By way of a History 

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


Cientifico-Literaria Universidad, 1899/ Tarlac 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 installed his Philippine Revolutionary Government in June of 1899. This is the hallowed ground where the revolutionary president instituted his Cientifico-Literaria Universidad on August 4, 1899, the first state university in the whole of Asia.   

After the Philippine Revolution, TSU became the initial site of Tarlac High School, founded on September 1, 1902, the first high school in the Philippines.  

Tarlac Trade School, 1906-1959 

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 a vocational department of the Tarlac High School when, in 1906, the director of public instruction mandated the offering of intermediate grades and selected areas in the country to cater to industrial and vocational courses.  

By 1918, Tarlac High School had evolved into a full secondary school, holding its first ever graduation ceremonies for the transition. Actually, as early as 1905, under the auspices of the provincial government and the Provincial High School, this school begun to include secondary students in its fold 

In 1931, during the term of Mr. Russel Taylor as the principal, a special section of Tarlac High School, known as “Trade School” was created as a special unit of the institution. It was a status maintained until the onset and the end of the Second World War. 

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. 

Tarlac  School of Arts and Trades, 1959-1965 

More than a decade later, in 1959, the Congress of the Philippines approved 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. Espinosa also becoming its first Superintendent. As a nationalized academic institution, TSAT began to offer collegiate technical education courses in the province. 

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 Manese was appointed as its first president (1965-1972), who introduced the courses teacher education and engineering. 

Prof. Jack 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. Cosmes’ 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 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. During this time, 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 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 ISO certifications simultaneously for this year: ISO 9001:2015 was awarded for complying with the Quality Management System, ISO 4001:2015 for the Environment Management System, and OHSAS 18001:2007 for Occupational Health and Safety Management Series.  

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

TSU now boasts of an enrolment reaching the 14,000 mark in 2020, 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.  


Prepared by:

Lino L. Dizon, PhD.

Center for Tarlaqueño Studies