With its growing presence in the educational scene in the Ateneo campus, the idea for the establishment of the Fine Arts Program took form. The courses to be offered were drawn from the artistic traditions that have strong roots in the Ateneo, and from which existing faculty could be drawn. The committee that came to this decision was headed by Dr. Leovino Ma. Garcia - who was later succeeded by Dr. Ricardo G. Abad. The major obstacle that committee faced in establishing the program was the fact that the school had not catered for teachers that were specifically professionals in the select fields to be offered, and because no one, at that time, could be tapped for a full-time post as faculty member and since university resources were limited, the unit had to be Program rather than a Department.
Initially opened in school year 2001-2002 with three programs - creative writing, theatre arts, and arts management - the Fine Arts Program developed over the years, gaining a steady foothold in the university. It soon came to a point that a building of its very own was proposed, and passed, as the Ateneo’s creative hub which was decided to be built on the field in front of the Ricardo and Dr. Rosita Leong Hall. The Arete, with the Greek connotation of excellence, goodness, and virtue, is to become the home for the Ateneo’s artistic cluster for many years to follow after its expected completion on 2016.