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Indeed, through the years, Our Lady of Fatima University has embraced the basic educational philosophy of “improving man as a man” and emulated the virtues of “veritas et misericordia” (truth and compassion) in upholding the tradition of academic excellence.

Our Lady of Fatima University (OLFU): Fulfillment of a Vision

A HUMBLE BEGINNING. In 1967, Jose C. Olivares, a Chemistry professor-entrepreneur and his son-in-law Dr. Vicente M. Santos, a physician, founded Our Lady of Fatima Hospital in Valenzuela, then still a municipality of Bulacan. The hospital immediately became the primary provider of medical and health care services for the residents of Valenzuela.

Mr. Olivares, who was then a professor at the Ateneo de Manila University, envisioned a dream for Fatima.  He set his eyes in transforming the Our Lady of Fatima Hospital from a general hospital to a medical complex that will be the training ground for health care providers such as nurses and midwives.  Thus, in 1973, the Our Lady of Fatima College of Nursing was established.  And in 1976, the first batch of Nursing graduates garnered an unprecedented 100% passing average in the Nursing Board examinations.

As a result of the growth in enrollment in the mid 70’s, the College expanded its facilities and instituted more curricular programs.  In 1979, Dr. Vicente M. Santos, together with his wife Mrs. Juliet Olivares Santos, pursued the vision of Mr. Olivares even further by establishing the Fatima Medical Science Foundation, Inc. – Fatima College of Medicine.  Since then, Fatima College of Medicine has made its mark in medical education by producing holistically-empowered graduates who are consistent Medical Board topnotchers and highly respected physicians.

In the 1990’s, a more progressive and responsive perspective was embodied by Fatima Medical Science Foundation, Inc. and Our Lady of Fatima College.  As a response to the changing social and technological environment, the college engaged in new academic programs particularly in technology, maritime education, and business while at the same time fortifying and improving its performance in the paramedical courses, which Fatima is known for.

EARLY RECOGNITIONS. In its journey towards academic excellence, Our Lady of Fatima College received official recognition by achieving accredited status in its Nursing and Physical Therapy programs by the Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities Commission on Accreditation (PACUCOA). The Association of Christian Schools, Colleges and Universities (ACSCU), another prestigious accrediting body, would eventually give its mark of excellence to the Graduate School programs in MA in Nursing, MA in Educational Management, MA in Teaching, Master’s in Public Administration, Master’s in Business Administration, together with the undergraduate programs in Psychology and Biology. Fatima Medical Science Foundation- Fatima College of Medicine was also accredited by the Association of Philippine Medical Colleges, the New York State Board of Education and the Illinois State Board of Education.  The College of Maritime Education, in turn, was ISO certified 9002: 1994 and was included in the Commission on Higher Education’s White List (in 1998) as a qualified provider of maritime education.

EARLY EXPANSION: QUEZON CITY. The next five years further saw a dramatic increase in infrastructure development. Modern buildings were established in Valenzuela City, and in 1996, OLFU made its presence known in Fairview, Quezon City with its new campus overlooking the La Mesa reservoir.  New curricular programs were offered, namely: Education, Tourism, Business Administration, Computer Science, Information Technology, Nursing, Pharmacy, Medical Technology, Psychology, and Biology.  In addition, Basic Education (elementary and high school) was also offered and housed in an imposing four-storey building. Two other school buildings were constructed to accommodate the growing student population at the Hilltop site, an affirmation of Fatima’s acceptance by the people of Quezon City. In time, two more buildings were constructed along Regalado Avenue in Quezon City which houses the Physical Therapy rehabilitation center, the Nursing Laboratories and the Medical Technology laboratories.

BECOMING A UNIVERSITY. The transformation of the college and its conversion to a university in December 2002 was indeed a long-awaited fulfillment of the pioneering dream of the founders of this institution.  The installation of Dr. Vicente M. Santos, as the First University President was a fitting tribute to a quiet and simple man whose empowering commitment and devotion to Our Lady of Fatima College inspired and propelled the men and women of the college to move from its humble beginning to its special niche as a premiere educational institution.  Indeed, through the years, Our Lady of Fatima University has embraced the basic educational philosophy of “improving man as man” and emulated the virtues of veritas et misericordia (truth and compassion) in upholding the tradition of academic excellence.

With the death of Dr. Vicente M. Santos in 2003, Dr. Juliet O. Santos became the second President of the University. Through her unique hands-on leadership, she steered the University to new heights.

BECOMING DEREGULATED. Less than a year after becoming a university, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), recognizing the “enormous contribution of the Our Lady of Fatima University in the growth and prominence of tertiary education in the country and the Asia-Pacific and its commitment through quality education, research and extension work” granted DEREGULATED STATUS to Our Lady of Fatima University through CHED Resolution No. 393-2003 dated October 27, 2003.

In 2008, Dr. Caroline Marian Santos Enriquez became the third University President upon the death of Dr. Juliet Santos. She continued to build on the work of her predecessors which resulted to more achievements and recognitions for the University.

CONTINUOUS EXPANSION: ANTIPOLO. OLFU’s expansion continued onwards with another campus site established in 2008 in Antipolo City, the pilgrimage capital of the Philippines. Thus, OLFU Antipolo was launched and just like in Quezon City, the people of Antipolo and nearby towns of Rizal acknowledged the coming of OLFU as a major provider of quality education. Presently the Antipolo City Campus now has expanded to four modern buildings built in its sprawling campus overlooking the Metro Manila skyline.

COD, COE, AND IQUAME. The strong demand for nurses abroad required strengthening the nursing curriculum by infusing the program with state-of-the-art nursing virtual laboratories and simulators first seen in Philippine medical education in a wide-scale mock-hospital setting. These cutting edge technology-driven learning tools offered a wide range of patient scenarios where students can perform an array of diverse nursing procedures. This paved the way for OLFU’s College of Nursing to be designated by CHED as a CENTER OF DEVELOPMENT (COD) in late 2008. With the prestige and recognition it has accumulated through voluntary accreditation of its programs within the framework of the Federation of Accrediting Agencies of the Philippines, OLFU in 2008, voluntary subjected itself to CHED’s Institutional Quality Assurance through Monitoring and Evaluation (IQuAME) resulting to, in early 2009, being placed in CATEGORYA(t) as a mature teaching university. In December 2015, the College of Hospitality and Institutional Management’s Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management (HRM) was designated by the CHED as a CENTER OF EXCELLENCE (COE) while the BS in Pharmacy was declared as a COD.

BECOMING AUTONOMOUS. Cognizant of the University’s long tradition of integrity and untarnished reputation and “in recognition of the accomplishments, adherence to quality assurance as a higher education provider, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) through CEB Resolution No. 076-2009 granted AUTONOMOUS STATUS to OLFU Valenzuela City Campus for a period of five years from March 11, 2009 to March 30, 2014” and in 2016, the University once again proved and maintained its valuable contribution and commitment in providing quality tertiary education in the country as CHED granted the institution an Autonomous Status for a period of three years up to 2019. More recently, reaffirming OLFU’s commitment to valuable education, the Valenzuela City Campus was granted again an Autonomous Status along with the Quezon City Campus for a period of two years from June 1, 2019 until May 3, 2021.

UNIVERSITY-WIDE ISO CERTIFICATION. In 2010, the Quality Management System of four colleges, namely, Maritime Education, Dental Medicine, Medical Laboratory Sciences and College of Hospitality and Institutional Management were certified to the ISO 9001:2008 standard, and in June 2012, university-wide ISO implementation was put into place to increase customer satisfaction, improve product quality, and achieve international quality recognition. By October 2012, OLFU was awarded the prestigious ISO 9001:2008 Management Systems certification by the AJA Registrars (now SOCOTEC Certification International). The ISO certification, due to having expanded its scope, was also applied to include the Quezon City, Antipolo City, Pampanga, and Nueva Ecija campuses. In 2018, OLFU successfully completed the transition from ISO 9001:2008 to 9001:2015 after the certification audit held in all its campuses. This is again an affirmation that the quality of the University’s processes and standards are at par with international management systems.

Thus, Our Lady of Fatima University is the first private higher education institution in the CAMANAVA area (Caloocan-Malabon-Navotas-Valenzuela) to have earned the distinction as an Autonomous University, recognized as a mature Teaching institution by CHED (IQuAME Category A(t) as well as having been ISO 9001: 2015 certified university-wide.

OLFU EXPANDS TO PAMPANGA. The accomplishments in Valenzuela City, Quezon City, and Antipolo City have to be stretched further to the north. The people of Pampanga were a witness to this expansion last June 2013. With new modern buildings in place right at the heart of the City of San Fernando, furnished with all the necessary learning resources and equipment, OLFU Pampanga will undoubtedly become a major player in the Central Luzon educational landscape. Relevant programs are offered in the Pampanga campus, namely: Psychology, Criminology, Pharmacy, Medical Laboratory Sciences, Environmental Science, Communication Arts, Education, Computer Science Business Administration, and HRM.

OLFU: AN OBE UNIVERSITY.  In compliance to the directive of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to establish an OUTCOMES-BASED EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM in all higher educational institutions (HEIs), OLFU did a paradigm shift and became an OBE university last June 2013. Outcomes-based education is a student-centered learning philosophy that focuses empirically on measuring student performances, which are called outcomes. OBE requires that students demonstrate that they have learned the required skills and content. Thus, OBE is “building learner competencies and learning new skills that would enable individuals to cope with the demands of a rapidly changing workplace and a complex, interdependent world”.

EXPANSION TO CABANATUAN CAMPUS. In 2015, OLFU started to manage and operate the Nueva Ecija Doctors’ Colleges, Inc. (NEDCI) located in Maharlika Highway, Cabanatuan City making it the University’s fifth campus. NEDCI is known in Cabanatuan as an institution that produces quality healthcare professionals, especially nurses. Similar to OLFU’s legacy in the field of BS Nursing during the program’s booming days, NEDCI shined as one with the most number of students in the said area.

WELCOMING SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL. In 2016, OLFU welcomed its first batch of Senior High School (SHS) students in Grade 11. The University put in place all mechanisms for the offering of SHS as official linkages were established with partner high schools, both private and public, which sent their students to OLFU to study in Grade 11. OLFU’s SHS program is primarily based on the DepEd-prescribed curriculum, but at the same time enables students to immediately focus on the career path of their choice, through a hybridized-curriculum.

CELEBRATING 50 YEARS. Half a century after its establishment, the University marked its 50th Year of Foundation in 2017. The year-long commemoration was highlighted by academic, cultural, socio-civic, and liturgical activities to make the milestone a momentous one and as a way of celebrating the achievements of the institution for the past 50 years.

EXPANSION TO STA. ROSA, LAGUNA. In October 2018, OLFU held the groundbreaking of its sixth campus in the City of Sta. Rosa, Laguna in order to extend its esteemed services in the locality and to cater to the educational needs of the fast growing population of Sta. Rosa. In June 2019, the Laguna Campus started to offer its initial programs such as BS Medical Laboratory Science, BS Pharmacy, BS Psychology, BS Computer Science, and BS Tourism Management. This expansion is OLFU’s way of showing its commitment of providing quality and accessible education.

CANVAS LEARNING MANAGEMENT SYSTEM. In June 2019, the University introduced Canvas, a new learning management system for faculty and students and a powerful global learning platform used by more than 3,000 educational institutions. It is a digital avenue for education to help teachers facilitate a modern and personalized learning approach for their students.

PHILIPPINE QUALITY AWARD. The Philippine Quality Award (PQA), the highest level of national recognition given to organizations in the private and public sectors that excel in quality, productivity, and business performance, was granted to OLFU Valenzuela City, Quezon City, and Antipolo City Campuses in 2020 in recognition of the University’s Proficiency in Quality Management (Level II). OLFU was cited for being a role model in providing quality education and organizational excellence.

NEW PROGRAMS AND FLEXIBLE LEARNING MODALITY. Responding to the needs of the communities where the different OLFU campuses are situated, several new programs were offered in 2020. These are Bachelor of Forensic Science and BS in Radiologic Technology (Valenzuela City Campus), BS in Civil Engineering and BS in Electronics Engineering (Quezon City Campus), BS in Criminology, BS in Accountancy, BS in Accounting Information System, BS in Physical Therapy, and Senior High School (Laguna Campus).

In June 2020, OLFU introduced its new battle cry “Go, FLEX!” as a way of delivering its quality brand of education, seamlessly and safely, in response to the challenging times posed by the threat of the pandemic. FLEX stands for the Fatima Learning Experience which is delivered through a masterful mix of learning modalities: online, distance, and when health conditions permit, limited face-to-face learning.

BRINGING BACK STUDENTS SAFELY TO THE CAMPUSES THROUGH FACE-TO-FACE LEARNING. In the midst of the pandemic, OLFU pioneered initiatives in getting back its learners safely to the campuses and had the foresight to look into the possibility of the resumption of limited face-to-face classes following the different safety protocols prior to CHED’s call for physical learning which resulted to the education sector’s acknowledgment of the University as one of the leaders that pushed for the reopening of face-to-face classes in the country.

On December 1, 2020, CHED Chairman Prospero De Vera III and National Task Force Against COVID-19 Chief Implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez visited the RISE Tower of OLFU in Valenzuela City to inspect the retrofitted facilities for possible face-to-face instruction in January 2021. Malacañang issued a memorandum on January 11, 2021 on the resumption of limited face-to-face classes for medical and allied health-related programs in HEIs under Modified General Community Quarantine and institutions in General Community Quarantine areas with base hospitals that cater to COVID-19 patients. This is in consideration of the proposal sent by CHED to former President Rodrigo Duterte on December 4, 2020 just a few days after its inspection in OLFU Valenzuela City Campus.

On top of the government’s approval for the resumption of physical classes, on January 25, 2021, the College of Medicine was specifically given the go signal to hold limited face-to-face classes for its laboratory courses and hospital-based internships. For this reason, the College resumed its clerkship in March in a reduced staggered schedule with only a small cohort of students per batch.

Aside from Medicine, the other programs were given the permit to hold limited face-to-face classes. The other campuses of the University were also inspected by CHED, Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, and Local Government Units and were eventually allowed to hold physical classes subject to the existing minimum public health standards, guidelines approved by CHED, provisions of the Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the country, and other relevant laws and regulations.

WORLD UNIVERSITY RANKINGS FOR INNOVATION (WURI). In recognition of OLFU’s commitment to contribute to the society through innovative and creative approaches in its educational programs and research, the World University Rankings for Innovation (WURI) vested two distinctions to the University in 2023. For two consecutive years, the University ranked Top 101-200 on the Global Top Innovative Universities where it was evaluated based on the six categories such as Industrial Application, Value-Creating, Social Responsibility, Ethics, and Integrity, Student Mobility and Openness, Crisis Management, and Progress during the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Among these categories, Fatima clinched the Top 50 spot for the Fourth Industrial Revolution rankings where a project was submitted by the University and was rated based on the criteria of innovativeness, implementability, and impact.

QS STARS RATING. The University has continued to be recognized internationally as it was rated a Four Stars institution by the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) Stars Rating System in 2023 after completing the evaluation through an independent data collection and analysis performance metrics. Aside from the over-all Four-Star rating which is valid up to 2026, the University also stood out in the eight various categories such as Employability (Five Stars), Academic Development (Five Stars), Social Responsibility (Five Stars), Teaching (Four Stars), Facilities (Four Stars), Inclusiveness (Four Stars), Specialist Criteria: Medicine (Four Stars), and Internationalization (Three Stars). The QS Stars rating system assesses universities in accordance to various key performance indicators vis-à-vis constituted international standards. This act of evaluating educational institutions in a larger scale started in 2009 by the QS Intelligence Unit, a self-governing compiler of the QS World University Rankings since 2004.

UNIVERSITY OF CHOICE. All of these achievements undeniably validated Our Lady of Fatima University’s status as a university of choice offering programs which have been given a mark of excellence by recognized professional bodies and agencies both local and international.