The beginning of Catanduanes State University (CatSU) dates back to June 18, 1961 when the enactment of Republic Act 3398 called for the establishment of Virac National and Agricultural Trade School (VNATS). Ten years thereafter, Republic Act (RA) 6341 authored by Congressman Jose M. Alberto, converted VNATS into Catanduanes State Colleges (CSC) on June 19, 1971.
CSC started functioning as a tertiary 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 R.A 6590. On July 22, 1996, the Tenth Congress of the Republic of the Philippines enacted and approved Republic Act No. 8292, which provides for the uniform composition and powers of the governing board, the manner of appointment and term of office of the President of chartered state universities and colleges, and for other purposes.
Pursuant to Special Provision No. 2 of the CHED FY 1999 Budget under the General Appropriations Act of 1999 (R.A8745 or the integration of CHED Supervised Institutions to State Universities and Colleges), the Catanduanes Agricultural and Industrial College (CAIC) was integrated to CSC on October 31, 1999. Subsequently, by virtue of Board Resolution No. 15, s. 2003 that called for the implementation of an approved Revised Organizational Structure, CSC-CAIC Annex was renamed as CSC Panganiban Campus.
The process of conversion of the CSC into a University began with former Congressman Leandro B. Verceles, Jr., then by the next Congressman, Joseph A. Santiago. But the conversion did not materialize during their respective terms of office.
Finally, on March 29, 2011, during the first Regular Session of the 15th Congress of the Republic of the Philippines, House Bill No. 4170 entitled ‘’An act converting the Catanduanes State Colleges in the province of Catanduanes, into a State University to be known as the Catanduanes State University, and appropriating funds therefor’’ was filed by Congressman Cesar V. Sarmiento and co-authored by Congressman Juan Edgardo M. Angara.
Over a year thereafter, President Benigno S. Aquino III signed on October 19, 2012 Republic Act No. 10229 converting Catanduanes State Colleges (CSC) (Virac Main Campus and Panganiban Campus) into the Catanduanes State University (CatSU).
On July 14, 2011, Dr. Minerva I. Morales was elected as the sixth President of the Catanduanes State Colleges (CSC). When CSC was converted into a University, she was designated by CHED as Officer In-Charge (OIC) from December 12, 2012 to March 24, 2013 in consonance with the provisions of R.A. 10229.
After topping the evaluation in the Search for Presidency, Dr. Minerva I. Morales was unanimously voted as the First President of the Catanduanes State University (CatSU) by the Board of Regents on March 25, 2013 up to the present time.
The Presidents of then Catanduanes State Colleges (CSC), now the Catanduanes State University (CatSU) 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; Dr. Asuncion V. Asetre, 2003-2011, and Dr. Minerva I. Morales, July 14, 2011- December 11, 2012; (Officer-In-Charge, December 12, 2012- March 24, 2013 during the conversion of then CSC to a University). Dr. Ernestina P. Averilla was designated by DECS Higher Education Division as OIC of then CSC from 1990-1992.
At present, CatSU is enjoying the prestige of being the only comprehensive Higher Education Institution in the island province of Catanduanes and one of the dynamic SUCs in Bicol, offering a wide range of academic programs with its graduates topping various national licensure examinations.