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Coordinates: 9°18′52″N 123°18′22″E 9.31444, 123.30611


Silliman University

  • Location & Contact Information
    • Address, Directions, & Map:
      • Hibbard Avenue, Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental, Philippines 6200
    • Telephone Numbers: +63.35.422.6002
    • Official Website: [1]

History & Memorable Moments

  • To most Americans from the late 1800, Dumaguete was a name their tongue was to master. It was unfamiliar to them. Even the Philippines, which in that time was recovering from the onslaught of the Spanish-American War, was not on the immediate list for a Presbyterian assignment. However, it took the vision and commitment of a man to flip this around.
  • The late Dr. Arthur Carson, third Silliman president, composed in his book how a man's powerful resolve to greatly help form Philippine education paved the way for the constitution of Silliman University. This man was Dr. Horace B. Silliman, a retired businessman of the town of Cohoes in New York State.
  • In 1899, Dr. Silliman looked in the office of this Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions together with the certainty the Filipino people would need a new kind of education. To support this, he contributed the first sum of $10,000 toward the founding of the industrial school. Legend has it that the Board Secretary was astonished and also clarified that the Board had just started to look at a mission in the Philippine islands. The Board Secretary believed it would be too early to get a school.
  • However, the visitor persisted. Something had captured his imagination about these islands, and the individuals whom he had never seen and whom he'd never meet.
  • Dr. Silliman had been a busy supporter of schools and colleges. Among such institutions was Hampton Institute of Virginia, and his proposition to the Presbyterian Board was for an industrial school in the Philippines on the Hampton model.
  • The mission in the Philippines began with Dr. David Sutherland Hibbard and wife, Laura, who were commissioned to head it. While in Cebu, someone suggested for him to make a side trip to Dumaguete. Sailing from Cebu on a Saturday night, he came out early on deck the next morning and watched 'the unsurpassed drama of a Dumaguete morning from the ocean.'
  • It was told that the friendly attitude of the folks and the caliber of the local officials attracted him to Dumaguete, a 'place of well-being and beauty.'
  • On August 28, 1901, Silliman Institute was established. As Dr. Hibbard described the small beginning of Silliman half a century later: There were fifteen boys that first morning. Enrollment in the university grew gradually to include students from Asian countries. The calendar year 1912 marked the admission into the university of the very first female student, Pura Blanco.
  • Silliman was awarded university standing in 1938.
  • But Silliman braved these historical events and left dents on the webpages of Philippine history.
  • At the height of the war, Silliman faculty members and pupils evacuated to four localities in Negros Oriental, and continued rendering professional services whenever there clearly was a chance. This led to the establishment of the "jungle university" in the mountain of Malabo -- the first community school in the Philippines.
  • In 1972, when martial law was declared, Silliman was among the first two universities closed. It was also one of the last universities allowed to resume operations following the closure. Regardless of the danger to life and democracy, martial law did not, however, stop students from gathering and keeping their patriotism aflame. At the basement of the Silliman University Church, in a room called the Catacombs, the 'secret' campus rendezvous of students continued.
  • The affluent contribution of Silliman to Philippine history has earned it the distinction of National Landmark from the National Historic Institute on June 19, 2002.
  • Growth of Silliman in the early period was heavily attributable to this support of this local community. Local households shared in the vision of Dr. Silliman and thought in the educational pursuits of Dr. and Mrs. Hibbard, and accordingly offered their properties through sale and donation to expand the campus. Later developments were characterized by more infrastructure development and initiation of pupil activities, which range from journalism, public speaking, performing arts, and athletics.
  • Silliman continues to be nurtured under administrations directed by presidents of personality and also examined credentials. The incumbent President, its twelfth, is Dr. Ben S. Malayang III, an expert in environmental policy and governance. A Silliman alumnus, he holds two Master of Arts degrees in the Ohio University: one in International Affairs (Southeast Asia Studies; Major in Economics, Minor in Political Science and Philosophy); and a Doctor of Philosophy in Wildland Resource Science from the University of California at Berkeley.


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