Brief History

The Bicol University, a state university in Region V, was created on June 21, 1969 through the passage of Republic Act 5521 but was institutionalized on September 22, 1970 by virtue of Resolution No. 1 of its Board of Regents. Section 2 of the aforementioned Act mandates that the following schools comprise the University: the Bicol Teacher's College (BTC) with its Laboratory School (BTCLS) at Daraga Albay, the Daraga East Central  School also in the same municipality, the Albay High School in Legazpi City- all of which have become the College of Education with its Laboratory School; the Bicol Regional School of Arts and  Trades (BRSAT) in Legazpi now  the College of Engineering and the College of Industrial Technology; the Roxas  Memorial Agricultural  School (RMAS) at Guinobatan , Albay which now is the College of  Agriculture;  and the School of Fisheries at Tabaco Albay, now the College of Fisheries otherwise known as the “ Bicol  University Tabaco Campus”. These academic institutions most of them founded for more than half a century formed the matrix of Bicol University. 

Through the leadership of historian-lawyer Dr. Ricardo A. Arcilla, who, as Bicol University's first president, has been given charge over the institution for its decade of existence, the developmental path of BU was charted. Unity and harmony was considerably attained among the initial constituents within the units of the University. Policy making was systematized. To engender powerful forces of forward movement in education and research, Graduate Education was offered in June 1972 with its first batch of enrollees in the Master of Arts and Education Program. In the same year, the College of Arts and Sciences was established, followed by the College of Nursing in 1973. 

The ensuing decade of university existence was marked by a period of linkages with several organizations and agencies, rapid growth, and new spectra of activity such as the Center of Cultural Studies, Computer Center, Audio-Visual production Center, including a number of community and extension projects. With Judge Aquilino B. Bonto running the cogwheels of the University, the decentralization of the administrative and financial management of the University was realized; thereby endowing the colleges with more autonomy. 

It is to his merit that a Medium-term Development Plan of BU was plotted. In 1981, an externally funded program supported by the World Bank was organized – the Regional Institute of Fishery Technology in the College of Fisheries that aimed to give a strengthened Diploma in Fisheries Technology Program. This diploma program remained even after the World Bank's support ended on December 31, 1988. 

The year 1987 was significant to the BU College of Agriculture (BUCA) for it was the time when the institution was chosen as one of the implementers of the Agricultural Training Institute of the Agricultural Technology Education Program by the Department of Education, Culture and Sports. Financed by an Asian Development Bank loan, BUCA served as a pilot provincial Technological Institute in Agriculture.

 Five years later, two more achievements were put on line; the rise of the BU Institute of Communication and Cultural Studies (BUICCS) to give way to the Bachelor of Communication Arts curriculum, and the hosting of the Regional Science Teaching Center of the Department of Science and Technology in Region V (DOST). Owing to Dr. Patria G. Lorenzo, the third president who is a multi-awarded educator and leader, infrastructure development was carried out. However, cultural and value transformation was rendered of paramount importance.

The increasing number of enrollees and the changing demands of the times paved the way for the establishment of the BS Forestry Program in 1993; hence the College of Agriculture was renamed “College of Agriculture and Forestry.” Likewise, the College of Fisheries was restructured to be the BU Tabaco Campus. The following year, the Science Teaching Center hosted by BU was made a component unit of the University. Within a span of three years, the BU Gubat Campus was converted into a Bicol University Extension Program, similar to that of Camp Crame. Also, in 1995, the Computer Science Institute was born in response to the extreme mobility of Communication and Information Technology. 

Its founding went hand in hand with the renaming of the School of Arts and Trades as “College of Industrial Technology,” and the shaping of the Institute of Physical Education, Sports and Recreation to manage PE classes and Sports and Recreation programs of the University. All these would not have materialized if not for Dr. Lylia Corporal Sena, the fourth University president who took that bold step to expand BU's academic, research and extension endeavors. 

From 1999-2003, the decentralized administrative and fiscal system in the University was fortified. Remarkable leaps in the information and Technology programs were achieved, and the drawing of a Comprehensive Development Plan was done. Under the presidency of Dr. Emiliano A. Aberin, the University, likewise, integrated the School of Philippine Craftsmen in Polangui, Albay. The unit is known at present as the BU Polangui Campus. 

Bicol University continued to forge viable ways to be in the forefront of service to the region and the nation. Under the first two-year stewardship of Dr. Susana C. Cabredo, the sixth president of the University, the blueprint of the Comprehensive Development (ComDev) Plan finally took shape. It paved the way for the restructuring of the University's academic courses that gave birth to at least four new colleges: the College of Arts and Letters (CAL), the College of Science (CS), College of Business, Economics and Management (CBEM), and the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy (CSSP). Dr. Cabredo also effected administrative issuances aimed at achieving the very essence of the ComDev Plan, which included the deployment of personnel and faculty members, clustering of administrative and academic workforce, and designating of officials to new posts.

The establishment of a medical school in Bicol University, was part of the University's Comprehensive Development Plan 2004-13. Support for this undertaking was made thru the Regional Development Council in its 2009 and 2012 resolutions, and some political leaders. On July 27, 2010, the Academic Council of BU approved the curriculum of the Doctor of Medicine Program crafted by an ad-hoc team composed of the Vice Presidents and BU-College of Nursing faculty who did bench-marking of some medical schools in the country.

  On September 3, 2012, the BU Board of Regents approved the proposal to open the College of Medicine. A week later, a three-person team of the CHED's Technical Panel for Health Professional Education, and Professional Regulation Commission visited BU and recommended that the medical school heed the world-wide call for transformative education to develop five-star physicians. 

     In June 2014, 62 students were admitted to the pioneer batch of the College of Medicine. As of school year 2018-2019, there have been 320 students from first year to fifth year.

In 2015, Dr. Arnulfo M. Mascariñas succeeded Dr. Fay Patria M. Lauraya as the 8th President of Bicol University. His development plans were geared towards his vision of transforming BU as a “world-class” university. In March 4, 2019, he was confirmed for his second term as SUC President IV of Bicol University. (Student Handbook Revised 2019)