Founded in 1933 by Fr. James TG Hayes SJ, Ateneo de Cagayan opened as a small High School for boys. The school had 614 students in Grade School, High School and undergraduate Liberal Arts Education and Commerce when it was brought to the ground during the outbreak of World War II. In 1958, Ateneo de Cagayan was granted the university status and was henceforth called Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan. Xavier University became the first University in Mindanao and first Jesuit University in the Philippines.
Xavier operates on five campuses: (1) the Agriculture extension called Manresa Farm Complex, (2) the Jose Alvarez Technology Complex of the Center for Integrated Technologies, (3) the High School and Grade School Annex in Pueblo de Oro, (4) the Grade School campus in Macasandig, and (5) the main Tertiary campus on Corrales Avenue, Cagayan de Oro City. The main campus houses the College of Arts and Sciences, Nursing, Engineering, Agriculture and Computer Studies, as well as the school of Business Management, Education and Graduate programs and the schools of Law & Medicine. Temporarily, while construction of a Senior High School building is in the works, the main campus is also home to the Senior High School.
The University continues to address the intellectual and spiritual needs of its students, the people of Northern Mindanao and its neighboring regions.