San Pedro College was founded in 1956 by the Dominican Sisters of the Trinity from Quebec , Canada . It began as a school of nursing of the San Pedro Hospital , the first Catholic hospital in Mindanao , which the religious sisters have been operating since their arrival in 1948.
Inspired by the Most Rev. Clovis Thibault, PME, then Bishop of Davao, the Dominican Sisters led by Sr. Pauline Guilmette, OP and Sr. Cecile Denise, OP, laid the foundation of the San Pedro Hospital School of Nursing. Bishop Thibault facilitated the acquisition of the land on which the school was built.
The school accepted the first batch of students in SY 1956-57 with Mrs. Amanda Trinidad as School Principal. This first batch of students eventually graduated in 1959. The term of Mrs. Trinidad as Principal was short lived. She was succeeded by Mrs. Amparo G. Noel who served from 1956 to 1964; followed by Mrs. Mercedes M. Flores (1964-1969); Sr. Lydia V. Arcader, OP, an alumna (1969-1970); and Miss Corazon B. Dela Peña, another alumna, who also served as Principal from 1970 to1972.
While the academic program (Graduate in Nursing-GN) was open to the administration of the lay, the directorship of the school was held exclusively by the Sisters. Sr. Pauline, the first Directress retired in 1961. She was succeeded by Sr. Rita Stang, OP. As a nurse who understood the needs and problems of the growing school of nursing, Sr. Rita instituted the much-needed development programs of the school.
In 1966, the directorship of the school was passed on to the Filipino Sisters of the congregation, the first of whom was Sr. Filipina V. Paña, OP, who maintained the high standards set by her predecessors and did some innovative projects as well. Through her efforts, the San Pedro Health Center, now San Pedro College Health Center (SPCHC) was set up in Agdao in 1967. The establishment of the Center became necessary with the growing number of students needing community exposure. The SPCHC has since become a focus of the students’ community experience and has also become a boon to the poor residents of the Agdao area. After an almost four decades of existence, the SPCHC has metamorphosed into a health center equipped with laboratory, pharmacy, physical therapy rehabilitation department, pre-school, and a lying-in center.
In SY 1972-1973, the school forged a consortium with the neighboring Catholic school – the Holy Cross of Davao College to start off the offering of four-year degree programs, a step toward the granting of a college status for the school. Consequently, Miss Dela Peña’s designation was changed from School Principal to Dean of Nursing. The consortium lasted for one year. In 1973, the school was granted government approval to operate as a college. Then, the San Pedro Hospital School of Nursing began to assume the name San Pedro College (SPC). The four-year programs in AB-Environmental Hygiene and Management, BS Biology, BS Guidance and Counseling and a two-year Pre-Dentistry course were offered starting in 1973. Mr. Teodorico Palisada served as Academic Dean of the new programs starting in 1975.
Sr. Bonifacia T.Tecson, OP, succeeded Sr. Paña as School Directress in 1975. During her term, a study was conducted to determine the bright prospects for development. One of the ideas that came out in the 1976 study was the possibility of putting up a medical school as a logical consequence for the courses offered in the AB-BS programs of the college. While SPC was not yet ready to put up a medical school in 1976, a consortium among local schools and hospitals was formed to give birth to the Davao Medical School Foundation, the first school of medicine in Mindanao . Classes of the first would-be doctors were held in SPC classrooms. Housing the medical school in the campus went on for about one school year. This episode of the school’s history spells out SPC’s modest contribution in the foundation of the medical school.
In 1977, the college upgraded its nursing program by offering the five-year curriculum in Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), the first in Mindanao . Following the resignation of Mr. Palisada in 1982, Miss Dela Peña was appointed Dean of College to administer all the academic programs of the school. On this year, the BS Medical Technology program was offered and the nursing program was granted the initial accreditation by the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools Colleges and Universities (PAASCU). Dr. Manalo N. Ongchangco, a pathologist, was appointed Dean of the Medical Technology Department in 1983.
In 1985, the Regional Council of the Dominican Sisters of the Trinity converted the title of school head from School Directress to President. Sr. Lydia V. Arcader, OP, who succeeded Sr. Tecson as Directress, became the first President of the College during her extended term. Mrs. Pacita U. Veloso, another alumna-clinical instructor, was appointed Acting Dean of College in 1986 in the absence of Miss Dela Peña who went on study leave. Miss. Dela Peña returned after graduating from her doctorate degree in 1987.
Re-accreditation of the nursing program was pursued and the Level III accreditation with deregulated status was granted by PAASCU. Upon the return of Sr. Tecson from studies in Rome in 1987, she once again served the college as President. The college continued with its building program. The library was moved to the third floor of the Guilmette Building and more science laboratories were also put up. The old wooden buildings of the college were demolished to give way to the construction of the Bishop Thibault Building . Following her appointment as Regional Prioress of the congregation in 1988, Sr. Tecson was succeeded by Sr. Patria C. Painaga, OP, as President of the college.
Sr. Painaga opened the non-formal education program to address the need of students who otherwise could not be accommodated in the degree programs. Staff and faculty capabilities to implement extension work were likewise strengthened.
In 1991, Sr. Arcader was given another mandate to serve as the fourth President of SPC. New degree programs were opened during her term and the structural development of the college was accelerated. The BS Physical Therapy was opened and the Graduate School also offered MA in Nursing as its maiden program in 1992. Dr. Dela Peña was appointed Dean of Graduate School while concurrently serving as Dean of College. On the other hand, Dr. Grace R. Cid served as the first Dean of Physical Therapy Program succeeded by Dr. Manolete Renato C. Guerrero in 1995.
To harness the development of the college, two offices were created – the Research and Development Office (RDO) in 1992, with Mr. Sergio V. Opena as Director. The Community Extension Services (CES) was likewise , opened in 1993 with Mrs. Nelly T. Decena, previously the Coordinator of Student Affairs, as Director. The CES undertakes the non-formal education programs of the Community School which offered among others, hands-on training in computer literacy, nursing aide, and livelihood skills. In the later part of 1993, Sr. Tecson assumed the two administrative positions left by Dr. Dela Peña upon the latter’s retirement. Mrs. Merilyn P. Moreno was also appointed as Department Head of Nursing and Mrs. Ma. Minda M. Lacuesta as Department Head of Arts and Sciences.
Under her term as Dean of College and also of the Graduate School , Sr. Tecson caused the establishment of the Nurse Development Program for South Cotabato , Sarangani and General Santos City (NDP-SOCSARGEN) in consortium with the Notre Dame of Dadiangas College (NDDC) in 1994. Through this consortium, an extension class in MA in Nursing was offered at NDDC.
The college continued to experience increase in population as it is ushered to its fourth decade as an institution of higher learning. In response to the need for more classrooms and facilities, the five-storey Philomene Labrecque Building was inaugurated in 1995. In the same year, two more programs under Arts and Sciences began accepting students: AB Psychology and Bachelor of Secondary Education with majors in General Science, Chemistry, Physics and Biology. The college also opened the programs in BS Pharmacy, with Mrs. Adelina C. Royo as its Dean, and BS Respiratory Therapy under Dr. Marilyn U. Lim. Likewise, the Graduate School also added programs in MA Hospital Administration, MA Guidance and Counseling, MA Industrial Counseling and MA Pastoral Counseling. The Nursing Program was reaccredited to Level III and the programs in BS Biology and BS in Medical Technology underwent PAASCU visit also in 1995.
When Sr. Arcader’s term as President ended in 1997, Sr. Painaga returned as the fifth president of the college. Having the required doctorate degree, Sr. Painaga also assumed the deanship of the graduate school from Sr. Tecson who got an assignment in Peru . On the other hand, Sr. Grace Diestro, OP, began to serve her term as Dean of College. Mrs. Moreno went on study leave but later opted for early retirement. Mrs. Elsie A. Tee succeeded her now, as Dean of Nursing as the position of Department Head had been converted to Department Dean. Sr. Painaga separated the programs in Education and Counseling from the Arts and Sciences Department. Hence, the creation of the Education and Guidance Department under Dr. Leonore L. Quemada as Dean.
Around this time, the economy of the country had shown remarkable growth. SPC expanded its course offerings to respond to the needs not only of Davao City and Mindanao but also of the promising East Asia Growth Area (EAGA). The college maintained its status as one of the best performing nursing schools in the country. Also in 1997, SPC was recognized as one of the eight Centers of Excellence in Nursing Education (COENE) in the country. With this recognition from the government, SPC was granted financial assistance for faculty development and technology infrastructure. As the only COENE institution in southern Mindanao , SPC shared its resources with the other schools of nursing in the region.
Inspired by the success of its consortium with NDDC, the Graduate School had again forged consortia with other COENE institutions. MS in Nursing was offered with Silliman University (SU) in 1997 and MS in Medical Technology with the University of Santo Tomas (UST) in 1999.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Ma. Minda M. Lacuesta, the Dean of Arts and Sciences assumed as Officer-in Charge of the Office of the College Dean, upon the transfer of Sr. Grace Diestro to the Dominican Hospital in Digos City in 1998. The consistently increasing population of students also required the employment of more personnel. Hence, the Office of Human Resource Development was created also in 1998, to take care of personnel’s professional growth and welfare. Mr. Desiderio N. Noveno, Jr was appointed as Human Resource Director. Academic program expansion continued with the addition of AB in Human Resource Management in 1998 and two more courses in 2000, namely: BS Psychology and BS Computer Science. The professional programs in Nursing, Pharmacy, Medical Technology, and Physical Therapy also maintained remarkable ratings in licensure examinations. Apart from the recognitions in the Nursing Program, SPC was also cited in 1998 and 2000 as Top Performing School of Pharmacy in the country based on the performance of its graduates in the licensure examinations.
The new millennium brought greater challenges to the college. The demand for more globally competitive human resource seemed tough but SPC was undaunted. The Saint Therese building, an imposing structure that houses a modern library and science laboratories was inaugurated in 2001. More information technology (IT) equipment were installed. The Instructional Media Center (IMC) was put up to assist the instruction sector of the college become proficient in multimedia instructional approaches. In 2001, the college was also granted accreditation by the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation (BID) to accept and graduate foreign students.
The year 2002 was most remarkable in the history of the college as it yielded three presidents. In April 2002, Sr. Painaga ended her term to start a new assignment in Peru . However, Sr. Aida T. Frencillo, OP, the Regional Council’s choice to replace Sr. Painaga, opted to first finish her graduate studies before assuming into office. Sr. Lydia V. Arcader, the Regional Prioress, temporarily served as president until October 2002 when Sr. Frencillo was finally installed as the seventh President of the college. In the same year, Mrs. Ma. Minda M. Lacuesta was also appointed Dean of College.
Sr. Frencillo directed the focus of assessment and development of the college on the three main areas of higher education, namely: instruction, research, and community extension. As a matter of policy, a memorandum was issued in 2003 requiring the faculty to comply with the MA degree requirement for college teaching. To entice more faculty members to do research, the research compensation package was likewise, upgraded. As a result, a number of outstanding researches have been defended and presented in research fora held locally and nationwide. Also in 2002, the number of academic administrators was streamlined. The programs in Guidance and Counseling, Education, Computer Science, the newly-opened BS in Commerce ( Marketing and Management Accounting), and BS Information Technology were placed under the supervision of the Dean of Arts and Sciences Department.
The CES, which is now under the directorship of Mrs. Yolanda S. Cortezano, remained to be one of the most productive departmens of the college. The Community School , which is under the CES, had established the St. Therese Kiddie Center also in 2002 to serve the need of employees and the immediate environ of the college. Despite its perceived strengths, the CES continued to strengthen its programs for sustainable development, environmental sanitation and basic literacy by linking with local and international agencies. In 2003, the CES was granted accreditation by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to become an Assessment Center for all graduates of Care-Giving Course in the region.
The Pharmacy Program and the various programs under the Arts and Sciences Department also passed the initial accreditation of PAASCU in 2003. However, the Deregulated Status Award by the Commission on Higher Education, which is effective until 2008, highlighted the whole events in year 2003.
The SY 2004-2005 was also a year of more linkages and networks. The Graduate School , now under Dr. Desiderio N. Noveno, Jr. as Dean, had converted the enrolment from the two-semester system to trimester enrolment. Likewise, a curriculum audit was held to keep the graduate programs relevant to the current needs of client industries and institutions. Two more consortia in MA in Nursing program were established with the Notre Dame of Marbel University (NDMU) in Koronadal City and with Notre Dame University (NDU) in Cotabato City . The consortia provide SPC the opportunity to assist the other higher education institutions in building their faculty qualification, especially in nursing education and at the same time, boost the enrolment of the graduate school.
The basic literacy program for indigenous people of the CES also caught the attention of the government in 2004. This project was jointly recognized and accepted into the Basic Education Assistance for Mindanao (BEAM) Project supervised by the Department of Education (DepEd) and funded by the Australian Government through the Australian Aid Program (AusAid).
Another five-storey building is underway to provide more classrooms and to house more facilities for the ever-growing population of clientele. The college remain proud of the achievements of its graduates. In SY 2004-2005 alone, the Pharmacy Department was cited twice as Top Performing School of Pharmacy; Top 2 in July 2004 and Top 3 in the January 2005 Licensure Examination. All these years also, the Nursing Department remained as one among the Top Performing Schools of Nursing in the country. Nine alumni received the President’s Award during the 2005 Commencement Exercises: two topnotchers in the 2004 Medical Technology Licensure Examination and seven High Raters in the 2004 Nurse Licensure Examination. To date, San Pedro College has already produced a total of 120 Board Topnotchers and 7 High Raters.
In the hands of the current President of the college are the tasks of sustaining the reputation of SPC as a highly credible higher education institution in the country and the challenge of leading the college to what it is envisioned to be beyond its golden anniversary in 2006.
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