|To most Americans in the late 1800, Dumaguete was a name their tongue was still to master. It was unfamiliar to them. Even the Philippines, which at that time was still recovering from the onslaught of the Spanish-American War, was not on the immediate list for a Presbyterian mission. But it took the vision and commitment of a man to turn this around.The late Dr. Arthur Carson, third Silliman president, wrote in his book how a man’s strong resolve to help shape Philippine education paved the way for the establishment of Silliman University. This man was Dr. Horace B. Silliman, a retired businessman of the town of Cohoes in New York State.|
In 1899, Dr. Silliman appeared at the office of the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions with the conviction that the Filipino people would need a new kind of education. To support this, he contributed the initial sum of $10,000 toward the founding of an industrial school. Legend has it that the Board Secretary was surprised and explained that the Board had only begun to consider a mission in the Philippine islands. At that time, news was fresh on the naval victory of Admiral Dewey over the Spanish fleet in Manila Bay. The Board Secretary thought it would be too early for a school.