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Republic Act 1387

Creating MSU

The Mindanao State University (MSU) was created under Republic Act 1387 as amended. The Principal author of this Act was the late Senator Domocao Alonto. MSU was formally organized with the induction into office of Dr. Antonio Isidro, then Vice President for Academic Affairs, University of the Philippines, as the founding president of this pioneering state-owned University in Southern Philippines, before Pres. Carlos P. Garcia at Malacanang on September 1, 1961. MSU is located in an elevated 1,000-hectare military reservation and overlooking Lake Lanao, the country’s second largest lake which is 2,256 feet above sea level. MSU was formally opened its first classes on June 13, 1962 with 282 students from the provinces and cities in Mindanao, Sulu, Palawan, Visayas, and even as far as Luzon (MSU-Annual Report, 2007).

The University formally started its operation academic year 1962-1963 with three (3) colleges, namely: College of Liberal Arts, College of Education and Community Development and Public Administration. Two years later, in Academic Year 1964-1965, four colleges were added namely, College of Agriculture, College of Fisheries, College of Business Administration and College of Engineering. In the year 1969, the College of Forestry was established in the University.

Over the years, the University served the different stakeholders and students coming from different regions in the country and with varied cultural affiliations. MSU has grown rapidly in all aspects of its operation from single campus to eleven (11) campuses including MSU-Maigo School of Arts and Trade (MSU-MSAT), Maigo, Lanao del Norte; MSU-Lanao del Norte Agricultural College (MSU-LNAC), Sultan Naga Dimaporo, Lanao del Norte; and MSU-Lanao National College of Arts and Trade (MSU-LNCAT), Marawi City. Accordingly, MSU is the second largest state university in the country, next to the University of the Philippines.

MSU also needs to address the challenge of ASEAN integration and global competitiveness vis-à-vis an increasingly integrated world economy, with a free flow of goods and, services, investments, capital and skilled labor. As strategy, MSU shall implement policies and programs to address the globalization trends, and geared towards advancing its curricular programs to be Center of Peace Development, Center of Excellence and Cenyer of Development are the priority concerns of the university. Furthermore, the university also envisioned to become a research university in the future.

As State University, MSU System mandated to provide both advance instruction and research I the different academic and semi-academic fields. The university is mandated to undertake extension services and development programs specifically in the Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan (MINSUPALA) regions, and provide leadership skills among stakeholders and students as well.

Furthermore, in spite of budgetary challenges, MSU-Main Campus is on the move towards excellence and globalization. MSU-Main Campus also addresses the International/National/Regional development needs. In line to these needs, the university has to mobilize other internal and external sources of funding to meet In the growing demands for sustainability since over the years, government appropriations for funding higher learning institutions has steadily decline specifically with respect to the maintenance and operating expenses. This could be one of the concerns and issues of MSU that is addressed I the MSU-MCIDP 2017-2026.

Old MSU Photo with President Marcos Sr.
A Brief Glance

MSU's History

The Mindanao State University was officially created by law, by virtue of Republic Act 1387 (as amended). It is the first state university in the southern part of the Philippines, in Mindanao, and second to the University of the Philippines being the first and premiere state sponsored institution of higher education in the country. The MSU was formally established on September 1, 1961 in Marawi City, the capital of Lanao del Sur, which was prominently claimed to be the heart of Morolandia owning to the city being the site of the reference point of all roads in Mindanao.

The university was formally established with the first meeting of its Board of Regents in Marawi City on August 19, 1961, that resulted into the election of the first president of the University in the person of Dr. Antonio S. Isidro, the then vice President for Academic Affairs of the University of the Philippines.

Dr. Isidro took his oath of office as President of the University before President Carlos P. Garcia in Malacanang Palace, Manila on September 1, 1961. This date is generally accepted as the Foundation day of the University. On November 18, 1962, Dr. Isidro was formally installed as President by then President Diosdado Macapagal in his visit to the University in Marawi City together with some of members the Board of Visitors of the University that included Speaker Cornelio T. Villareal and Rep. Salipada K. Pendatun. Prince Karim Aga Khan IV was the special guest of honor at the University Visitation Day, and laid the cornerstone for the latter construction of the iconic Aga Khan Museum, one of the remaining yet most enduring historical landmarks of the University.

As mandated by law, the University was tasked to perform the traditional functions of an institution of higher learning: perform instruction, undertake research, and conduct community extension services.

In Addition to the foregoing mandate, and as specified in its goals and objectives, the University was further tasked by Congress of the Philippines to undertake a two-pronged national mission: first, to hasten the integration of the Muslim population into the national body politic; and second, to provide the technical manpower required for the economic and social development of the islands of Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan.

Old MSU Photo at the Sweepstakes Emergency Clinic Building

Dr. Sarangani is an alumnus of MSU. He is a member of the initial batch of 282 students in 1962 and of the group of 63 constituting the first graduating class of MSU in 1966. Dr. Sarangani earlier served as Chancellor of MSU General Santos (1988-90) and MSU Marawi (1990-91), and retired as University Secretary/ Secretary to the Board of Regents on concurrent capacity as Executive Vice President (1990-2011).

The Mindanao State University: A Historical Glimpse

The Pioneering Years (1962-68)

Earlier known as the University of Mindanao, the University started as a single campus university and formally started operations with the opening of classes on June 13, 1962 with an enrolment of 282 students. Majority of the students came from the different provinces of Mindanao, in Sulu and some in Luzon. Most of them were enjoying scholarships granted by the University, while others were supported by the National Science Development Board (NSDB), and the Commission of National Integration (CNI). Students were accommodated in dormitories with the minimum facilities and limited amnesties. They were quartered in rooms according to pre-planned “integrative” goals by geographical origins and ethnic affiliation. Simply put, no two persons coming from the same place can be roommates. These living arrangements were revised every year to allow desired integrative interaction results.

The teaching force were constituted by nine (9) regular faculty members mostly for the liberal arts and sciences, and three (3) American peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs), which eventually rose up to more than 200 in the mid-sixties. The teaching force was complimented by forty-six (46) personnel serving the support services in the dormitories, the cafeteria, the infirmary, the physical plant, the security force and general administration. Academic and administrative buildings, including the dormitories and faculty housing were mostly pre-fabricated, though handicapped by the early issues of electric lighting and water supply facilities.

In addition to the classrooms and the dormitories, a common cafeteria was made available to the campus constituency to provide another feature of an evolving common living experience: a hallmark of campus life in the pioneering years that eventually became a vital ingredient in the development of a character that MSUans continue to be guided and inspired in the pursuit of their respective professions.

Since its inception up until the late 1960’s, the University continued to discharge its mandated tasks. Its first Commencement Exercises was held on April 26, 1966 for the first  graduating class of 63 coming from the Colleges of Agriculture, Business Administration, Community Development, Education, Fisheries and Liberal Arts. His Excellency, President Ferdinand E. Marcos was the 1st Commencement Speaker.

By the mid-1960’s, the University started the expansion of its curricular program through the offering of additional degree courses. Starting with the first three Colleges of Community Development, Education and Liberal Arts, the Colleges of Agriculture, Business Administration, Engineering and Fisheries were later established. These additional units were designed to provide the manpower and technical training needed for the economic development of Mindanao, later to be known as Southern Philippines. The entry of foreign assistance to the University provided added impetus to the development and expansion of its institutional activities centered on science and engineering. The Ford Foundation generously gave funding support and provided the services of Visiting Professors that complimented the similar services sponsored by the British Overseas Volunteers Program (BVSO), the Dutch and Japanese governments. This strengthened the academic programs of the University, while it reinforced the existing faculty services in some curricular offerings of other colleges.

In its declared thrusts to serve its mandate to serve the region, the University started its external expansion by working for the establishment of the Iligan Institute of Technology in 1968. This external unit was envisioned to provide training in science, technology and engineering as a response to develop the required manpower needs of existing local industries such as the National Steel Corporation and other firms dealing with the production of cement, fertilizer, chemical and other related products. In 1969, the university sought for the creation of the Sulu College and Technology and Oceanography to provide training in fisheries and marine science to bolster its vowed goals of increasing fisheries yields in the rich marine areas of the Sulu seas.

The pioneering years were the “trailblazing” days. There was much excitement and eagerness to some; doubts, apprehensions and even fears to others. The tenacious leadership of its founding President, Dr. Antonio Isidro, with the support of the Board of Regents and other University officials paved the way of enlisting the support to the development of the University. As the decade was about to close, the university has firmly planted the seeds of an institutional vision to achieve progress and development in the region within an educational platform of “unity within diversity”.

Old Admin Building Photo

MSU-Main Campus Core Values

Derived from the MSU Charter Mandate, MSU-MAIN is a community characterized by “Unity in Diversity” motivated with the following core values:

  • Mutual Respect, The University stakeholders and constituents respect and understand individuals regardless of race, culture, and religion.
  • Service Orientedness, The University stakeholders provide efficient and effective services.
  • Unity and teamwork, The University stakeholders collaboratively exercise all aspects in accordance to national and global standards, interlink with colleagues in other academic institutions, government, and industry through sharing and collaboration of knowledge, expertise and skills towards career development and job placement.
  • Multiculturalism, Acceptance and tolerance of other cultures geared towards social welfare and development.
  • Academic Excellence, The University maintains its highest standard of excellence both in academic and service performance through instruction, research, extension, community services, peace development, innovations, production, and entrepreneurship, and globalization.
  • Integrity and Trustworthiness, The University leads with Transparency, Respect, Understanding, Service and Teamwork (TRUST) in upholding public trust. Different activities will be performed with the highest standards of honesty, accountability and transparency.
  • Nobility and Professionalism, The University ensures strong camaraderie among stakeholders, Intellectual discourse among other colleagues is encouraged upholding the great ideals of ethical behavior and genuine understanding of one another.


MSU-Main Campus Goals

The MSU-Main Campus is committed to:

Promote and strengthen academic excellence in all levels of education to produce graduates who are competent to meet future needs of humanity;

Enhance the visibility of the university through production of high-impact researches and innovation;



Respond to globalization trends through partnerships and collaborative relationships with national and international universities, research institutions, and industries;

Secure and preserve the University’s resources and facilities;



Integrate peace education programs in the University curricula;

Strengthen and sustain extension services; and

Transform the University through investments in human resource development, infrastructures, and equipment.


MSU-Main Campus Objectives

  1. Promote and strengthen academic excellence in all levels of education:
  • Make the Curriculum relevant to the needs of society;
  • Support Faculty Development in graduate and post-graduate programs in esteemed national and international academic institutions;
  • Upgrade instructional facilities and equipment;
  • Achieve Accreditation or Certification of the different degree programs of the University to become Centers of Development and/or Centers of Excellence;
  • Nurture students’ critical thinking to make them innovative, skilled, and productive learners.
  1. Enhance the visibility of University through production of high-impact researches and innovations:
  • Require faculty to publish researches and patent inventions;
  • Enforce niche building programs;
  • Strengthen in-house reviews and other training programs;
  • Create international peer-reviewed journals;
  • Undertake high-impact, world-leading, and innovative research; and
  • Establish and strengthen University Research Centers. 
  1. Respond to globalization trends through partnerships and collaborative relationships with national and international universities, research institutions, and industries:
  • Generate programs geared towards ASEAN and global integration;
  • Link programs with educational institutions, industries, and other stakeholders;
  • Organize national and international conferences, seminars, and other similar engagements;
  • Become an authority and source of innovative technology and scientific knowledge;
  • Acquire necessary information and technologies for global recognition; and
  • Level up the financial and logistic support for partnerships and collaborative programs. 
  1. Secure and preserve the University’s resources and facilities:
  • Strategize approaches for managing and securing the University’s resources and facilities;
  • Allocate all unused lands for the establishment of relevant projects;
  • Formulate efficient and sustainable land use policies and management plan;
  • Establish a Land Use and Control Office to secure and preserve the properties of the University. 
  1. Integrate peace education in the various programs of the University:
  • Promote peace consciousness and culture sensitivity;
  • Establish and enforce conflict resolution mechanisms;
  • Advocate participatory and inclusive peace programs across different sectors;
  • Cultivate the culture of peace among University constituents and the surrounding communities; and
  • Encourage multi-stakeholder peace building efforts for sustainable peace and development in Mindanao. 
  1. Strengthen and sustain extension services:
  • Strategically build partnerships and collaborations with the community for resources generation;
  • Enhance technology generation and transfer for poverty alleviation in the countryside;
  • Restore trust and confidence among stakeholders through effective and efficient delivery of services;
  • Value socio-cultural, political, and environmental safeguards; and
  • Effectively design information, education, and communication (IEC) materials and mechanisms for extension services. 
  1. Transform the University through investments in human resource development, infrastructures, and equipment:
  • Improve professional and personal development among faculty and staff;
  • Nurture and strengthen the culture of fairness and objectivity in recruitment, retention and promotion of faculty and staff;
  • Viably invest in faculty and student exchange programs with nationally and internationally recognized institutions;
  • Equip the University with world-class instructional facilities and equipment;
  • Sustain infrastructure projects in the University; and
  • Translate University research and innovation outputs into income generating projects (IGP) and Patents.