Shortly after the College of Liberal Arts was founded on June 3, 1910, one of the independent units created for instruction was the Department of Mathematics. The first Chief of the Department (a title changed to Chairman in the mid-sixties) was a Mr. William Joseph Colbert, BA 1900 Dartmouth College, Associate Professor of Mathematics, who organized the original Mathematics Department consisting of an assistant professor, a Mr. Alexander S. Galajikian from Cornell University and two instructors, a Mr. Shirley E, Roberts, BA 1900, Harvard, and Ms. Pilar Hidalgo, BA 1913, U.P. The Department was charged with contributing towards the goals of the College of Liberal Arts, namely:
- Contribute towards a liberal arts orientation to all degree programs of the University
- Provide specialized instruction in Mathematics by way of the major’s program on the undergraduate and the graduate levels in the view of the authorization by the Board of Regents to grant Bachelor of Arts or BA on June 6, 1911, and the Master of Arts or MA on June 30, 1911
- Serve other colleges, like Engineering, Education, Pharmacy, and others by way of mathematics offerings supportive of their respective degree programs.
These three main objectives have persisted through the years to this day and have aligned the functions of the Department into three main categories:
- General education mathematics
- Mathematics as an academic discipline to be developed
- Service mathematics courses
Accordingly, the faculty has been considered as performing or delivering three main services:
- Extension service
The Department of Mathematics later was under the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) until in 1983, when the CAS split to the College of Science (CS), the College of Arts and Letters (CAL) and the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy (CSSP). Since then the Department of Mathematics, under the CS, has been active mostly on the teaching aspect. Younger faculty members then deemed that there is a need to step up with the present research activity of the department as well as with its present extension services.
22 August 2007, during the 1223rd Meeting of the BOR, the Department of Mathematics was transformed to the Institute of Mathematics. The transformation was based on the following objectives:
- To adopt the nomenclature and basic organizational structure consistent with all degree-granting units of the College of Science;
- To formalize within the Institute of Mathematics the reorganization of the faculty into academic groups. This structure has proved to be very effective in enhancing the instructional and research programs of existing units; and
- To emphasize a shared vision and identity among all units of the College. More than just an administrative change or a change in name, the transformation affirms the mathematics faculty’s commitment to the College’s vision, mission and goals.
Upon its transformation, five academic groups have been identified, namely, the Differential Equations Group, Optimization and Approximation Group, the Algebra and Combinatorics Group, the Coding and Number Theory Group, and the Actuarial Science and Mathematical Finance Group.
At present, the Institute of Mathematics is the leading institution for mathematics research and education in the Philippines. Since 1998, it has been recognized by the Philippine Commission on Higher Education as a Center of Excellence. It is home to the country’s best and more promising researchers in mathematics.