The University of the Philippines, the first and premier state institution of higher learning in the country, was founded on June 18, 1908 by an act of the First Philippine Legislature. Act No. 1870, otherwise known as the University Charter. Beginning with the operation of the School (now College) of Fine Arts and the College of Agriculture in 1909 and the transfer of the Philippine Medical School (now College of Medicine) in 1910, the University has since undergone considerable growth. From the initial three colleges, ten more were organized within the first decade. In 1968, 60 years after its founding, the University had 28 colleges in 3 campuses in addition to 5 regional colleges.
Through Presidential Decree No. 52, dated November 20, 1972, the President of the Republic authorized the Board of Regents to establish a University of the Philippines System so that the University may serve as a more effective instrument of national development while maintaining its commitment to arts, letters, and the humanities, as well as to the pursuit of truth and the highest standards of academic excellence. Such reorganization was effected by preserving the institutional unity and academic integrity of the University while allowing for decentralization of authority and autonomy of the component units. UP Los Baños, the agricultural center for Asia, was designated as the first constituent university. This reorganization was approved by the Board of Regents at its 828th meeting on November 21, 1972, effective January 1, 1973.
On November 22, 1973, a presidential decree created the Philippine Center for Advanced Studies as the second constituent member university. It was abolished however on July 9,1979 except for its academic programs and two of its institutes which were retained by the University. At its 894th meeting on October 28, 1977, the Board of Regents approved the establishment of a Health Sciences Center. On January 24, 1979, an executive order provided the mechanism for the establishment of the Health Sciences Center (now UP Manila) as another constituent member of the reorganized University. The UP Visayas (Iloilo) was established by the. Board at its 914th meeting on May 31, 1979 to be the national center for fisheries.
At its 976th meeting on April 23, 1985, the Board of Regents formally established UP Diliman as a constituent university, more than a decade after the reorganization. UP Mindanao was created by Republic Act 7889 and became a constituent university in 1995. In 2008, Philippine President Gloria M. Arroyo signed Republic Act 9500, also known as the UP Charter of 2008.
Today, the University of the Philippines is composed of eight constituent universities: UP Diliman, UP Los Baños, UP Manila, UP Visayas, UP Open University (for distance education), UP Mindanao, UP Baguio, and UP Cebu.
From an initial enrollment of 50 in 1909, the total count of students had grown to over 50,000 (80% undergraduate and 20% graduate), close to 4,000 full-time faculty (72% with graduate degrees), over 1,000 part-time faculty, over 1,000 research and extension staff, over 8,000 administrative personnel, and over 260,000 alumni scattered across the globe.
In 2011, the 20th University President Alfredo E. Pascual envisioned the UP strategic path as being "towards becoming a great university in the 21st century". He stated that, "the path to greatness can be achieved through our united effort, and our individual and collective recognition that we are ONE UP We are One UP guided by One Charter, upholding the same tradition of honor and excellence. Moving UP toward greatness is possible through the unified effort of its students, faculty, researchers, adminsitrative staff, and alumni."
The University is currently headed by the 21th University President Danilo P. Concepcion, who assumed office in February 9, 2017.
The U.P. Charter of 2008 is available here for download. Please click on the link below.
Updated: RAE, 09 July 2019