The Notre Dame of Marbel University (NDMU) is a sectarian institution situated in the culturally pluralistic province of South Cotabato, in the island of Mindanao, Philippines.   It started as Notre Dame of Marbel (NDM), a secondary level educational institution founded by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI) with the Religious of Virgin Mary (RVM) Sisters in 1946.  It is the first high school to open in South Cotabato and Koronadal Valley.  In 1950, the Oblate Fathers turned over the ownership and management of the Boys Department to the Marist Brothers of the schools (FMS).  Two years later, the Dominican sisters assumed the direction of the Girls Department. The Marist Brothers, through the years, have transformed it into a College (Notre Dame of Marbel College).

In response to the need to offer courses which will give professional degrees to students who completed their secondary education, the Marist Brothers started the College Department in 1955.  A complete six-year elementary training department for boys was started in 1962 that serve as a laboratory school for the Education Department.

The Graduate School of Education was opened in 1967. In 1970, it turned out its first graduate in  Master of Arts in Education with specialization in Educational Administration.  In the same year, NDMC accepted the responsibility to become a Regional Science Teaching Center for Western Mindanao.

In 1968 three college programs namely, Education, Liberal Arts and Commerce, were accredited by the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (PAASCU).  To date, these 3 programs are on Level III accredited status while 5 other programs are on Level II status.

In June 1977, the Para-Teacher program was started and in September 1984, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports  (MECS) recognized NDMU in pioneering a prototype and innovative para-teacher education program with the aim of producing teachers for teaching in culturally pluralistic communities.  MECS recognized the program to be relevant and suitable in reducing regional disparities by producing graduates with effective competencies for teaching in depressed, disadvantaged and underserved rural communities.

Since then, NDMU has been assuming various responsibilities as a leading tertiary institution in the area.  On January 2,1992 it was granted a UNIVERSITY status and was given the name Notre Dame of Marbel University.

To accommodate the growing population of the college department, the Elementary Training Department, which turned co-ed in June 1995, was relocated to a new site, around 3 kilometers away from the main campus,  in June 1996.  Two years later, the elementary was joined by the High School department in the same site.

NDMU has exerted efforts in strengthening its community extension programs and because of its rich experience it was institutionalized in 1995.  What was called the Community Extension Services-Non-Formal Education (CES-NFE) department has become the Champagnat Community College (CCC) serving the University’s extension laboratories.  Since then, CCC has a long list of community-based programs designed around an integrated framework which aims to alleviate poverty and improve the quality of life of the target beneficiaries.

In 1996, NDMU was identified by CHED as one of the Centers for Excellence in Teacher Education (COE-TE) in Region XI and was selected by ANTEP-DECS (BNFE) as the Lead Institution for Functional Literacy on the National Level.

In 1997, CHED identified NDMU as one of the Centers of Development for Excellence in Information Technology (CODE-IT) in Regions XI and XII. 

In 1999, NDMU was given the Aurora Aragon Quezon Peace National Award in the area of peace through Participatory Development in recognition of NDMU’s vital role in promoting the culture of peace through varied innovative programs for the cultural communities.

NDMU was identified as CHED as Zonal Research Center (ZRC) for Regions XI and XII and ARMM in the year 2000.

The search for quality and excellence is a lifetime pursuit and the limitless capabilities of the University was given due recognition by CHED when it was granted FULL AUTONOMY effective 2001 and was included among the best 30 higher educational institutions in the Philippines.

In its continued quest to provide students with  the best facilities for learning, school year 2003-2004 saw the rise of the modern 3-storey University Library building on campus.

In 2004, the University was presented by National Economic Development authority (NEDA) and Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA) with Outstanding Volunteer award for its exemplary performance as a volunteer organization in uplifting the condition of the indigenous people of Mindanao which is a manifestation of its dedication and commitment to public service and human development.

On July 1, 2005, the University launched the one-year celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the College Department with the theme “NDMU-College at 50:  Charting Excellence and Relevance in Education.”  Significant development in this Jubilee year were the following:  a)  establishment of the Leadership and Education Academy for Development; b) NDMU’s partnership with Phil-Australia Human Resource Development  Facility (PAHRDF);  c)  creation of the University Peace and Development Center;  d) opening of seven programs at the graduate level namely:  Master in Biology, Chemistry, English, Information Technology, Mathematics and Physics; and  f) offering of Master of Arts in Nursing in consortium with San Pedro College, Davao City.

NDMU’s commitment to be responsive to the educational needs of South Cotabato and its neighboring provinces has been intensified when the Nursing Department produced its first batch of graduates in March 2006.  To strengthen further the Nursing Program, the Nursing Department was established into a new college in June 2006.  In October 2006, CHED identified NDMU as Center of Development for Excellence in Information Technology for another term of 3 years.  In school year 2005-2006, the University was awarded by CHED as Best in Student Extension Services Program during its search for Best Student Services.

The Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) and the Board of Medical Technology gave recognition to NDMU for having obtained the first place with an average of 100% passing percentage among the schools/colleges/universities with exemplary passing performance  in the February-March 2007 Medical Technologists Licensure Examination.  

To maximize the use of building spaces and to strengthen the administrative physical logistics, the St. Lorenzo Ruiz administration wing was renovated to house the President’s Office, Board Room, Graduate School Dean’s Office, Faculty and Conference Rooms, and the Research Office.

In 2008, the CHED, DepEd and Teachers Education Council awarded the university as the Training Institution of the DepEd and INSET Program.  The CHED also awarded the Teacher Education Program of the University as the Center of Excellence in Teacher Education.

To keep pace with the needs of the Business Programs the Maurus James Hall was renovated in 2009 to house the business simulation room, new audio visual room and spacious classrooms.  The College of Business Administration building and the HRM Laboratories were also constructed to provide upgraded facilities.  Likewise, to provide the community with greater access to the services of the MedTech Diagnostic and Training Laboratory, it was transferred to its new location along Alunan Avenue with complete equipment and facilities.

The early part of 2010 marked another milestone of the university’s daring move to provide educational programs needed by the community.  It opened the BS Criminology with the aim of providing professional workforce to law enforcement agencies locally and nationally.  The third floor of the Doherty Hall was renovated to accommodate the Criminology Laboratories.

As NDMU continues to pave the way towards making history, it has become more  aware and reflective of its serious attempts not only in keeping pace with the changes and needs of the communities it serves, but also in playing an active role in the process of developmental change.