Central Mindanao University was transformed from a settlement of farm schools organized by the Americans. It started as the Mailag Industrial School in 1910 and offered only the first four grades of the elementary agriculture curriculum. Situated in Mailag, Malaybalay, Bukidnon, this school was opened to address the necessity of training Bukidnons to teach in their own province as it was difficult to recruit non-Bukidnon teachers to serve in newly-opened public schools. In 1918, the school was renamed the Bukidnon Agricultural School and offered the last three grades of the elementary agriculture curriculum. This was later relocated to Managok, Malaybalay, Bukidnon. After a few years it offered the secondary agriculture curriculum. By 1923, the Governor General renamed the school to the Bukidnon Rural High School and allocated 724 hectares for the school’s reservation by virtue of Proclamation No. 30.
In 1928, the Philippine Legislature changed the named of the school to Bukidnon Agricultural High School, which was then a secondary agricultural school for male students. In 1938, it was renamed the Bukidnon National Agricultural School which implemented the secondary homemaking curriculum for female students.
After the war, Superintendent Zosimo Montemayor reopened the school but due to its terrible condition ccaused by World War II, the school was transferred to Musuan, Maramag, Bukidnon.
Congressman Cesar Fortich of Bukidnon sponsored House Bill 3041, which elevated BNAS into an agricultural state college. On June 21, 1952, President Elpidio Quirino signed Republic Act 807, otherwise known as the Mindanao Agricultural College (MAC) Charter which also installed Zosimo Montemayor as President. This law also paved the way for funding from national, as well as foreign sources. In 1957-1960, three Stanford consultants, namely James Wall, Donald Green and John McCleland, lived in the locality and provided technical assistance in agricultural technology.
In 1958, President Carlos Garcia, on recommendation of the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources, issued Proclamation No. 476 granting CMU 3,401 hactares of land. The titling of land began as early as 1961 before the Court of First Instance of Bukidnon to determine the rights of adverse claimants, if there were any. By June 19, 1965, R.A. 4498 catapulted MAC to the Central Mindanao University with Montemayor as the first President.
In 1974, the 1971 Cadastral Court decision for the segregation of several hectares was amended for humanitarian reason and the government’s agrarian program. The 321.9 hectares were properly segregated and given to legitimate claimants and CMU was granted title for 3,080 hectares.
The current CMU president is Dr. Maria Luisa Rupac Soliven. She was elected by the CMU Board of Regents on December 15, 2010. She previously served as the Vice-President for Academic Affairs, and before that as the first female Dean of the College of Agriculture of CMU. She is the eighth CMU president. She was inducted on December 30, 2010, taking over the previous officer-in-charge, Dr. Victor M. Barroso. The former CMU presidents are Dr. Amado Campos, Dr. Isabelo S. Alcordo, Dr. Rodolfo Nayga, Dr. Leonardo Chua, Dr. Jaime Gellor, and Dr. Mardonio M. Lao.
CMU enjoyed for some decades the distinction of being the only state university in Region 10. Today, it is one of the top performing schools nationwide in the fields of veterinary medicine, engineering, forestry education, agriculture education, nutrition and dietetics and teacher education. The commission on Higher Education recognizes the College of Agriculture and College of Forestry as Centers of Excellence for agriculture and forestry education, respectively, while the Department of Biology of the College of Arts and Sciences as the Center of Development in Biology Education. The commitment for excellence not only in instruction but also in research, extension and production has earned laurels for this institution, enhanced by its collaboration with government and non-government agencies. CMU University Convention Center