The Cebu Technological University (CTU), founded in 1901 as a Manual Arts department of the Cebu Normal School, was then called the Cebu Trade School. When the Cebu Normal School phased out its Secondary Normal Curriculum, the Cebu Trade School was offered for adoption a second time to the Cebu Provincial High School across the street, where now stands the Abellana National High School along Osmeña Boulevard (formerly Jones Avenue).
In 1911, Cebu Trade School set up a shop independently and employed two American and three Filipino teachers who taught in the fifth, sixth and seventh grades. It eventually produced the first batch of intermediate trade graduates in 1912. This was during the incumbency of Mr. Jose P. Sevilla, the first Principal from 1911 to 1913.
In the year that followed, the Cebu Trade School acquired the present site in Los Martires Street, now Don Mariano Jesus Cuenco Avenue, through Proclamation No. 180 of August 20, 1928. It was charged with the responsibility of gearing for a secondary trade education. Mr. Pantaleon C. Regara, served as the second principal (1932 to 1935), Mr. Pedro Catuncan, (1935 - 1938), and Mr. Esteban Lugue (1938 -1940. The Cebu Trade School was given a new mission as a National School of Arts and Trades in 1940 by virtue of the operation of Commonwealth Act No. 313. In its status as the Cebu School of Arts and Trades, it began offering technical courses when World War II was about to engulf Asia and the whole world.
Just as Cebu School of Arts and Trades was about to improve its newly achieved status, the Philippines were embroiled in the war on the side of the United States. This was during the time of Mr. Gregorio J. Sevilla, who served as the fifth Principal. The war caused damages to the school buildings and was burned; shops were closed, and students evacuated.
On August 1, 1945, after World War II, CSAT reopened its doors to eager young minds but not in the Los Martires Campus. Not only that some of the buildings were destroyed, but also because the American Liberation Forces occupied whatever buildings were left. The teachers and students held classes in a bodega owned by Mr. Carlos Quisumbing at the corner of General Maxilom Street (formerly Mango Avenue) and General Echavez Street. Mr. Gregorio Sevilla was promoted to first CSAT Superintendent (1945 -1948) just when the American troops vacated the old campus. Thus, classes in the Los Martires Campus resumed on January 1, 1947. A spirited program of reconstruction and rehabilitation began when an assassin’s bullets in his home in Mango Avenue killed Superintendent Sevilla on the night of January 3, 1948; such was the highly volatile and abnormal social situation in Cebu City during the post-liberation days.
When Mr. Tranquilino de los Trinos (1949-1951) assumed office as second Superintendent. CSAT became a coeducational institution in 1950 with the opening of secondary courses; the two-year Teacher Arts and Trades course for girls, and the two-year Trade Technical Education curriculum. The Program for higher status was pursued with commitment and continued by Mr. Efinito S. Cruz (1951-1957) as third Superintendent, followed by Mr. Ricardo P. Trinidad (1957-1962) as fourth Superintendent. Both contributed to the progress and maturity of CSAT.
Cebu School of Arts and Trades aspired for greater prestige in the field of trade-technical education. The agitation for a change in the educational system was at its height during the incumbency of Mr. Marcelo S. Bonilla (1962-1970) the fifth CSAT Superintendent. The agricultural, trade and fishery educators in the Bureau of Public Schools spearheaded the campaign for a third and separate bureau to take care of vocational education in the country. House Bill No. 3568 became Republic Act No. 3742 on June 23, 1963, which created the Bureau of Vocational Education (BVE), separating CSAT from the Bureau of Public Schools and conversely integrating it with the BVE. By virtue of BVE Memorandum No. 34 s. 1969 dated March 14, 1969, CSAT and Marikina School of Arts and Trades were authorized to offer the Master of Education (M.Ed.) graduate degree program.
Cebu School of Arts and Trades became the Vocational Division of the BVE and served as the mother school to nine vocational schools in the City and Province of Cebu and seven in Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur. Mr. Bonilla also held the distinction of being the first CSAT Assistant Superintendent who was designated in acting capacity as Dean of Graduate Studies Program, which formally opened in the summer of 1969. With his stewardship of the Graduated Studies program as a pattern, Dr. Felipe Esmas, a retired principal of the Abellana National School became the Acting Dean and consultant in the summer of 1970 and 1971, when Dr. Villagonzalo was elevated to the Presidency of Palompon, Leyte. Mr. Marcelino Galaraga also became Acting Dean during the summer of 1972 and the second Assistant Superintendent of CSAT.
Presidential Decree 1081 ended the idyll and restructuring of the entire educational system through regionalization terminated CSAT’s BVE amore. Mr. Zoilo I. Tarona (1971-1975) became the sixth superintendent and second under BVE. At the time, Mr. Utumama Abdullah, the third Assistant Superintendent, was the Acting Dean of the Graduate Studies Program in 1973. When Mr. Abdullah was promoted as full-fledged Superintendent of Sulu School of Arts and Trades in Jolo, Sulu, Dr. Atanacio Elma succeeded as fourth Assistant CSAT Superintendent. Mr. Abdullah and Dr. Elma are alumni of the CSAT Teachers course, the latter belonging to Class 1955. Dr. Elma subsequently succeeded and was third under the BVE upon the retirement of Mr. Tarona in 1975.
Feeling the need for a doctorate degree holder as Acting Dean even in the acting capacity of the CSAT Graduate Studies Program, Dr. Andrew Serfan, a Lebanese with a Ph. D. in Anthropology, was tapped for the job during the summer of 1974. Rev. Fr. Dr. Jose Ma. Luengo, formerly the Academic Vice-President of the University of Southern Philippines Foundation (USPF), Cebu City, served as Acting Dean and Consultant during the summer of 1975. Dr. Martin Antepuesto served as Acting Dean and Instructor during the summer of 1976.
More graduate degree programs from 1969 to 1975 were authorized for Saturday classes beginning in the school year 1975 to date. Mr. Lucio Q. Tumulak, former Chief of the Teacher Education Department, was promoted as the first CSAT Vocational College Dean during the First Semester of School Year 1976 - 1977 and assigned as Dean of the CSAT Graduate Studies Program. Upon his retirement, Mr. Tumulak was succeeded by Mr. Silverio M. Noval as Vocational College Dean.
Under the present regionalization scheme in the restricted educational system, CSAT dealt with the Bureau of Higher Education of the MEC. during the incumbency of Dr. Elma as first Vocational College Superintendent from June 28, 1975 to June 9, 1983 the alliance with MEC was strengthened, but with the conversion of CSAT to CSCST by virtue of Batas Pambansa 412, was weakened. With the Department of Education Culture and Sports (DECS) Secretary sitting as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of CSCST from 1983 to 1994, another link with Commission on Higher Education (CHED) was made.
Dr. Atanacio P. Elma was the longest-serving college administrator of CSAT and Cebu State College of Science and Technology (CSCST). He was instrumental in the four-story administration building, the funding of which was facilitated through the effort of the former First Lady Imelda R. Marcos. It was during Dr. Elma’s time the two-story canteen, Bistro and Science buildings were constructed. Infrastructures were also evident in the external campuses. During his administration, many of the faculty members were also sent as scholars to Marikina Institute of Science and Technology (MIST) and in the United States. Under his term, the school community also benefited from the EDPITAP program.
Dr. Atanacio P. Elma, who hailed from Zamboanguita, Negros Oriental, became the first President of CSCST. He served CSCST from August 25, 1985 to May 2, 1992. Before his retirement, Dr. Elma designated Dr. Eutiquio Aliñabo as Officer-in-Charge. Subsequently, the BOT selected Superintendent Floriano Diaz from the pool of superintendents as the officially designated Officer-in-Charge of the college effective May 3, 1992 until a new College President shall have been appointed.
In 1992, a Search Committee was created and three candidates were shortlisted; BSAT Administrator Dr. Mussolini C. Barillo, ANS Superintendent Dr. Ricardo Sumalpong, Carmen - College of Fisheries Campus Superintendent Floriano Diaz. Finally, in Bicol University, the Secretary of Education announced the appointment of Dr. Mussolini C. Barillo to the CSCST presidency by President Fidel V. Ramos.
Popularly called Mr. Entrepreneur, Dr. Mussolini C. Barillo, the second President of CSCST, introduced entrepreneurial programs for all campuses across all subject areas. He aligned curricular offerings with the needs of the market by introducing Home Economics and Livelihood Education (HELE) for elementary and Technology Home Economics (THE) for secondary. Dr. Barillo was known for his foresight and management style. Dr. Barillo’s term ended with the creation of a Search Committee. This was during the incumbency of Dr. Victor D. Villaganas as Officer-In-Charge/Acting President of the College from May 20, 1999 to October 26, 1999.
Paving the way for a new presidency, Dr. Villaganas successfully steered the reigns of governance and turned over the same to the incumbent President of Palompon Institute of Technology (PIT), Dr. Jose Salumag Tan who the Board of Trustees (BOT) selected, chaired by CHED Commissioner Kate Botengan on October 27, 1999. As the third President of CSCST, Dr. Jose Sal Tan introduced the ISO standard to the institution. He also embarked on a massive upgrading and enhancement program in preparation for CSCST’s conversion to university. during his administration a massive professional enhancement program was undertaken, including free education to faculty members and staff and their children. Dr. Tan left a legacy of strong academic programs and a clearer understanding of the exercise of academic freedom. Upon his retirement, Dr. Ester V. Velasquez in concurrent capacity as President of Cebu Normal University was tapped and designated by the BOT as OIC of CSCST until Dr. Tan ended and until a new SUC President was selected.
On October 28, 2007, Dr. Bonifacio S. Villanueva, dubbed as Mr. University maker, was elected the fourth president of CSCST. During his administration CSCST was finally converted into a state university on November 10, 2009. By operation of the law, the incumbent president became the first president of the University.
Evidently, these achievements speak of Dr. Villanueva’s administration. The number of students enrolled in the university increased by leaps and bounds. For the first time, a rubberized track around the oval field was constructed. During his incumbency, Malabuyoc and Dumanjug Extension Campuses were established. Topnotchers in various board programs rose to unprecedented numbers. Higher passing rates were registered in the engineering, marine, and education degree programs among others. A well-traveled academic scholar, Dr. Villanueva introduced to CTU the exemplary practices and beautiful architectural structures from the universities abroad.
The application of the pertinent provision of the Republic Act of 9744 sealed the marriage of CTU and CHED.
On the 11th day of February 2014, Dr. Villanueva’s resignation as University President had ushered Dr. Victor D. Villaganas designation as the Officer-In-Charge of the Office of the University President for a period of five (5) months. The latter Senior Official has relinquished such an appointment later in lieu of his application for the University President’s position. Dr. Ledesma R. Layon then replaced Dr. Villaganas as the Officer-In-Charge of the Office of the President from July 19, 2014 until February 28, 2015, as the second University President, Dr. Rosein A. Ancheta, was elected last February 25, 2015 and officially assumed office on March 2, 2015.
CTU President Rosein A. Ancheta Jr. is serving his second term of office effective March 2, 2019 through March 1, 2023 as per CHED declaration dated February 28, 2019, following unanimous decisions of the Board of Regents (BOR) and the Evaluation Committee (EC).
Former UP Diliman President Emerlinda Roman led the Evaluation Committee (EC) comprised of PASUC President Tirso Ronquillo, CHED R7 Director Maximo Aljibe, former CNU President Ester Velasquez (private sector representative) and Rhodora Magan (academic sector representative).
Dr. Ancheta’s infrastructure development, international mobility, and various opportunities resonated well with stakeholders especially the students, who had pure accolades for the president’s performance during the interview.
EC members underscored the student leader’s articulation of their interest to help the president attain the government’s mandate. It showed how much of an influence he is to them.
Apart from students were academics that were randomly selected on the night of February 21. The same narrative was echoed, establishing a collective stance on CTU’s development moving forward.
A majority of them in the Main Campus were prioritized as distance would warrant timely arrival at the venue (Bai Hotel), assuring safety to all concerned given the ongoing demolition and construction in the former.
The committee also visited the campuses in Danao, Argao, and Carmen on separate dates to verify the candidates’ accomplishments over the last four years.
Proximity was highly considered in the selection of sites to maximize time, based on the committee’s decision in a meeting at CHED Central Office on January 22, for a series of interviews (on the 22nd of February) among five (5) groups – non-teaching employees, faculty, students, alumni and university key officials.
Responding to the frequently mentioned “Build, Build, Build” paradigm of Dr. Ancheta all throughout the schedule, one of the EC members explained the ease of working once the environment is secured, resulting in productivity and efficiency.
Given four years more, in a talk with UICPA, the president said he has more time to improve the university’s rank, which is currently at 36 from way below 100 in 2016.
In 2020, CTU became the first university in Cebu to be awarded an overall rating of three stars by the Quacquarelli Symonds(QS) Stars team, following CHED’s announcement of being one of the grantees of the “Fostering World Class Philippines Universities Project” in July 2019.