Brief History of the Lyceum of the Philippines University
LYCEUM OF THE PHILIPPINES UNIVERSITY prides itself with its long and rich tradition of Academic Excellence through the legacy of its founder, Dr. Jose P. Laurel. The only President to have served in all three branches of the Government, Dr. Laurel was a successful lawyer, legislator, constitutionalist, jurist, writer, scholar, statesman, philosopher, and above all things, an educator.
Dr. Laurel’s concern for education was his most abiding passion. A graduate of top educational institutions such as University of the Philippines College of law, Escuela de Derecho, University of Santo Tomas and Yale University, his credentials as an educator were unassailable. He wrote extensively on Education and managed to teach in several educational institutions in Manila, despite his numerous commitments.
During the Second World War, as the leader of the nation during its darkest period in its history, he introduced educational policies that emphasized and upheld national morale and character. As a senator after the war, he authored the law creating the National Education Board alongside Sen. Claro M. Recto.
The inspiration to establish a school came to him in the early 1920’s while a student at Yale. Three decades later, along with some of his close friends, he turned this dream into a reality. With the aim of becoming a center of academic excellence in the Philippines and the Far East, Lyceum of the Philippines University (then still a college) formally opened its doors to the public on July 7, 1952.
With his admiration for knowledge and appreciation of classical thought, Dr. Laurel named the school Lyceum of the Philippines after Lykeios, the site in ancient Athens where the great philosopher Aristotle nurtured the minds of his protégées. The school’s motto, “Veritas et Fortitudo, Pro Deo et Patria”, reflects Dr. Laurel’s belief in the value of learning and character formation for God and country.
Unfortunately, Dr. Laurel unexpectedly died in 1959 while at work.
On his third son, Sotero, who was then in the practice of law, fell the mantle of responsibility of running the school. He was the natural choice as in years earlier it was Senator Sotero who helped his father organize Lyceum and acted as the first executive secretary to his father, the school President, before resuming his law practice.
For the next forty– three years, it was this chosen son, Sotero, who nurtured the school and made it grow beyond Manila into the provinces.
In 1966, he founded the lyceum of the Philippines University-Batangas followed by Lyceum of the Philippines-Laguna in 2000. Both campuses are now headed by Senator Laurel’s fourth son, Peter, who was elected President in 2000.
In 2008 , another campus in Cavite was established to bring the total number of LPU campuses to four with a grand total enrollment of approximately 25,000 students, about 10,000 of whom are enrolled in various hospitality courses.
Since 2002, Senator Laurel’s eldest son, Atty. Roberto P. Laurel, heads the Manila and Cavite and Makati Campuses as President.