As its aim of providing education for all, UM became popular not only among middle classes but also to those poor but deserving young dreamers. 

The Open Education Program in the early 70s enabled the institution to help the poor but deserving college undergraduates employed in the business and factory sites and self-employed to earn a college education. 

From being a humble Mindanao Colleges in Bolton, it blossomed into the University of Mindanao on December 21, 1966 and has spawned 10 more branches to the outlying province in 1948 in Digos, Bangoy, Peñaplata, Tagum (1950), Guianga (1952), Ilang- Tibungco (1951), Panabo (1951), Bansalan (1962), Cotabato (1959), Toril and a sprawling learning ground in Matina.

 UM is the first non-sectarian university in Mindanao.