Catanduanes State University’s beginning dates back to June 18, 1961 when Republic Act 3398, which called for the establishment of Virac National and Agricultural Trade School (VNATS), was enacted.
Ten years thereafter, Republic Act (RA) 6341, which was authored by Congressman Jose M. Alberto, converted VNATS into Catanduanes State Colleges (CSC) on June 19, 1971. CSC started functioning as an educational institution on December 1, 1971, initially offering courses such as Associate in Business Education,Associate in Commerce, Bachelor of Science in Education, and Master of Arts in Education, and Master of Arts in Commerce. Additional courses were offered on July 8, 1972 by virtue of RA 6590.
In 1996, Catanduanes State Colleges conformed to Republic Act No. 8292, which provides for the uniform composition and powers of the governing boards, the manner of appointment and term of office of the president and chartered state universities and colleges, and for other purposes.
On October 31, 1999 the Catanduanes Agricultural and Industrial College (CAIC) was integrated to the Catanduanes State Colleges. This is Pursuant to Special Provision No. 2 of the CHED FY 1999 Budget under the General Appropriations Act of 1999 (RA 8745 or the Integration of CHED Supervised Institutions Universities and Colleges). Subsequently, by virtue of Board Resolution No. 15, s. 2003 that called for the implementation of the to State approved and the Revised Organizational Structure, CSC-CAIC Annex was renamed as CSC Panganiban Campus.
The past Presidents of the CSC were Mr. Pedro G. Tabuzo – 1971 -1972, Dr. Jacinto A. Medallada – 1972 -1986, Dr. Rodolfo V. Azanza - 1986-1990, Dr. Adolfo S. Bagadiong - 1993-2003, and Dr. Asuncion V. Asetre - 2003-2011. Meanwhile, Dr. Ernestina P. Averilla was designated by DECS Higher Education Division as CSC OIC from 1990- 1992.
On July 14, 2011, Dr. Minerva I. Morales was elected as the sixth President of the Catanduanes State Colleges. When CSC was converted into a University, she was designated by CHED as Officer In-Charge from December 12, 2012 - March 24, 2013 in consonance with the provision of RA 10229. After topping the evaluation in the Search for CSU Presidency, Dr. Minerva I. Morales was subsequently elected through a unanimous vote by the Board of Regents as the First President of the Catanduanes State University on March 25, 2013 until July 31, 2020.
On August 1, 2020, Dr. Freddie T. Bernal, Regional Director of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Regional Office No. 05, Legazpi City, was designated by the Board of Regents (BOR) as Officer-in-Charge (OIC)- President of the Catanduanes State University in its special meeting on July 30, 2020 through a Referendum Letter No. 4, s. 2020. Dr. Bernal served as OIC of the University until June 24, 2021.
During the special meeting of the Board of Regents of the Catanduanes State University on June 24, 2021 presided by CHED Commissioner and CatSU BOR Chairperson, Dr. Aldrin A. Darilag, the Board unanimously elected DR. PATRICK ALAIN T. AZANZA as President of the Catanduanes State University starting June 25, 2021. Dr. Azanza is currently the 7th President of the Institution since its foundation as a Public Higher Education Institution as then Catanduanes State Colleges (CSC) through RA 6341 on June 19, 1971 authored by the late Catanduanes Congressman Jose M. Alberto. Dr. Azanza currently serves his first four-year term commencing from his appointment on June 25, 2021 until June 24, 2025 or unless re-appointed for another term thereafter as the University’s Charter provides under Section 9.
The conversion of CSC into a University formally started on March 29, 2011 when House Bill No. 4170 was filed during the First Regular Session of the 15th Congress of the Philippines. The bill was principally authored by then Congressman Cesar V. Sarmiento of the Lone District of Catanduanes, and co-authored by then Congressman Juan Edgardo M. Angara. Over a year thereafter, then President Benigno S. Aquino III signed on October 19, 2012 Republic Act No. 10229 converting Catanduanes State Colleges (CSC)-Virac/Main and Panganiban Campuses) into CATANDUANES STATE UNIVERSITY (CatSU). Presently, Dr. Azanza likewise serves as its 2nd University President since the institution’s conversion in 2012.