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West Visayas State University (WVSU) was first established in 1902 as a tributary normal school known as the Iloilo Normal School (INS). In 1916, it became a secondary school complete with elementary and training departments. In 1924, it became a distinct educational institution after the completion of its main building (Quezon Hall) and the laboratory school building. Eventually, the secondary normal school program was converted into a two-year collegiate training program and in 1952, a four-year normal college course.

In 1954, Republic Act No. 375 granted the offering of the Bachelor of Science in Education major in Elementary Education. WVSU became a pioneer and premier teacher-training institution in Western Visayas, a prestige it continues to enjoy to the present.

INS became West Visayas State College by virtue of R.A. 4189 on May 4, 1965. It commenced the offering of Bachelor’s Degree in Education for Elementary and Secondary Teaching, Bachelor of Arts, and Master’s in Education. On the same year, the Graduate School and the College of Arts and Sciences were in place.

The following years saw marked growth with the opening of the Secondary Laboratory School in 1969, and courses of university level: School of Medicine (1975), School of Agriculture (1976), School of Nursing (1977), Graduate School doctoral program (1977), B.S. in Biological Science, AB Mass Communications and B.S. Forestry (1981); Sports, Athletics and Cultural Arts and Center (1993) which became the degree-granting PESCAR Institute and later as the College of PESCAR (2000), Department of Mass Communications (1993) which became the Institute of Mass Communications, which was later converted into a college in 2000.

On January 27, 1986, P.D. 2019 converted the College into West Visayas State University, integrating the Iloilo National College of Agriculture (INCA) into its system.

In 1987, the University acquired the Don Benito V. Lopez Memorial Hospital as its 150-bed teaching and training hospital which was later named as the WVSU Hospital. In 2001, the Board of Regents and the Department of Health (DOH) approved its conversion to a 300-bed WVSU Medical Center that it is now.

More academic programs were offered: the Bachelor in Cooperatives Management (1997), Bachelor in Hotel and Restaurant Management (2003). Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics (2006), Bachelor of Tourism (2008), and Bachelor of Science in Information Management and Bachelor of Science in Information Technology (2002) and recently, the offering of Bachelor of Science in Computer Science in 2014. The University Distance Education Program through the Diploma in Teaching (DIT) course began in Summer 2003.

In 2000, the Higher Education Modernization Act (1997) integrated into the University four CHED – supervised schools in Calinog, Janiuay, Lambunao and Pototan.

Through the years, the selling points of WVSU were emphasized when the University became the Center of Excellence by former Senator Ople, the Center of Excellence in Teacher Education by the CHED, and among the Top Five Performing Schools in the National Board Examinations by the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC).

WVSU was also declared No. 1 in the Philippines (Performing Schools in the Mary 2014 Nurse Licensure Examinations); No. 1 and 3 in the Philippines (Performing Schools in the August 2012 and 2014 Licensure Examinations for Teacher-Elementary Level); and No. 7 and 3 in the Philippines (Performing Schools in the August 2014 and 2015 Physician Licensure Examinations).

Several academic programs, six (6) curricular programs of the College of Education, three (3) of the College of Arts and Sciences, and three (3) of the College of Communication, and one (1) of the College of Nursing, attained Level 4 Re-accredited status by the Accrediting Agency of the Chartered Colleges and Universities in the Philippines (AACCUP), Inc.

The College of PESCAR and the College of Agriculture and Forestry have curricular programs of Level III Re-accredited status. Thirty-four curricular programs from the main campus and 35 from the external campuses have accreditation status ranging from Candidates to Level IV.

The University was also awarded the Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges (PASUC) Level 4 in the evaluation of State Universities and Colleges (SUC) Leveling Program.

The University continues to perform well in professional licensure examinations in the fields of Medicine, Nursing and Education, producing board placers. The passing percentages have consistently been well-above the national mean.

The University was the seat of the Regional Science Teaching Center (1974) and now the Center for Research and Innovation in Science and Mathematics Education (CRISMED), Philippine Carabao Center (1992), Mari-it Conservation Park (1993), the Panrehiyong Sentro ng Wikang Filipino (1996), the Center for Philippine Native Chicken (2011), the Center of Excellence (COEs) for Teacher Education (2008), and lead university for Region VI of the CHED Disbursement Acceleration Plan based on Quality Excellence (2012).

The University operates with nine (9) academic units in its main campus, with servicing and support units, namely: Center for Foreign Languages, University Review Center and Data Processing Center, University Publishing House, University Learning Assessment Center, Center for Teaching Excellence, and Drop-In Center; four (4) integrated campuses and the University Medical Center.

The University was given the task as service provider for the DepEd National Training of Junior and Senior High School Teachers from across the region on the implementation of K-12 Basic Education Curriculum. It is also the recipient of the CHED Students’ Grants-in-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation (SGP-PA / ESGP-PA) for 759 students from Negros Occidental, Aklan, Guimaras, Antiquem Iloilo, and Capiz who are enrolled in BS in Agriculture (BS Agri), BS in Information Technology (BSIT), BS in Special Education (Bsped), Bachelor in Secondary Education (BSEd), BS in Business Administration (BSBA), and BS in Criminology.

Today, the University continues to grow as the lead institution of higher learning in Western Visayas through the advancement of knowledge in instruction, research and extension. It is vigorously pushing for internationalization of higher education, quality assurance, and technology-driven mode of teaching and learning.