In June 1933, Holy Angel Academy (HAA) opened its doors to a modest group of 78 high school students in the Holy Rosary Parish Convent. It was initiated through the joint efforts of the late Don Juan D. Nepomuceno, a known philanthropist/prominent businessman and Fr. Pedro P. Santos, then parish priest of the town of Angeles and later Archbishop of Nueva Caceres. Its primary purpose was to offer Catholic education in the secondary level, which was the felt need of the community at that time. It was organized as a non-stock, non-profit corporation oriented towards service to the community.
The founders employed the able leadership of Ricardo V. Flores, an energetic educator from
Pagsanjan, Laguna whose efforts, commitment and perseverance brought forth in two months the opening of a complete secondary school and the issuance of government recognition in February 1934. Consequently, the Holy Angel Academy (HAA) became the first Catholic co-educational high school run by laypersons with the First Friday devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, as its initial signature landmark. By 1940, HAA moved from the Parish Convent to its first building (present Don Juan D. Nepomuceno Building or DJDN Building) to accommodate its expanding enrollment.
When World War II broke out, classes were suspended and resumed only in 1945. On May 8, 1947 the Academy was given new government recognition for its General Secondary Education Program. In school year 1947-48, the Evening High School Program started to provide educational opportunities for working students, particularly the employees in Clark Air Force Base. Likewise, the tertiary department was established with the 2-year Junior Normal College or Elementary Teacher's Certificate (ETC) as its initial program in response to the growing need for teachers in public schools. This program continued operating until 1963, when it was converted to a 4-year Normal College or the
Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education (BEED) that was granted government recognition on February 11, 1955, this program continued operating until 1963, when it was converted to a 4-year Collegiate Normal Course of the Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education (BSEEd).
In 1948, the College of Commerce opened with a program, Bachelor of Science in Commerce whose government recognition was issued on December 3, 1951 or upon graduation of its first twenty three (23) students. In 1955, the Academy offered the 2-year Associate in Arts (also known as Preparatory Law Course) which was later converted into a 4-year Liberal Arts (or Bachelor of Arts) that was granted government recognition on May 18, 1960.
In 1960, the elementary department was opened. More collegiate courses were also offered like the 1-year and 2-year Secretarial courses in 1961 and the two-year pre-engineering course in 1962. In the ensuing years, the latter was expanded to the complete programs Civil Engineering (August 13, 1968), Electrical Engineering (September 11, 1969), Mechanical Engineering (September 11, 1969) and Management and Industrial Engineering (March 17, 1986).
On December 6, 1961, the academy became Holy Angel College (HAC) with Don Juan D. Nepomuceno as the first President. Under the leadership, and the able assistance of his son, Mr. Geromin G. Nepomuceno, the school experienced a revitalized management that led to the construction of buildings and the adoption of the fiscal policy, which opened new possibilities for further growth and expansion. The latter assumed the presidency in 1973 to continue the pursuit of making the school one of the best Catholic educational institutions in the country, particularly in Central Luzon. In 1975, he was succeeded by Dr. Ricardo V. Flores, who held the leadership position until 1980.
During this period, the school also addressed the call of the government for courses responsive to the needs of the community, in particular, and the nation, in general. It offered Graduate Programs in Education in 1965 that earned government recognition on October 30, 1970. In 1974, the Department of Vocational/Technical Education was established in response to the nation's Manpower Development Program through the introduction of the National College Entrance Examination (NCEE). This department offered courses in Industrial Electricity, Refrigeration and Air-conditioning, Radio Electronics, Automotive Mechanics, and Machine Shop Practice.
Realizing the significance of the unprecedented growth of the College, the administration applied for a university status, which it attained on December 4, 1981. Engr. Mamerto G. Nepomuceno was installed as first University President on March 8, 1982. On the same occasion, Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz of the Archdiocese of San Fernando Pampanga, proclaimed Holy Angel University a Catholic University. The achievement of graduates in various licensure examinations, scholarship opportunities and affordable fees led to the continuous growth of student enrolment that peaked at 27,000 in SY 1983-1984.
On August 12, 1985, Sister Josefina G. Nepomuceno of the Congregation of Missionary Benedictine Sisters of Tutzing was installed as Second University President. Under this new leadership, the professional dimension of the University was pursued with vigor and its Catholic character given greater and renewed emphasis. The collegiate programs not only grew in number but also in quality when submitted for accreditation. The curricular offerings added in the undergraduate level from 1985 to 1994 were AB majors in Sociology and Religious Studies, Associate Programs in Computer Science and Theater Arts; BS in Accountancy; BSBA major in Small Business Management/Entrepreneurship; BSED majors in Values Education, PE Health and Music and Library Science; BS in Electronics and Communications Engineering; and Associate in Computer Secretarial and Medical Secretarial. In the graduate school level, Master of Business Management and Master of Public Administration were added in 1994 while the areas of specialization in the Master of Arts Program were expanded, such as: College Teaching, English Teaching, Mathematics and Library Science.
On August 30, 1993, the Liberal Arts, Business Administration, Education and Engineering Programs were conferred Level I Accreditation by the Philippine Accreditation by the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (PAASCU). The following year, the elementary school was completely phased out after 34 years of existence.
On June 30, 1995, the programs in the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business and Accountancy, Education, and Engineering attained FAAP second level accreditation status through the PAASCU. Thus, Holy Angel became the first and only University in Central Luzon accredited by PAASCU.
In the same year, Sr. Josefina ended her 10-year term as President with Mrs. Bernadette M. Nepomuceno as successor. The latter's administration saw reforms in structure as well as operations that sustained and expanded the University's quest for academic excellence. The said thrust was marked by new as well as upgraded curricular programs and awards of distinction. The areas of specialization in BS Business Administration and BS Secretarial Administration were expanded to include among others Hotel and Restaurant Management, Management Information System and Tourism. The Doctor of Philosophy in Management was initially offered in school year 1995-96 while the Accountancy degree was upgraded into a 5-year program in school year 1997-98. The University's teacher-training programs were further enriched with the establishment of the Laboratory Elementary School in 1997.
On August 6, 1999, the programs in the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business and Accountancy, Education and Engineering were reaccredited by PAASCU. The Electrical and Industrial Engineering programs were conferred Center of Development Level II status by the Commission of Higher Education (CHED) that paved the way for the offering of Master in Engineering in school year 2001-02. Likewise offered were Doctoral in Business Management, Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Management, BS Psychology, BS Computer Science, BS Information Technology, and BSEd Physical Education with specialization in Golf Sports which were added the following school year. On October 22, 2001, CHED listed the University as one of the top 52 tertiary educational institutions in the country effectively conferring on it a deregulated status.
In 2002, the University also hosted the First International Conference on Kapampangan Studies and established the Juan D. Nepomuceno Center for Kapampangan Studies to preserve, study, and promote Kapampangan cultural and historical heritage.
In school-year 2003-2004, the University revisited its mission and vision where all stakeholders agreed to rededicate commitment to accessible quality education, academic excellence, community linkages and the promotion of local history and culture. Responding to popular demand, it offered Nursing, Architecture, and Computer Engineering. It also initiated sweeping improvement in physical plant with the construction of Mamerto G. Nepomuceno Hall, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael, the Chapel of the Holy Guardian Angel, Café Juan, food courts, courtyard, and JDN Annex.
CHED further elevated the University to autonomous status on October 27, 2003 thus, acknowledging its academic leadership in Region 3. On January 31, 2006, PAASCU conferred the Level III accreditation status on the following programs: Accountancy, Arts and Sciences, Business Administration, Education and Engineering (Civil, Electrical, Industrial and Mechanical). Holy Angel University is one of the few institutions in the country that has attained such status.
On August 12, 2006, Dr. Arlyn Sicangco-Villanueva succeeded Mrs. Nepomuceno as the eighth President. The President of the Republic, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, administered the oath of office to Dr. Villanueva on February 1, 2007. The new administration initiated reforms and innovations in organization, operations, services, curricula, campus development and research, and has made international accreditation its flagship. Dr. Villanueva has also vowed to keep alive the founder's dream of making Holy Angel University the best school in Central Luzon anchored on the three E's: Evangelization, Excellence, and Economy.
March 8, 2008 marked the opening of the Diamond Jubilee year with the blessing of the San Francisco de Javier Building, which houses the state-of-the-art University Library and the University Theatre, which is considered by critics and performers as among the best in the country, as the highlights. The university undertook a major upgrading of computer facilities and operations by launching an integrated information system. It also embarked on a massive campus development with the construction of the Chapel of the Holy Guardian Angel, the seven-storey St. Joseph Hall, and the University Main Entrance.
The University's bid for international accreditation which began in school year 2005-06 was realized when the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE) conferred on the University on April 4, 2008, in Newport Beach, California, the Specialized Accreditation of the business and business-related programs of the College of Business and Accountancy.
On June 2, 2008, the University was conferred Center of Development in Teacher Education. In the same semester, the Graduate School enriched its programs through the inclusion of Master of Science in Electronics and Communications Engineering, Master in Information Technology, and Certificate of Public Administration and Governance.
The High School Program was conferred a PAASCU Level I accredited status on November 28, 2008.
In recognition of its accomplishments, adherence to quality assurance and commitment to public responsibility as a higher educational institution, CHED granted the University the Autonomous Status for the period March 11, 2009 to March 30, 2014.
On April 2, 2009, the University formally closed the celebration of the 75thFounding Anniversary with the launching of the book, Destiny and Destination: The Extraordinary Story and History of Holy Angel University 1933 - 2008, and the dedication of the Main Building to Don Juan Nepomuceno.
School Year 2009-2010 marked the founding of the College of Hospitality Management and the College of Criminal Justice Education and Forensics, as well as the offering of new programs namely, BS in Accounting Technology, BS in Criminal Justice Education with Forensics Program, BS in Aeronautical Engineering, BSBA in Legal Management, and Master in Special Education. Another highlight was CHED's conferment on Hotel and Restaurant Management program the status of Center of Development, the first in the country.
New programs offered in School Year 2010-2011 were Master in Education (Major in Teaching Filipino), MS in Hotel and Restaurant Management, MS in Nursing and Doctor in Technology. The next school year, new programs included BS in Events Management, MS in Health Services Administration, and Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Education major in Educational Leadership and Management.
For three successive years, the University conferred its first honorary doctorates on the country's top technocrats: Manuel V. Pangilinan in 2009, Washington SyCip in 2010 and Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala in 2011. The 2012 recipients of honorary doctorates were the Magsaysay awardees Christopher and Ma. Victoria Bernido.
On August 15, 2013, the University conferred an honorary doctorate to HE Luis Antonio Gokim Cardinal Tagle after the formal blessing of the Epiphany of Angels. The Computer Engineering Program gained its Level-1 PAASCU accreditation status on November 22, 2013 valid until November 2016.
The University celebrated its 80th year of founding with the conferment of an honorary doctorate to Amando Maglalang Tetangco, Jr., Governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and Chairman of the Monetary Board on March 7, 2014. On this day, it also inaugurated the Peter G. Nepomuceno Center of Professional Development, the home of the College of Business and Accountancy and the Professional Schools.
Dr. Luís María. R. Calingo began his term as the University President on June 1, 2015, taking over from Engr. Geromin T. Nepomuceno, Jr. who served as the Acting President upon the resignation of Dr. Villanueva on June 2014.
Dr. Calingo immediately worked with key stakeholders of the University in reviewing and setting the guiding premises for the strategic term (SY 2015-2020) that resulted in a revised Vision Mission, and Values that were further operationalized into institutional learning outcomes, a core values blueprint, towards achieving four strategic objectives - academic quality and organizational excellence, an authentic instrument for countryside development, a great university to work for, and a role model for Catholic mission and identity.
HAU is the largest Catholic college and is the only one in the Asia-Pacific region that has been included in the 2016 Newman Guide which provides key information on Catholic colleges recommended by the Cardinal Newman Society for its visible commitment to faithful Catholic education. Character Education Partnership Philippines, an affiliate of the Washington DC-based Character.org granted HAU a National School of Character distinction in December 2017, marking another first in the country.