Founded as Southwestern Colleges, the school was established by two pharmacists, Don Matias Hipolito Chavez Aznar, II and Doña Anunciacion Barcenilla Aznar. The school opened its doors during the summer of 1946, probably making it as the only school in the country to start operation in summer.
After World War 2, as the country was rehabilitating itself, the Aznars decided to establish a school for the people, whom they saw had difficulties pursuing education due to the war. The school started with only three two-story buildings and stood on a two-hectare lot. There were 18 teachers, 509 students and only a number of programs, specifically the basic education programs (elementary and high school) and the courses for Liberal Arts, Education and Law. In the academic year 1946-19447, a number of colleges (Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmacy) were opened along with the Graduate School. The College of Nursing opened during the academic year of 1948–1949.
The school acquired university status on December 11, 1959, and was then renamed as Southwestern University.
Engineering and Optometry were opened during school year 1959–1960 and the College of Medical Technology was offered in 1962, followed by Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine. The latest additions to the growing number of SWU colleges are Physical Therapy, Maritime, Criminology, and Computer Studies. As of 2009, SWU had 20 colleges and departments.
It currently has more than 20 colleges, which offer over 50 degree programs in the undergraduate and graduate levels. It has increased to over 400 faculty members and over 400 non-teaching personnel. SWU also has a museum, a tertiary hospital, and a drug rehabilitation center, among other additional structures in its over 18-hectare property.
Three of SWU’s colleges (College of Nursing, College of Education and College of Arts and Sciences) were granted accreditation by the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities in 1994. Four other colleges (College of Commerce, College of Pharmacy, College of Engineering, and College of Computer Studies) have passed the PAASCU’s preliminary survey. The other colleges are being groomed for this same survey.
SWU has three campuses, specifically (1) the Main Campus, which is located along Villa Aznar, J. Urgello St., (2) the Aznar Coliseum Complex, which houses the basic education departments, is a mere 50-meters away from the Main Campus, and (3) the South Campus, which was formerly known as the Basak campus, and is located along E. Sabellano St., in Basak, Pardo, Cebu City.
For more information regarding SWU, you can visit their Web site at www.swu.edu.ph. Or you can check out the SWU Main Campus at Villa Aznar, J. Urgello St., in Cebu City. SWU can also be contacted through (032) 415-5555.