The Campus of the Future, by far Xavier Ateneo’s biggest project, is set to expand the university’s post-pandemic learning spaces and academic programs.
In August 2021, the Vatican finally gave its seal of approval for the new campus project after “having attentively examined the documents submitted.”
The long wait for the final decision reflected the rigorous and exhaustive due process devoted by the Church authorities in reviewing and studying all aspects of the project.
Stakeholder consultations prior to approval
As part of the process of seeking approval, Xavier Ateneo conducted a total of 15 stakeholder consultations with students, parents, faculty and staff members, and XU alumni groups, including CDO’s diocesan clergy, CDO’s civic, business, and government leaders, which began in 2019.
There were also spiritual discernment sessions among Jesuits, the Board of Trustees, and the President’s Council. Discussions about the benefits of the project as well as the issues raised by various stakeholders were also part of the consultations.
To widen the consultations, XU leadership also held meetings with former Xavier University Presidents (Frs. Ernesto Javier SJ, Bienvenido Nebres SJ, Antonio Samson SJ, Jose Villarin SJ), then-President Fr Roberto Yap SJ, the Provincial of the Society of Jesus Fr Primitivo Viray SJ, and then-CDO Archbishop Antonio Ledesma SJ DD.
There was also a special dialogue between Fr Yap and then-Archbishop Ledesma at his residence, where they were joined by Dr Libby Abesamis, Mr Manny Boniao, Fr Mars Tan SJ, Fr Archie Carampatan, SJ, and the late Ms Ghaye Alegrio.
The consultations aimed to present the project, raise concerns, address issues, and generate possible solutions. The results of the consultations formed part of the documents submitted to Jesuit authorities, which were then endorsed by Superior General Fr Arturo Sosa to the Vatican.
Celebrating its centennial in 2033
“XU’s Campus of the Future will continue to be a birthplace and home for leaders of character, who will contribute to creating a better Cagayan de Oro, Mindanao, and the Philippines,” said Andre Robert Daba, Executive President of the XU Central Student Government.
“The physical move will not alter the spirit and mission of XU, but it will take it a step closer to realizing its vision of becoming a leading ASEAN University.”
This project is in line with Xavier Ateneo’s strategic plan to be the top university in Mindanao and among the best in the Philippines and Southeast Asia, particularly as it moves forward to celebrating its centennial in 2033.
Historical Preservation Zone
Xavier Ateneo and the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) have jointly agreed to establish a Historical Preservation Zone within the main campus of XU comprising school buildings with “exceptional and historical significance.”
Following site inspections, the NHCP agreed with University leadership that 8 school buildings will compose the Xavier Ateneo Historical Preservation Zone: the University Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Lucas Hall, Campion Hall, Xavier Hall, Science Center, Old Library, Library Annex, and Museo de Oro (the country’s first folkloric museum).
In May 2022, NHCP Chairman Dr Rene R Escalante wrote to XU President Fr Mars Tan SJ, “The NHCP Board of Commissioners appreciates your expression of support to declare portions of Xavier University - Ateneo de Cagayan campus as a historical site.”
The NHCP also formally informed that the Commission will honor XU with a historical marker in 2033 when the university turns 100 years old. XU was established by the Jesuits in 1933 and was the first Ateneo school in the country to be given “university status” (in 1958), making it also the first university in Mindanao.
“As early as 2014, the XU leadership had already petitioned for a historical marker for the University and we are grateful that NHCP welcomed and encouraged our desire to preserve the heritage structures of the University,” Fr. Mars said.
In response, the Board of Trustees and XU leadership welcomed the NHCP recognition and thanked the Commission for its guidance and support.