The University of the Philippines Los Baños (also referred to as UPLB, UP Los Baños, and Elbi) is a state university located in the towns of Los Baños and Bay in the province of Laguna, some 64 kilometers southeast of Manila. It traces its roots to the UP College of Agriculture (UPCA), which was founded in 1909 by the American colonial government to promote agricultural education and research in the Philippines. Edwin B. Copeland, an American botanist and Thomasite from the Philippine Normal College in Manila, served as its first dean. UPLB was formally established in 1972 following the union of UPCA with four other Los Baños and Diliman-based UP units.
The university has played an influential role in Asian agriculture and biotechnology due to its pioneering efforts in plant breeding and bioengineering, particularly on the development of high-yielding and pest-resistant crops. In recognition of its work, it received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for International Understanding in 1977. It also hosts a number of local and international research centers, including the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), ASEAN Center for Biodiversity, World Agroforestry Centre and the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA).
UPLB offers more than 100 degree programs in the natural sciences, engineering, formal sciences, social sciences and liberal arts through its nine colleges and two schools. As of October 2010, the Commission on Higher Education has accredited eight of its units as Centers of Excellence and two as Centers of Development.
While UPLB alumni have been recognized in a wide range of fields, most of them tend to specialize in science, engineering and information technology. These include 13 national scientists, members of the UN IPCC (winner of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize), academicians of the National Academy of Science and Technology, Palanca Award winners, as well as political and business leaders.