It all started in the 18th of September, 1993 when the John B. Lacson Foundation (JBLF) was born with four separate campuses including John B. Lacson Colleges Foundation- Molo (JBLCF-Molo) with Associate in Marine Engineering and Bachelor of Science in Customs Administration (BSCA) as the only courses offered. The Norwegian International Ship registry (NIS) opened the first batch of 25 engine cadets in JBLCF-Molo in June 1993. Furthermore, it was in August 23, 1993 when the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) granted government recognition to the Maritime High School (MHS) program of JBLCF-Molo and the Inter-island Seafarers Foundation Training Center (ISFTC) established a memorandum of agreement (moa) with JBLF.
The next year, 1994, the government granted JBLCF-Molo a recognition for the 4-year Bachelor of Science in Marine Engineering (BSMarE) program. The unit also welcomed Mr. Wilfredo Ramos as the new administrator on April 1.
January 16 1995, Dr. Mary Lou L. Arcelo was granted the title President Emeritus. The maritime program of JBLCF-Molo, BSMarE, was granted two consecutive accreditations in just one year by the Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities Commission on Accreditation (PACUCOA) as Level II and Level III accredited university on March 17 and October 13, 1995 respectively. It was also in June of this year when the maritime programs adopted the enriched CHED curriculum incorporating International Maritime Organization model courses 7.01 to 7.04 likewise the opening of the Bachelor of Science in commerce (BSC) major in office management and computer application as a newly added course in the unit. In addition, JBLCF opened the graduate school which offered management level courses for both deck and engine officers, the inclusion of the navigational trip in the practical training of marine engineering cadets, and the Balangaw Foundation was established on the same year. The school began to document its quality assurance manual in December 1995.
The formal statement of intention to comply with the Standard of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) 1978 convention as amended in 1995 was submitted on January 24, 1996 during the 48th foundation anniversary as well as the establishment of the office of quality assurance that was manned by Mr. Wilfredo Ramos - QA internal auditor, Mrs. Leonora Saul – QAM coordinator, and Engr. Edmundo Pragados – UQAM-Molo. In June 1996, the IMO pilot classes of 28 BSMarE cadets for JBLCF-Molo were implemented after the instructors training for the IMO model course 6.09 on April 8-20, 1996. On the similar year, the mission statement with the acronym QUEST was adopted and the printing of the quality management manual was done in December.
On the subsequent year, the unit was awarded Det Norske Veritas (DNV) management system certificates for having complied with the DNV rules for classification of maritime academies and maritime training centers. The initial opening of the internet center (IC), the implementation of the EMET pilot curriculum in EMET classes of 40 BSMarE cadets, the establishment of the maritime archive, and the graduation of the NIS pioneer batch with Mdpn. Jose Leo Tupaz as Cum Laude were accomplished this year.
CHED granted a government recognition to the BSCA program on September 28, 1998 and as well as the creation of the Center for Research and Competency Assessment (CRCA) and appointment of Academic Audit Office (AAO) on the same year.
The first graduation of the BSMarE cadets graduated with one-year completion of shipboard apprenticeship program happened in 1999.
In the new millennium, year 2000, the unit’s BSMarE program was granted 2 successive government recognitions by CHED in November and for compliance to the requirements of STCW ’78 as amended. Likewise, receiving its International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9001:1994 certification from DNV on September 8 which covers the provision of education and training, assessment and certification and the shifting of the knowledge-based curriculum of BSMarE program into competency-based curriculum.
2001 is a big break for the unit after receiving numerous number of accreditations and awards. TESDA has given JBLCF-Molo an accreditation as an accredited assessment center (JTAC) for engine ratings in Western Visayas in May 30 with 3/E Roger Galve as the first JTAC manager while BSMarE program was granted Level IIII accreditation status by PACUCOA in Nov. 5 as part of the accreditations. In October 22, the unit was also awarded a full autonomy status by CHED, one of 30 HEIS, and the only maritime school to be awarded as such. In line with the quality education, five regular subjects were converted into modular subjects (Filipino 1 & 2, Social Science 1, 2 & 3) to give more class hours to professional subjects, research was also included on all the program curricula, and the formal creation of the AAC and the unit Academic Assessment Office (AAO) with 2/E Miguel Gayo Jr. as the unit program assessor. It was also the birth of Bachelor of Science in Tourism (BST) and Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering (BSCOE) which started in June of this year. In addition, Mdpn. Ernie Candelario, a BSMarE cadet of won a bronze medal in the South East Asian Games (SEAGames) 1500-m run.
The unit gave improvement in its facilities and equipment in 2002 through the construction of the covered court, mural or monuments, secondary gate, lockers, additional fire alarm system, and additional 5 classrooms for the mechanical processes subject. Moreover, the conversion of library cataloguing system from manual to Electronic Online Public Access (OPAC) system and the inclusion of engine simulator course in the revised BSMarE curriculum were materialized in this year. The unit also gave birth to the Bachelor of Science in Cruise Ship Management (BSCSM) together with the creation of the Special Program for BSMarE, Polaris class, with 40 cadets upon the opening of classes. Still in this year, the university was authorized by CHED as ETEEAP provider for BSMarE and the school passed the periodic audit conducted by DNV on its quality management system on September 11.
In the opening of classes in June 2003, JBLFMU-Molo started the Bachelor of Science in Information Technology (BSIT) program.
After 2 years, in 2005, the unit re-aligned its curricular programs for the bid of maritime university status which includes the replacement of Bachelor of Science in Commerce with Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA), the Bachelor of Science in Information Technology was renamed to Bachelor of Science in Maritime Information Technology (BSMIT), and BST was enriched with some maritime subjects. The NIS was retitled as the Norwegian Shipowners Association (NSA) has given full scholarship to 2 classes of 1st year BSMarE cadets during this year.
In March 20-21, 2006 representatives from the European Union conducted an evaluation visit.
2007 is considered as the year of triumph and success after the CHED conferred the school’s singular privilege of being a maritime university in February 12 as the first technical maritime university in the Philippines. The inauguration of the first Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the system, Dr. Mary Lou L. Arcelo happened on April 2.
The university became the only Philippine Maritime School to become a member of the International Association of Maritime Universities (IAMU) June 4, 2008.
In Aug. 3, 2009, JBLFMU-Molo was accredited by PACUCOA as the first and only Level IV BSMarE program in the country. Moreover, in September 22-23, JBLFMU received its ISO 9001:2008 certification from Bureau Veritas (BUV). At this time, the university changed its certification body from DNV to BUV and on Dec. 9, the university was awarded with the Philippine Quality Award (PQA) in Malacañang for its commitment to quality, education, and training.
It was in Aug. 2, 2010 when the five college of business programs of JBLFMU-Molo were granted candidate status by PACUCOA. These programs are BSCA, BSBA, BST, BSCSM and BSMIT.
Three impressive government recognitions by CHED were given to the unit’s business programs like BST and BSIT, and BSCSM in June 15 and 28, 2011 respectively.
The CEO herself, Dr. Mary Lou L. Arcelo received the Juran Award from the Philippine Society for Quality (PSQ) and the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit from the Norway Ambassador Knut Solem for her notable work in developing maritime relations between Norway and the Philippines on September 16 and October 14, 2102 respectively.