In 1907, the CICM Missionaries arrived in the Philippines, mandated by the Holy See to evangelize the northern part of the country. Pretty soon, it became apparent that Baguio, then a small mountain village resort in the province of Benguet, around two hundred and fifty kilometers north of Manila, will be pivotal for the region. With an elevation of at least 1,500 meters above sea level, Baguio is a natural gateway to and from the Cordillera mountain range, which traverses the Mountain Provinces (Montañosa), the home of numerous indigenous tribes.
Thus it was that in 1911, Rev Fr Séraphin Devesse, CICM, founded a one-room elementary school in Baguio for ten local boys. From these humble origins, Saint Louis School began.
In 1915, the intermediate grades and a trade school were started under the guidance of Fr. Florimond Carlu, CICM.
In 1921, the high school was inaugurated.
In 1952, college-level courses in the Liberal Arts and Commerce were offered, and Saint Louis College had its first Rector. Other courses and further developments soon followed, under the guidance of the following CICM Rectors/Presidents-
- 1952-54 Fr. Gerard Decaestecker
- 1954-62 Fr. Albert Van Overbeke
- 1962-64 Fr. Gerard Linssen
- 1964-76 Fr. Paul Zwaenepoel
- 1976-83 Fr. Ghisleen De Vos
- 1983-96 Fr. Joseph Van den Daelen
- 1996-2005 Fr. Paul Van Parijs
- 2005-2015 Fr. Jessie M. Hechanova
- 2015-present Fr. Gilbert B. Sales
In 1955, the graduate-level programs of Saint Louis College were granted recognition, but the real turning point came on 13 May 1963, when Saint Louis College was conferred University status by the Philippine Government.
From the one-room Saint Louis School for ten boys in 1911, Saint Louis University has grown to a four-campus University with more than thirty buildings catering to more than thirty thousand students.