History, Seal, and Song



Upon the invitation of the late Archbishop Luis del Rosario, S.J., the Jesuits agree to take over the administration of the San Pedro Parish School. They secure a 6-hectare lot in Matina. Under the supervision of Rev. Fr. Merlin Thibault, S.J., a wooden grade school building is constructed on the site.

April 3, 1948

The San Pedro Parish School is renamed ATENEO DE DAVAO.

May 20, 1948

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approve Ateneo’s Articles of Incorporation. The SEC issues Certificate No. 3647 to the Ateneo de Davao.

SY 1948 – 1949

Classes are formally opened in the elementary and secondary levels. Rev. Fr. Theodore Daigler, S.J. becomes the first Rector and concurrent Headmaster of the Grade School. Rev. Fr. John McKenney, S.J. is appointed as the Principal of the High School while Mr. Ruperto Macalala is named Principal of the Grade School.

April 2, 1951

The lease on the Jacinto Campus property is concluded through the efforts of the late Bishop Clovis Thibault, PME. The construction of the wooden college building, designed by Architect Ramon Basa, begins. Bishop Clovis Thibault, PME lays the cornerstone. This building is now popularly known as the Bellarmine Hall.

July 1, 1951

Regular classes in the Ateneo de Davao College begin for the 130 enrolled students. The Papal Nuncio of the Philippines, Msgr. Egidio Vagnozzi, blesses the College building. Seven courses are initially offered: Liberal Arts, Associate in Arts, Pre-Law, Elementary Teacher’s Certificate, a Baccalaureate in Education, Commerce, and Secretarial courses.

SY 1951-1952

Rev. Fr. Forves J. Monaghan, S.J. is appointed Dean of the College, assuming office towards the end of the school year. Mr. Filemon Ringor is appointed Principal of the Grade School. This school year also marks the opening of the first kindergarten classes.

August 15, 1952

Rev. Fr. Martin Casey, S.J. is installed Rector upon the resignation of Fr. Daigler. Fr. Casey, who had an M.S. in Chemistry and was at one time a research worker for the U.S. government in Atomic Energy, is responsible for the well-equipped College Chemistry Laboratory.

SY 1953 – 1954

Rev. Fr. Mark J. Falvey, S.J. assumes office as Headmaster of the Grade School.

January 1954

Rev. Fr. Gerard Braun, S.J. is appointed acting Rector upon Fr. Casey’s departure for the United States.

September 14, 1954

Rev. Fr. Paul V. Finster, S.J. is installed Rector and concurrent Dean of the College. In his six years as Rector, he remodels the interior of the Bellarmine Hall, installs a College Chapel, builds two basketball courts, and constructs the wall of the Ateneo property at Jacinto campus.

The increase in enrollment makes the construction of a new building imperative. Plans for a 5-story concrete building are made, but construction is put on hold upon Fr. Finster’s transfer to the Ateneo de Manila.

SY 1956 – 1957

Rev. Fr. J. Hudson Mitchell, S.J. is installed Rector and President; and Rev. Rodolfo A. Malasmas, S.J. is appointed Dean of the College.

Fr. Mitchell realized the vision of Fr. Finster to construct the new 5-story building.

August 15, 1961

The Canisius Hall is inaugurated and blessed. took place. The Ateneo de Davao Law School is established.

April 19, 1963

Rev. Fr. Federico O. Escaler, S.J. is installed Rector and President. Under his administration, the Kindergarten building, the Jesuit House, and the High School building are constructed.

SY 1963 – 1964

The Rev. Fr. John A. Dotterweich, S.J. is appointed Dean of the College; while  Rev. Fr. Ma. Santos Giron, S.J. is appointed Headmaster of the Grade School. The Ateneo de Davao becomes the first Science Research Center in Mindanao to be accredited by the National Science and Development Board (NSDB).

SY 1966 -1967

The Grade School admits its first female students.

November 1966

Fr. Escaler is recalled by the Jesuit Provincial, and Rev. Fr. Miguel Ma. Varela, S.J. is installed as Rector and President.

Fr. Varela commissions the Larsen Report on the state of the Ateneo, which sparks an institutional self-evaluation survey. This is the first step taken before seeking accreditation from the Philippine Accreditation Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (PAASCU).

SY 1967 – 1968

Co-Adjutor Bishop Msgr. Juan Nilmar blesses the High School building at the Matina campus.


A 3-storey elementary school building is constructed in Matina.

SY 1968 – 1969

The Ateneo de Davao assists in the founding and organization of the Davao Association of Colleges and Schools (DACS), and of the Mindanao Educational Conference (MEC). The Ateneo agrees to host the permanent secretariat for both organizations.

It was also during this year that the Ateneo de Davao, the Ateneo de Zamboanga, and the Xavier University in Cagayan de Oro City formed the Mindanao Consortium of Ateneos, and secured the approval from the Dept. of Education.

March 29, 1969

The College receives accreditation from PAASCU.

The Ateneo High School starts its own self-evaluation, aiming for PAASCU accreditation in 1970. The Grade School assists the PAASCU Committee in setting up norms for the accreditation of Philippine elementary schools.

March 27 – 28, 1972

The Grade School conducts its PAASCU Preliminary Survey.

March 21 – 23, 1973

The Grade School undergoes the PAASCU First Formal Survey and is granted accreditation status.

June 29, 1974

Rev. Fr. Emeterio J. Barcelon, S.J. begins his five-year term.

Fr. Peter Hans Kolvenbach, S.J., Fr. Arrupe, S.J.’s replacement as Father General of the Society of Jesus, visits the Ateneo de Davao University.


Fr. Felix Unson, S.J. is appointed Rector of the Jesuit Community.

June 4, 1993

Fr. Edmundo M. Martinez, S.J. assumes the presidency of the Ateneo de Davao University, succeeding Fr. Antonio S. Samson, S.J., who has assumed the presidency of Xavier University.

SY 1995 – 1996

The construction of the new High School Complex starts.

SY 1997 – 2001

Mrs. Suzette D. Aliño is appointed the first lay Headmaster of the Grade School.

February 1997

The Grade School is re-accredited by the PAASCU for another five-year term.

August 15, 1999

Fr. Edmundo M. Martinez, S.J. blesses the new Pre-School and Grade School buildings, on the occasion of the Feast of Our Lady of the Assumption. The buildings, which were planned and built by Fr. Martinez, S.J., remain a testimony to the Ateneo de Davao University’s commitment to providing quality education for the children of Davao and Mindanao.

December 8, 2007

Fr. Samson, S.J. blesses the stained glass windows of the St. Stanislaus Kostka Chapel during the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.

January 19, 2008

Fr. Adolfo Nicolas, S.J. is elected new Superior General of the Society of Jesus. Fr. Nicolas succeeds the Rev. Fr. Hans Kolvenbach, S.J., who has been the Superior General of the Society since 1983.

May 9, 2008

Fr. Jose Cecilio Magadia, S.J., Rector of the Jesuit community, is appointed new Provincial Superior of the Philippine Province of the Society of Jesus. He succeeds Fr. Daniel Patrick Huang, S.J., who is appointed General Counselor and Regional Assistant for East Asia and Oceania.

SY 2008

The Grade School is granted re-accreditation status by PAASCU for another five-year term.

March 11, 2010

The Martinez Sports Center is named in honor of Fr. Edmundo M. Martinez, S.J., President of Ateneo de Davao University from June 1993 to November 2004. He was responsible for the construction of the Martinez Sports Center formerly called Sports Complex (1993-2005).

March 2011

Fr. Samson ends his term as President of the Ateneo de Davao University. .

June 1, 2011

Fr. Joel E. Tabora, S.J. assumes the presidency of the Ateneo de Davao University.

SY 2011-2012

Fr. Tabora initiates the revision of the vision-mission of the university to reflect the university’s thrusts of excellent instruction and formation, robust research, and vibrant community service.

He also initiates the revision of the Blue Knight song into the version recognizing the inclusion of women into the ranks of the AdDU Blue Knights. The new song responds to the revised Vision-Mission statement regarding gender sensitivity and inclusion. The Blue Knight Song also contains a highly significant message to Our Blessed Mother, which demonstrates the good in taking refuge int he motherly care of the Blessed Virgin Mary at all times.

University-wide vertical articulation of competencies is conducted, providing a blueprint for the coming years.

The Ateneo de Davao University prepares to adopt the new K to 12 curriculum.

Fr. Tabora helps improve the University’s physical facilities, installing the Regupol Tartan Sports Track, constructing a 5-story parking building and the swimming pool.

SY 2016-2017

In May 2017, the Ateneo Grade School Department is granted Level III status by the PAASCU.

The Official Ateneo de Davao University Seal

The Official Ateneo de Davao University Seal

The two top panels of the shield represent Davao. The gold and silver inverted crossed keys against a light blue background represent St. Peter, patron of the Davao Parish Church or the San Pedro Cathedral. The light blue background represents Our Lady, the Patroness of the Philippines and of the Ateneo de Davao University, under the title of the Lady of the Assumption. The green mountain peaks in the other panel represent Mt. Apo and its neighboring peaks, clearly visible from Davao City.

The two lower panels of the shield are the family arms of the founder of the Society of Jesus, St. Ignatius of Loyola of the House of Oñas y Loyola. The seven red stripes against a gold background represent the seven sons of the House of Oñas who fought under their King for the liberties of the Christians in Spain. The wolves and pot (lobos y olla) are a pun on the family name Loyola.

The crest above the shield is a silver medallion containing the monogram of the Society of Jesus: I H S are the first three letters of the name Jesus in Greek. The cross and nails recall His passion and death as Savior of mankind.

The Latin motto “Fortes In Fide” means Strong In Faith. The motto is taken from 1 Peter 5:9. It is also the gist of a passage from St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians (Eph. 5-10).

Legal Notice: 

The use of the University Seal, per Articles and By-Laws as well as school regulations of the Ateneo de Davao University is solely for official transactions and correspondence. Student organizations and others should ask permission from the Office of the President prior to publication or any other form of usage of the official seal. Unauthorized publication or any other form of usage may result to legal action from the University.

Atty. Manuel P. Quibod
University Legal Counsel
Dean, College of Law
Ateneo de Davao University

Lyrics by Rev. James F. Donelan, S.J.
Revised by Rev. Fr. Joel E. Tabora, S.J.

Men and women knights in blue
For Christ, King, fight strong and true!
With flashing steel and ringing shield
Let us sweep our battlefield!

With visors high and swords in hand,
Come Blue Knights take your stand!
Fight on with virtue, strength renewed
In Our Lady’s white and blue!

Let all you knights of Davao
To God’s high command your hearts bow.
Go onward on to the fight
Where glory is shining bright.
O shake the mountains with your song
And with your banners march along!

Onward, speed you gallant knights!
Trusting God proclaim your right!
The clash of battle is sweet to hear
When the victory is near.

So grateful knights spread o’er the land
To the farthest ocean strand.
With hearty song sing loud the fame
Of our Ateneo name.
(Repeat Chorus)



St. Ignatius of Loyola is the founder of the Society of Jesus also known as Jesuits. Ignatius was born in Azpeitia, Spain. His real name is Iñigo de Loyola. In 1517, Ignatius became a courtier of the Duke of Najera. While fighting the French at Pamplona in 1521, Ignatius suffered severe wounds. During his long period of recovery, he read a book about the life of Jesus and stories about the saints. These books convinced him to abandon his worldly life. After his recovery, Ignatius offered his sword at the altar of the Virgin at Montserrat. There, he dedicated himself to the service of the Lady.

Ignatius lived in a cave near Manresa, where he prayed and subjected himself to many physical discomforts. During this time he underwent mystical experiences, which was recorded in his book “Spiritual Exercises” and manual of self-discipline and prayer.

Ignatius was ordained priest in 1537. He and other Jesuits went to Rome and offered the services to the Pope. In 1540, Pope Paul III approved the Society of Jesus. Ignatius became the first Superior General of the Society. He wrote the constitution of the Society, which established the Jesuit’s organization and way of life.

Under the leadership of St. Ignatius, the Jesuits helped reform the church during a self-renewal movement called the Counter-Reformation. The Jesuits also promoted religious education in schools and colleges and preached the gospel in Asia and the New World. Ignatius remained superior general of the Jesuits until his death. He was canonized (declared a saint) by Pope Gregory XV in 1622. His feast day is July 31.



In the Middle Ages, there were men who pledged to use their weapons for sacred causes and ideals. They called themselves knights. A true knight had faith and a deep love of the Christian religion. He is a defender of the church and is ready to die for it. He loves the land of his birth and gives generously to all. His strength serves to protect women and the weak.

Just like St. Ignatius, the noble Knight of our Lady, the Blue Knight has become the symbol of our school. Just like the knight, an Atenean strives for the highest ideals. He commits himself to Christ and uses his skills, knowledge and resources in loving service to his fellowmen- “A man and woman for others.”