The University of the Visayas was founded by the late Don Vicente Gullas in 1919 as the Visayan Institute (V.I.) in Cebu City. It was not until 1935 that the Visayan Institute moved to its present site in Colon St. The Second World War, however, razed to the ground the physical facilities of the VI but undaunted by adversities, Don Vicente Gullas reopened classes in Argao, Cebu in 1946. A year later the VI moved back to its present site in Colon Street where the buidings of its main campus now stand as a historical landmark in the City of Cebu.
In 1948, the Visayan Institute was conferred a University status by the then Bureau of Private Schools, the first to become a University in Cebu. The VI was renamed as the University of the Visayas. From that time on, the expansion in its baccalaureate and post graduate course offerings and its physical facilities has been phenomenal. From an initial enrollment of 37 students and only a high school department the VI evolved into a University with an enrollment which at one time in the 1980’s peaked at 29, 000 distributed throughout its various campuses.