The history of Ifugao State University (IFSU) chronicles the triumphs of the Ifugao people amidst adversities since its early inception. The history further speaks of the extraordinary and unwavering contributions of its early pioneers that led to the unprecedented and progressive metamorphosis of the University. Today, IFSU continues to flourish and contributes in shaping and improving the socio-economic, cultural and political landscape of the province.

The early beginnings

In 1920, IFSU started as Nayon Settlement Farm School (NSFS) by American Educators offering general elementary instruction while engaging in agriculture projects particularly vegetable, poultry, and swine production. It closed at the outbreak of World War II and reopened after liberation maintaining its offerings.

The substantial success made in these agricultural projects must have provided the ideas for Filipino education officials who took over the leadership of the local education system.

Mr. Felix U. Brawner, Sr., District Supervisor of Kiangan (where Lamut was part), together with then Principal Raymundo de Leon conceived a type of instruction based on basic agriculture, for the Nayon Elementary School. Even when Mr. Brawner was promoted as the Assistant Superintendent for Baguio – Mt. Province Division and Mr. de Leon took over as District Supervisor, the duo continued to crystallize the plan. Soon, they submitted a proposal for the elevation of the institution to Luis Hora, Representative of the defunct Third District of Mt. Province which included Ifugao.

The late Representative Hora filed a bill in congress and was approved sometime in 1959 as Republic Act (RA) 2432 elevating in the school into the Ifugao Pilot Opportunity School of Agriculture (IPOSA).                                                                 

The IPOSA, with unique offering exclusively on the rudiments of agricultural skill to out of school youths, started in March 1961. Mr. Pedro D. Indunan, then newly appointed Benguet Ifugao Apayao Kalinga Division Supervisor, together with General Education Supervisors from the Division for non-formal education assisted the implementation of the programs.

Tasked to pioneer the leadership of the new type of school was Mr. Saturnino C. Cauton. With him were five school farm demonstrators and five administrative personnel. Mr. Cauton headed the school until the end of 1966. He was succeeded by Mr. Albert B. Dimas in January 1967.

In recognition to the ownership of the site of the institution, Representative Luis Hora filed another Legislative Act renaming the school into Payon Bugan Pilot Opportunity School of Agriculture (PBPOSA) in honor of Bugan, the original owner and donor of the land where the Lamut campus of IFSU now stands. With Administrator Dimas, the school continued to grow especially with the offering of the regular vocational agriculture and homemaking courses.

Romulo B. Lumauig, the first elected representative of the new province of Ifugao, saw it fit that the school offers college courses and so he worked for the passage of R.A. 6453. This law converted PBPOSA into Ifugao Agricultural and Technical College (IATC) which produced the first batch of graduates from two-year technical courses in agriculture and homemaking in 1975 and first batch of graduates from the degree courses in Bachelor of Science in Agriculture (BSA) and Bachelor of Science in Home Techcnology (BSHT) in 1977.

During the Interim Batasan Pambansa, Assemblyman Gualberto B. Lumauig capped the steady upward metamorphosis of the institution with the Parliamentary Bill No. 1326 which was approved by then President Ferdinand E. Marcos in March 1982 as Batas Pambansa (BP) Blg. 189. It upgraded the IATC into the Ifugao State College of Agriculture and Forestry (ISCAF) integrating with it the former Potia National Agricultural School in Potia; and the Barangay Schools at Amduntog, Kiangan; Hacmal, Aguinaldo; Hapao, Hungduan; and Impugong, Tinoc. Thereupon, the autonomous chartered state college started its implementation in January 1983 with Superintendent Albert B. Dimas as Officer-In-Charge (OIC) Administrator.

The Birth of ISCAF

In December 1985, Dr. Toribio B. Adaci was appointed as the First College President. With Dr. Adaci, the College grew even higher with the offering of several baccalaureate degrees and Master’s programs.

By virtue of R.A. 7722, otherwise known as the Higher Education Modernization Act of 1994, Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) were separated from the Basic Education (Elementary and High School) and were subjected to the supervision of the Commission of Higher Education (CHED) while the latter with Department of Education (DepEd). The RA 8292 authorized the integration of CHED Supervised Institutions (CSIs) to existing State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) in the respective provinces. Thus, the Ifugao College of Arts and Trades (ICAT) in Lagawe was integrated to ISCAF in the year 1999 covered under Board Resolution No. 645.

In February 2002, Dr. Adaci retired and the College was placed under interim management pending the search and election of a new President. Dr. Marcelo M. Roguel, President of the Nueva Vizcaya State Institute of Technology (NVSIT), was appointed as the Officer-In-Charge (OIC) President in concurrent capacity. He moved to organize various academic units into Institutes and pushed for the accreditation of academic programs.

The Beginning of New Era

On February 21, 2003, a new era was ushered in by the unanimous election of the Second College President, Dr. Serafin L. Ngohayon. The vision to transform ISCAF into a University was born and was vigorously pursued. The College developed in all fronts, i.e. more courses were opened all the way to the doctoral level (Ph.D.), curricular programs were standardized and accredited, systems were computerized, needed facilities improved, researches doubled, extension programs multiplied and income generating projects put up. All of these helped ISCAF from being a SUC level I to SUC Level III status in 2007.

Recognizing the readiness of ISCAF and the clamor for higher education institution in the province with a broader scope of operation and expansive course offerings, Representative Solomon R. Chungalao of the Lone District of Ifugao, filed House Bill (HB) No. 926 seeking to convert ISCAF into Ifugao State University (IFSU). The bill was later substituted as HB No. 4409 with other representatives as co-sponsors. It was passed in the House of Representatives on September 16, 2008 and immediately transmitted to the Philippine Senate.

Meanwhile, the move to convert ISCAF into a University gained support in the Philippine Senate with counterpart bills filed by Senator Aquilino Q. Pimentel (SB 1224) and Senator Manny A. Villar (SB 2658), respectively. Along with HB 4409, deliberations on the senate counterpart measures started in September 17, 2008 highlighted by a public hearing done in April 24, 2009 and its successful passage in the senate floor for Second reading on July 27, 2009. With the full support of the Senators and the Senate Leadership (Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, Majority Floor leader Juan Miguel F. Zubiri, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance Edgardo J. Angara) the consolidated HB 4409 under committee report 536 was passed on third and final reading on August 18 2009. Thereafter, it was sent back to the House of Representatives for concurrence and subsequent signature of Speaker Prospero C. Nograles. It was returned to the senate for the signature of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile who formally transmitted it to Malacañan Palace on September 17, 2009.

The legislative task of transforming ISCAF into a university was completed on October 14, 2009 with the signing of Republic Act No. 9720 by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo into law entitled “An act Converting the Ifugao State College of Agriculture and Forestry and All Its Existing Campuses Located in the Province of Ifugao Into A University To Be Known As The Ifugao State University And Appropriating Funds Thereof.”

Formal operation of the Ifugao State University or IFSU started on January 6, 2010 with the official launching of the university status marked by the approval and adoption of the IFSU Code and the 5-Year 2010-2014 Development Plan.

By virtue of Section 9 of RA 9720, Dr. Serafin L. Ngohayon was the First University President. He was officially appointed and sworn into office on December 14, 2009.

Election of the First Woman Top Leader and Second University President

The year 2018 marked a significant milestone in the history of IFSU, with the election of Dr. Eva Marie Codamon-Dugyon as the second university president. She is the first woman to hold the highest position in the university since its establishment in 1920. In June 2022, Dr. Dugyon was reappointed for another four-year term as university president by the Board of Regents, the highest governing body of IFSU, by merits of her performance in the preceding term.

National Awards and Global Recognitions

Under Dugyon’s leadership, IFSU achieved a number of notable achievements, including becoming the first state university and college in the Cordillera Region to be granted the Bronze award for achieving Maturity Level II in all major areas of the Program to Institutionalize Meritocracy & Excellence in Human Resource Management (PRIME-HRM), earning ISO 9001:2015 QMS Certification for three of its campuses, and being ranked as the National Top 3 Performing School of Midwifery with 15 or more examinees with at least 80% passing rate in 2022 and Top 5 in the Criminology Licensure Examination in 2018. IFSU graduates also placed 7th in the Criminology Licensure Examination and 9th in the Agriculture Licensure Examination in 2019.

In 2023, IFSU recorded the first Level IV undergraduate program which is the Bachelor in Secondary Education of Potia Campus. IFSU also participated for the first time in international rankings and achieved impressive results, including ranking 35th nationwide in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, 42nd place in the country in Ethical Value, and Global Top 100 Innovative Universities with the rank of 101-200 in World Rankings for Innovation (WURI). For its outstanding performance, IFSU has been commended by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and Ifugao Provincial Local Government.

Currently, IFSU has six campuses, namely: Lamut (Main); Lagawe; Hapao; Potia; Aguinaldo and Tinoc, with over 800 permanent employees and a total of 12,105 students.