU. During this school year, bots e accreditation programs were scheduled: the Surveillance Audit to maintain the ISO Certification, the Institutional Sustainability Assessment by CHED, there-accreditation of the ten undergraduate and three graduate programs, the formal survey of integrated Basic Education in Espina Campus, and the resurvey of the High School Program in the Lagao Campus. This makes SY 2014-2015. challenging year for the new President.

In December 2014, both Espina and High School Lagao had successfully passed the PAASCU evaluation. The first ISO surveillance audit took place in December 2014. TUV Nord certified the University certified ISO 9001-2008 compliant.

SY 2016-2017 was a significant year for the Ur welcomed its first batch of Senior High School (SHS) to the ND community. The SHS program of the IBED Lagao was housed in the Main Campus while the IBED Espina has its own identity of SHS program based in the Espina Campus. It was on the same year when NDDU prepared for the ISA Requirements of CHED for the Autonomous and University Statuses. The University was gram Autonomous status for the second time by CHED for a period dt three (3) years.

In December 2016, the Elementary in Lagao, the Civil Engineering, Industrial Engineering and Computer Engineering programs of the College Department prepared for PAASCU re survey visits scheduled in February 2017. NDDU subject itself to be certified by ISO 9001: 2015. After the evaluation visit the University was recommended for ISO Recertification using the ISO 9001: 2015 standards by TUV Rheinland.

With issues on global warming and the effects of pollution due to the use of energy coming from dirty sources, NDDU established its own response through a solar project to promote the use of renewable energy. The project is also a concrete response to the call of the Encyclical Laudato Si of Pope Francis and Philippi Republic Act of 2008 or Republic Act 9315. The NDDU sol project with solar panels installed on the schools building rooftops was implemented and on August 9, 2017 a 499kwp NDDU solar (cut end here) project installation was inaugurated. Savings from this project are pegged to augment funds for educational programs of the University specifically student scholarships.

The SY 2018-2019 marks the entry to college of the graduates of the K-12. With the Senior High School students occupying some buildings of the main campus, there is a need to build more facilities to accommodate in student population. The University, in its plan for campus expansion. has acquired a property in Glamang, Polomolok, South Cotabato. The new campus will be used by the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology.

On the same school year, CHED approved new academic programs. They are: BSBA major in HRM, BS in Hospitality Management, BS Internal Auditing. BS Management accounting, Bachelor of Physical Education, Bachelor of special new education major in elementary teaching, BS Entertainment and Multimedia Computing, and BS Environmental planning, and Bachelor in Multimedia Arts. In the Graduate School four new programs are offered. They are PHD in Nursing, Doctor in Business Administration, MAED Physical Education, and MS Information Technology.

Vocational Technical programs continued to be the in the University. The current Registered Technical Vocational programs are: Bookkeeping NC III, Cookery NC I, Dream NC II, and Tour Guiding NC II. The University was approved Assessment Center for the following programs Bookkeeping III, Dressmaking NC Il, Computer Systems Servicing NCII, and Cookery NC II.