Dr. Nicanor Reyes, founder of FEU, was born on January 2, 1894, in Manila . He attended the Sampaloc Intermediate School and the Manila High School before he enrolled at the University of the Philippines, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1915.  He continued his studies in yhe United States at the new york University, earning his Bachelor of Commercial Science degree in 1917, and at the Columbia University for a Master of Science degree in 1918.

Upon his return to Manila, Dr. Reyes headed the Department of Economics at the University of the Philippines and worked for several large corporations. he wanted to uplift the status of the Filipino accountants, so he spearheaded the passage of the Accountancy Law of 1923 or the CPA Licensure Exams. In 1923, he returned tp Columbia University as a government pensionado to pursue his doctorate in the School of Business. In 1927 he became the first person to graduate with a Doctor of Philosophy in Accountancy from the Columbia University.; he was also the first Filipino to earn that degree.

Dr. Reyes' great dream was to open a school for accounting for Filipinos, as well as for other Asians. Some of his friends helped him fullfill his dream. Francisco Dalupan, Rafael Roces, Clemente Uson, Celso Icasiano, and Dr. Reyes were the founding fathers of the Institute of Accountancy in 1928. In 1933 the Institute of Accounts, Business and Finance and the Far Eastern College merged and became Far Eastern University. By 1940, the school has the largest number of foreign students among all private universities in the Philippines.

Because Dr. Reyes was an outstanding educator and accountant, Pres. Manuel Quezon appointed him as a member of the National Council of Education in 1940.

In December194, the war broke out. In the afternoon of February 9, 1945, Japanese troops barged into the home of Dr. Reyes.

The war killed Dr. Reyes, but it did not kill his spirit, which now lives on in Far Eastern University.