Manila Central University traces its beginnings in 1903 when a small group of educators organized a private review class at Liceo de Manila for pharmacy board examination aspirants.

The success of the review resulted in more students wanting to join the sessions and this brought about the establishment of Escuela de Farmacia del Liceo de Manila in 1904. The school, housed in Rizal Avenue in Manila, was the first private institution operated by Filipinos in the country.

Enrollment grew rapidly and to cope with the increasing demand, Escuela de Farmacia absorbed some of its outstanding graduates as teachers. In 1910, 1908 graduated. Atty. Filemon D. Tanchoco was invited to join the institution as teacher and administrator.

In 1915, Manila College of Pharmacy was born. As enrollment further increased, a new site was acquired and a building constructed at the corner of Oroquieta and Fugoso Streets in Zurbaran, Manila.

The College was authorized to confer the degree of graduate Pharmacy and Doctor of Pharmacy by 1917. Then again, an increasing enrollment led to the purchase of a lot at the corner of Mayhaligue and Felix Huertas Streets and the construction of a new building in 1926.

The College was authorized to confer the degree of graduate Pharmacy and Doctor of Pharmacy by 1917. Then again, an increasing enrollment led to the purchase of a lot at the corner of Mayhaligue and Felix Huertas Streets and the construction of a new building in 1926.

The College of Dentistry was opened in 1929 and the school was renamed Manila College of Pharmacy and Dentistry. High School classes started in 1940 at the three-story building in Mayhaligue.

The College operated remarkably until war shut it down in 1941. The school was ravaged during the Japanese occupation to a point where only the bare structure of its buildings remained.

In 1945, mustering all their savings and energy, Atty. Tanchoco and his wife Purificacion Gallego Tanchoco reopened the school. At that time, some of the original incorporators have passed away or moved on to other interests.

The following year, the school’s Board of Trustees reorganized. Atty. Tanchoco became the chairman and the school was renamed Manila Central Colleges. Mrs. Tanchoco also began actively participating in the school’s management.

In addition to Pharmacy and Dentistry, the school at that time offered Liberal Arts, Education, Commerce, Business Administration and Post Graduate courses in Pharmacy. In 1947, the College of Medicine opened.

The Tanchocos were at the forefront of the school’s expeditious growth with Mrs. Tanchoco credited for spearheading the development of the Medicine and Nursing programs. She led the construction of the MCU Hospital and acquisition of advanced equipment.

With a diversity of courses, Manila Central Colleges was granted a university status, thus becoming Manila Central University in 1948. Atty. Tanchoco became the first MCU President.

A year later, MCU inaugurated its nearly 10-hectare campus in Caloocan. Expansion and development projects for the colleges continued to meet the educational demands of the time.

Additional school buildings and support facilities were constructed in the 1960s. It was also during this time that the College of Optometry, Medical Technology, Midwifery, High and Grade School and Kindergarten levels were opened.

Atty. Tanchoco dutifully served as president of the University until his passing in 1963. His wife, Mrs. Purificacion Gallego Tanchoco succeeded him and was formally installed as the second president on October 23, 1964.

The doctoral programs were opened in 1992 and two years later, the College of Physical Therapy began.

Mrs. Tanchoco served as president until 1994 and was succeeded by Dr. Lualhati Tanchoco Gonzalez. Dr. Gonzalez continued her parents’ legacy and spearheaded MCU’s growth.

In 1996, all the colleges, departments and facilities moved to the Caloocan campus.

In August 2003, the Department of Computer Studies was established. The same year, MCU was granted a deregulated status by the Commission on Higher Education giving MCU the privilege to prescribe curricular programs to achieve global competence.

The year 2004 marked the centennial anniversary of MCU. The MCU administration saw the 100th year as an opportunity to undergo organizational restructuring.

Dr. Aristotle T. Malabanan’s appointment as the fourth president of MCU in 2009 coincides with the institution’s 105th anniversary. His academic and management prowess and firm resolve to further develop MCU benefited all of its stakeholders especially the students, faculty members and employees.

In 2015, a review of the MCU Vision, Mission, Institutional Philosophy and Values was conducted.

On February 15, 2017, the MCU Board of Trustees led by its Chairperson, Mrs. Luningning T. Estanislao, approved the revisions as recommended by MCU President, Dr. Aristotle T. Malabanan.

On January 30, 2018, the MCU Board of Trustees elected Mrs. Luningning T. Estanislao as President of MCU. Mrs. Estanislao will hold the positions of President and Chief Operating Officer of MCU concurrent with her position as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer.

In the same meeting, the MCU Board also elected Dr. Crisostomo T. Malabanan as a Member of the Board of Trustees of MCU effective January 30, 2018.