as of June 2022
Prepared by Lino L. Dizon, PhD
Commissioner, National Historical Commission of the Philippines
Former Center for Tarlaqueño Studies Head

Being the premier center of learning in the province of Tarlac, the beginning of the Tarlac State University (TSU) are synchronous with the beginnings of public education in this heartland of Central Luzon and the whole Philippines.


Universidad Literaria de Filipinas, 1899/ Tarlac Provincial High School 1902

TSU is a landmark in the history of the Philippine Educational System. It is situated in the former area of the Tarlac provincial government where President Emilio Aguinaldo re-installed the First Philippine Republic in June of 1899, with the Casa-Real de Tarlac (presently the site of the Museo-Archivo Tarlaqueño/ Center for Tarlaqueño Studies and the Aguinaldo Hall of the College of Engineering and Technology) serving as the official residence. It was also in the Tarlac capital where the revolutionary president re-instituted his Universidad Literaria de Filipinas on 4 August 1899, the reputed first state university in the whole of Asia. 

After the Philippine Revolution, TSU became the initial site of Tarlac Provincial High School, founded on 1 September 1902, through the initiative of its founding principal, Mr. Frank Russell White. Tarlac Province was the first to erect the initial building solely for high school education during the American colonial period, completed in 1903, in the place where Smith Hall of the TSU College of Arts and Social Sciences now stands.

The Casa-Real de Tarlac, circa 1901, which became the official residence of President Emilio Aguinaldo when Tarlac became the capital of the First Philippine Republic in June 1899. (US NARA). It is now the site of the Museo-Archivo Tarlaqueño, the Center for Tarlaqueño Studies, and thr Aguinaldo Hall of the College of Engineering and Technology.

Tarlac Provincial School, the first high school building in the Philippines, completed in 1903. It is now the site of the Smith Hall of the TSU College of Arts and Social Sciences

Tarlac Trade School, 1906-WWII 

The early and dominant image of TSU among the people of Tarlac was its being a trade school, whose origin can be traced on the opening of the elementary trade in 1906, whereby the director of public instruction mandated the offering of intermediate grades in selected areas in the country to cater to industrial and vocational courses. Known as the School of Carpentering, it was initially headed by Mr, Byron B. Barton. They had woodworking for their shop course.

 In 1909, Mr. Barton was succeeded by Mr. Laurence Swartz, who admitted grade VII boys. It was during this year that the Manual Trade Training Building was completed, in the site of the burned Casa-Real de Tarlac.

The Manual Trade Building of Tarlac that was built on the actual site of the Casa-Real de Tarlac in 1909. Right of the building is the Rizal Statue, said to be the first in the Philippines.(Plate 22), AR Director of Education, 1910.

The School of Carpentering was eventually integrated as part of the high school. Actually, as early as 1905, under the auspices of the provincial government and the Provincial High School, this school begun to include also secondary students in its fold. In 1912, Mr. Manuel Salvador became the initial Filipino to head the school. In 1914, during the Manila Carnival Exhibits, the school was the recipient of three first prizes for quality finished wood projects.

            Mr. Hercules Orquiola succeeded Mr. Salvador as head from 1915 to 1918.

By 1918, Tarlac Provincial High School had evolved into a full secondary school, holding its first ever graduation ceremonies for the transition. It was also this year that the Tarlac High School began its movement further south where the present TNHS (Tarlac National High School) now stands. The original compound was left for the trade school department.  

In 1918, Mr. Victoriano Castro took over the reign of the school. Academic instruction was given at the provincial high school under the supervision of the principal, Mr. Jerry H Cook. In 1919, a new building was constructed in the trade school this year, enabling the opening of First Year secondary trade students, thus entitling Mr. Castro to be the first administrator of the Secondary Trade Course. These secondary students had to take their academic instruction at the Provincial High School while they took their vocational training at the trade school.

            In 1921, Mr. Luis Arceo was appointed to head the trade school. This year, the intermediate grades were dropped. It was, also, then that Cabinet Making became an added feature of the secondary trade curriculum. Native tools were required projects of all students enrolled in Cabinet Making and Building Construction. 

            Mr. Arceo started the offering of Building Construction. Students were paid for overtime work.

            In 1924, Mr. Manuel Ignacio succeeded Mr. Arceo as the head. The school had by then already a complete 4-year secondary program. He stayed with the school up to 1927.

            From 1927 to 1930, Mr. Alejandro Navarro was the head of the school. He offered Automechanics for the first time.

            For a brief period in 1930-1931, Mr. Manuel T. Espinosa became acting head of the trade school. The enrolment at that time was approximately 200.

            Late in 1931, Mr. Exequiel de la Cruz was appointed head of the Trade School under the administration of Mr. Russell Taylor, the principal of the Tarlac Provincial High School. At that time, the Trade School was officially annexed to the provincial high school as its Trade/ Vocational Department.

With the transfer of Mr. de la Cruz in 1932, Mr. Espinosa again became the acting head until the appointment of Mr. Vicente Enrile at the latter part of the year.

            Mr. Vicente J. Mendoza became head of the Trade School in 1934, working with four principals of the provincial high school during his term (Mr. Russell Taylor (until 1934), Mr. Eufronio Malonzo (1934-1935), Mr. Ricardo Castro (1935-1936) and Mr. Conrado Genilo (1936-1937).

            During his stint as Head of the Trade School/Trade Department, Mr. Mendoza constructed more shops to accommodate the students of the general secondary curriculum of the Tarlac High School.

            In 1938, Mr. Mendoza was promoted to Principal of the Trade School. Once again, in the history of the school, it assumed an independent existence, although its students took some of their academic subjects in the Tarlac High School. Mr. Mendoza was the Principal of the school up to the outbreak of Second World War in 1941.


Tarlac Trade School, autonomous, 1946 -1959

In 1946, immediately after the war, Tarlac Trade School was officially separated from the Tarlac High School, with the appointment of Manuel T. Espinosa as its principal. In 1949, Mr. Mario P. Manese took over as principal of the school. Under his administration, the enrolment reached 1400 and the faculty rose from 28 to 57 in number. The Province gave as much as P100,000.00 in aid to the school. In 1952, girls were admitted I the school for the first time. The gasoline station, for instructional purposes in auto mechanics was constructed and operated at about the same time. However, the operation did not last. With the promotion of Mr. Manese to Superintendent of the Pangasinan School of Arts and Trades in 1954, the gasoline station was discontinued and became extinct.

Mr. Arnulfo Toñgio, like his predecessors (Espinosa and Manese) a shop teacher of Tarlac High School in the pre-WWII period, was the Principal from 1954 to 1957. His administration was capped by massive building constructions, most especially those funded by the FOA-PHILCUSA (Foreign Operations Administration [a USA bureau in the 1950s] - Philippine Council of United States Aid) and the NEC-ICA (National Economic Council - International Cooperation Administration. These include the 60-m CLAA Grandstand, the 6-bays Automotive Shop and the Girls’ Trade Building, all started in 1953 and completed one to two years later.

In 1957, Mr. Pascual Galura, a native of Bacolor, Pampanga, became the principal with the retirement of Mr. Toñgio. During Mr. Galura’s incumbency, he made himself a popular school administrator among the people of the Tarlac community. The commercial jobs during his period of administration continued to increase. It was during his time that the school uniform with insignia was adopted. It was during Mr. Galura’s incumbency that initial moves for the conversion of TTS into a national school of arts and trades were initiated (to be renamed as TSAT - Tarlac School of Arts and Trades).

On November 3, 1958, Mr. Diosdado Nicdao took over the reins of the Tarlac Trade School. He would be the last administrator of the Tarlac Trade School.


Tarlac School of Arts and Trades, 1959-1965

 More than a decade later, on 29 June 1959, the Congress of the Philippines approved RA 2427 from House Bill 1006, jointly sponsored by then Congressmen Constancio Castaneda and Jose Roy, converting Tarlac Trade School into Tarlac School of Arts and Trades (TSAT); with Mr. Manuel T.Espinosa also becoming its first Superintendent. As a nationalized academic institution, TSAT began to offer collegiate technical education courses in the province. In September 1963, Mr. Mario P. Manese returned as the 2nd Superintendent of TSAT.


Tarlac College of Technology, 1965-1989

In 1965, through the passage of Republic Act 4337, TSAT acquired its full-fledged status as a college, the Tarlac College of Technology (TCT). Among other provisions, the law called for the merging of TSAT with Tarlac National Agricultural School in Camiling, Tarlac. Dr. Mario P.Manese was appointed as its first president (1965-1972), who introduced the courses teacher education and engineering.

Prof. Jack P.Smith replaced Dr. Manese in 1972 as TCT President. It was his early tenure when Presidential Decree 609 was mandated in 1974, which instructed the separation of TCT from its agricultural component, which became the present Tarlac College of Agriculture in Camiling. Smith’s lengthy stay in TCT saw its expansion as a state college, particularly with the acquisition of a 10-hectare lot in Barrios Ungot and Maliwalo that came to be known as Lucinda Campus and which eventually became the site of the Laboratory School and various agro-industrial projects of the institution.

In 1976, the TCT organized the Graduate School with academic programs leading to the degrees of Master of Arts in Education, with majors in Guidance in Counseling and Educational Management. In 1978, the TCT set-up degree programs in Master of Public Administration, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, and the revised two-year Trade Technical Education, and in 1983, the Bachelors of Science in Architecture and Elementary Education. Dr. Ernesto O. Cosme was designated Officer-in-Charge in September 1984, eventually becoming TCT’s third and last president.


Tarlac  State University, 1989 - present

It was during President Cosme’s administration that R.A. 6764 was signed into law by then President Corazon C. Aquino on October 13, 1989, converting TCT into Tarlac State University (TSU); thereby serving as its acting president. The conversion was made possible through the sponsorship of Tarlac’s three congressional district congressmen namely, Jose Cojuangco Jr., Jose Yap and Herminio S.Aquino.

Dr. Cosme’s stay in both the TCT and TSU saw the further expansion of the physical structure and academic programs. Modern buildings rose on the 1.2 hectare Main Campus and the 10 hectare Lucinda Campus. Additional programs were opened, such as Doctor of Education Management in Consortium with the Technological University of the Philippines (TUP), Bachelor in Secondary Education, Bachelor of Science and Accountancy, Business Administration major in Entrepreneurship, Chemistry, and Bachelor of Arts and Social Sciences.


On August 08, 1990, the TSU Board of Regents appointed Dr. Alejandro M.Fernandez, then Professor of Political Science and Ninoy Aquino Professor of Development in the University of the Philippines, as the first president of TSU. During this time, TSU was able to acquire its more than eight hectares for a third campus in San Isidro under a 50-year lease contract with the provincial government. Upon the end of the term of Dr. Fernandez, Graduate School Dean of Dr. Priscillla Viuya, was appointed as OIC of TSU effective February 28 up to mid-September 1994.


On September 14, 1994, Dr. Rodolfo Y. Baking, from the Technological University of the Philippines, was appointed by the BOR as the second president of the University. Like his predecessors, his administrative policies were geared towards the upgrading of academic standard and the offering of curricular programs that will cater to the development needs of the government and the private sector. Unfortunately Dr. Baking was not able to finish his term.


On December 5, 1996, the Board designated Dr. Dolores G. Matias, then the VP for Academic Affairs, as the Officer-In-Charge. On March 24, 1998, Dr. Matias was formally appointed as the Third President of TSU. During her incumbency, the Graduate School and College of Business and Accountancy attained level-two accreditation while the Colleges of Arts and Sciences and Education attained level one accreditation. The College of Engineering, which already had a level-one accreditation, was proposed for the next level accreditation. The Colleges of Technology and Architecture were readied to undergo the same process. It was also during President Matias’ term that the College of Nursing was started, in 2004. By virtue of Board Resolution No. 70, s. 2003, the Board of Regents approved the opening of the College of Nursing offering the following programs Associate in Health and Science Education and Bachelor of Science 1n Nursing. The College has as its base hospital, the Tarlac Provincial Hospital through a MOA with the Tarlac Provincial Government. On June 8, 2005, the TSU College of Nursing Building in the TSU Lucinda Campus was inaugurated. It is a three-story structure with 1& lecture rooms, 3 allied health and medical laboratories, nursing and laboratory, clinic, dean's office, faculty room, 3 equipment storage room and 6 restrooms.

Also, during President Matias’ incumbency, passing average in the board examination of the graduates improved. Other courses were opened like B.S. in Computer Science, Bachelor of Fine Arts, and Doctor of public Administration. The Ed. D. major in I.E.M. was continued to be offered by the University on its own, now without the consortium, while another major, educational management, was added to the Ed. D. program. The Testing Center was institutionalized and evening classes were organized. Additional classrooms and university facilities were also built and the students were accorded a function room and added space for their use. The student population during this time increased to more than 10,000.


On March 26, 2006, Dr. Priscilla C. Viuya was appointed as the Fourth President of the University. Taking her initiatory stride from the contributions of her predecessors, she led TSU to the growing demands and standards of tertiary education in the country and the world. With her at the helm, a number of colleges were created, including the College of Human Kinetics (2006) and the College of Law (2007). In turn, the existing colleges have been beefed up with new curricular offerings and programs, both in the undergraduate and graduate levels, including B.S. in Hotel and Restaurant Management and Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration (under the College of Business Administration and Accountancy), Criminology, (College of Arts and Social Sciences) and Master of Arts in Education, with majors in pre-School Education and Guidance and Counseling (College of Education). 

TSU has also achieved international status with the opening of courses and linkages with higher educational institutions around the Asian continent. With its expanded International Affairs program, it is now catering to respective students from its South Korea, Hong Kong, Vietnam, China, and Malaysia partnerships.  Not forgetting the Tarlac home ground, President Viuya was also responsible for the opening of TSU campuses in the towns of Victoria, Pura, and La Paz, in MOA with respective LGUs. This paved the way for TSU-LGUs partnership, which is well supported by the Tarlac Provincial Government, which is keen on expanding the program to other municipalities in the days to come. 

Most of the curricular offerings of TSU have already undergone accreditation, making the University the 6th best performing SUCs (State Colleges and Universities) in the country, as assessed by AACCUP (Accrediting Agency of Chartered Colleges and Universities in the Philippines). TSU has among the biggest percentage of accredited professors and meritorious ranking in NBC evaluations, with great faculty representation in national and international conferences and trainings in instruction, research and extension, including Fulbright and other programs. Thus, in the assessment of the Commission for Higher Education, TSU is now among the best performing SUCs.


It was also during President Viuya’s term that TSU achieved an ISO (International Organization for Standardization) 9001 certification, through the University Extension Office in 2008. The University has become also the training centers for the K+12 programs of the Department of Education and the Wireless Assessment for Health Programs.  In partnership with the Eduardo Cojuangco Foundation and the University of St. La Salle, TSU was the home of the PROJECT-FREE program that offered scholarship in master and doctoral programs to more than 2,000 public school teachers of Tarlac. With many publications and researches, TSU has become a center for local history and culture. 

In infrastructure development, the College of Science/Registrar, Multi-Purpose Business Center, Supply Office and Procurement, and Gender and Development buildings were created in the main campus, with the TSU Main Gymnasium, the Smith Hall and Canteen undergoing massive renovations. Major improvements in the main campus also include the pavement of the front ground and the construction of pedestrian and car gates.  At the Lucinda Campus, the new establishments include the TSU Hostel, ROTC, Pangrehiyong Sentro ng Wikang Filipino Region 3, Main Library, Interfaith Chapel, Food Center, Clinic, and the Research, Extension, and Development buildings. In the San Isidro Campus, the new establishments include the Food Technology Building and the Student Affairs Center. There was also major improvement at the Student Center (Lucinda Campus) and the Canteen (San Isidro Campus). 


On March 31, 2014, Dr. Myrna Q. Mallari was appointed as 5th President of Tarlac State University. Her platform centers on making the University a leading institution in the Asia-Pacific Region, institutionalizing the core values on Excellence and Enhance Competence, Quality, Unity, Integrity and Involvement, Trust in God, Transparency and True commitment and Yearning for Global Competitiveness (EQUITY).

In a period of almost one year, the Mallari Administration had accomplished so much for the University’s constituents and stakeholders. Most of the degree programs of the University have acquired Certificates of Program Compliance (COPC) from the Commission on Higher Education. A record of a total 45academic degree programs had undergone accreditation within a year by the Accrediting Agency of Chartered Colleges and Universities of the Philippines (AACCUP). It is a record that will stand among the SUC system for quite some time.

On February 18, 2015, Tarlac State University was awarded by the Accrediting Agency of Chartered Colleges and Universities in the Philippines (AACCUP) as the TOP 11 Ranking SUC’s with the most number of programs granted accreditation status (Candidate and Accredited Programs (Level I-IV)) and TOP 11 Ranking SUC’s with the most number of programs awarded candidate status.

TSU also prides itself to be the only SUC with a Government Authority to conduct Transnational Education programs. The University also has established international linkages, especially with the Hong Kong Management Association, Hong Kong LifeLong College, Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology (HUTECH) – Vietnam, Yeungjin College, South Korea,Infrastructure University, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia are among the recent international student mobility programs were also established with South Korea higher education institutions.

Infrastructure development has been intensified. The new Business Center Building has been constructed at main campus. Phase 1 of the College of Computer Studies Building at San Isidro Campus has been completed. On-going projects include the construction of the Covered Court at the San Isidro Campus, construction of the center wing of the 5-storey College of Computer Studies Building with the Fire Protection System on the left wing. All of these steps are geared towards the attainment of the vision of the Tarlac State University in the Asia-Pacific Region. All of these plans are enshrined in the recently crafted TSU Development Framework and Roadmaps for2015-2025. Noteworthy in the plan are the various roadmaps, namely: Roadmap A- Infrastructure Facilities and Equipment Development Roadmap; Roadmap B-Faculty, Personnel and Executives Developmental Roadmap; Roadmap C- Quality Management System Roadmap D- information System Strategic Plan/Roadmap.

By the end of 2015, from December 7 to 11, TSU undergone was granted Institutional Accreditation by the Accrediting Agency of Chartered Colleges and Universities in the Philippines (AACCUP), Inc., among the initial SUCs to be awarded in the country.

Only months later, on March 25, 2016, the University was able to prove that it can a follow the standards developed by the International Organizational of Standardization. The University received three IOS certifications simultaneously for this year: ISO 4001:2015 was awarded for complying with the Environmental Management Standard, ISO 9001:2015 for Quality Management System and . 

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) also approved the university as Delivering Higher Education Institution for the K to 12 Transition Program for three (3) programs. These programs are: Master of Arts in Education major in Guidance and Counseling, Master of Arts in Education major in Technology and Livelihood Education, and Master of Arts in Education major in Mathematics.

The College of Education was awarded as Center of Development for Teacher Education on May 17, 2016.

TSU now boasts of an enrolment reaching the 17,000 mark, making it among the biggest in the region. It is history and work in progress as the University of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the Tarlac State University.

On 31 March 2022, the Tarlac State University Board of Regents has installed Dr. Arnold E. Velasco as the sixth president of the university. He is an alumnus of Tarlac College of Technology (now TSU) where he finished his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering degree in 1989.

Dr Velasco served as the Vice President for Academic Affairs of Tarlac Agricultural University from January 2021 to March 2022. Other administrative positions previously held by Dr. Velasco are: TAU College of Education Dean (2014-2016), Admission and Registration Services Director (2016-2020), and Research and Development Director (2020-2021).

His term as University President started on April 1, 2022 until March 31, 2026.