St. Paul University Philippines (SPUP) was founded on May 10, 1907, as Colegio de San Pablo, by the Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres, (Mother Ephrem Marie Fieu, Sr. Suzanne du Sacre Coeur Cran, Sr. Agnes de Sainte Anne Couplan, and Sr. Jeanne de St. Louis Bourrelly, Sr. Marie Angeline Acau and Postulant Sr. Ste. Foy de Sacre Coeur Sacramento) who came to Cagayan Valley upon the invitation of Bishop Dennis Dougherty. The school’s name was changed to Colegio del Sagrado Corazon de Jesus in 1909, then to Sacred Heart of Jesus Institution (SHOJI) in 1925. The school started in a Spanish Convento, adjoining the Cathedral, but due to increase of enrollment and curricular expansion, the community moved to the Colegio de San Jacinto and its grounds in 1934 (where the University stands today) which the SPC Sisters acquired from the Dominican Order.
The school served as military garrison and hospital of the Japanese forces in 1941. The entire complex was razed to the ground during the Liberation. In 1948, the school undertook the initiative of being the first Teacher-Training Institution in Cagayan Valley, as it assumed the name St. Paul College of Tuguegarao (SPCT). With the opening of college degrees, the school became the first accredited institution in the region by the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (PAASCU) in 1961. However, the entire complex was reduced into ashes on January 18, 1965. Despite the challenges and like a gold tested in fire, SPUP became the first University and Catholic University in Cagayan Valley in 1982.