About Ateneo de Manila

To understand the soul of Ateneo de Manila University -- what shaped it and where it came from, where it is going and where it can take you -- it is essential to understand its motto, Lux in Domino, or "Light in the Lord."

From the letter of St. Paul to the Ephesians (5:8), these words capture the spirit of a way of life which Ateneo holds up to her sons and daughters as their best contribution to the work by which God transforms the world.

To be "light in the Lord" in all fullness demands moving insistently and deliberately towards God as the center of a person's life, identifying the issues that such a centering poses, and then moving out to the world to find ever new ways of constructing the edifice, cultivating the garden, painting the masterpiece, that God is unfolding in one's life.


It is a call to be that light of the Lord in the world.


Vision and Mission

In a document on Ateneo’s future prepared for a presentation to the Loyola Schools faculty, Fr Bienvenido Nebres SJ (University President 1993-2011) writes:

“While many schools and apostolates aspire to form leaders, the Ignatian vision, as embodied in the dynamics of the Spiritual Exercises seeks to form people to develop their talents to the utmost and challenge them to the highest levels of service. Not just to seek the good, but the greater good. The magis. It thus has a tendency to form an elite—but its desire has been to form an apostolic elite, an elite for service.”

This, helps foster a deeper appreciation of Ateneo de Manila’s Vision-Mission statement.

The Ateneo Way

What Ateneo stands for—what shapes it, where it comes from, where it wishes to go, and where it can take the rest of the world—may be better understood through its motto, Lux in Domino: “Light in the Lord.” This is not the school’s original motto. The Escuela Municipal’s 1859 motto was Al merito y a la virtud: “In Merit and in Virtue.” This motto persisted through the school’s renaming in 1865 and in 1901.

The motto Lux in Domino first appeared as part of the Ateneo seal introduced by Father Rector Joaquin Añon SJ for the 1909 Golden Jubilee. It comes from the letter of Paul to the Ephesians, 5.8: “For you were once in darkness, now you are light in the lord. Live as children of light, for light produces every kind of goodness, righteousness, and truth.”

This break from the original signifies a more profound appreciation of what Ateneo de Manila stands for. Beyond mere merit and virtue, Ateneo’s aim is to bring light, the Lord’s Light, into this dark and broken world.

Life at Ateneo is a journey into God’s light, and more than that, learning to understand how to keep that light burning brightly for others. In the pursuit of illuminating truth, living as children of light calls for an insistent moving towards God as the center of a person’s life, and then moving out into the world to effect change rooted in love and truth.

The University Strategic Plan 2021-2030

Lux in Domino

After months of consultations and deliberations, leaders and representatives of key stakeholder groups formulated a new strategic plan which will be implemented in the next decade.

Learn More

Leadership & Governance

Arete 2019
University Memos and Policies