Happy 400th birthday UST!
University of Santo Tomas, Espana, Manila
30 January 2011
Known as the Royal, Pontifical, and Catholic University of Santo Tomas, home of the Tigers, and the legitimate oldest University in the Philippines and perhaps the oldest in Asia (and the world?!… mind you, UST is older than Harvard) as it celebrates this year it’s 400th year of providing quality education, helping out the under privileged, providing Catholicism in the youth, and basically helping build the Filipino nation.
Founded on 26th of April 1611, by the Dominicans, where the initial funding was from the last will of Manila Archbishop Miguel de Benavides, O.P., where a seminary-college was to be built. Initially it was named as Colegio de Nuestra del Rosario, then renamed as Colegio de Santo Tomas de Nuestra del Rosario, and, finally, to Colegio de Santo Tomas.
Despite the dispute against University of San Carlos in Cebu, Philippines, UST remains the genuine oldest university that is according to the true facts and studies conducted by the historians, added by the historical documents in the university’s archives would claim and legitimized the claim of the university to be the oldest. One of the forefronts in establishing the education system in the Philippines, thanks to the Dominicans, that their legacy stills stands out after 400 years of higher learning.
THE ROYAL, PONTIFICAL, & CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY
In 1645, Pope Innocent X raised Santo Tomas to the rank of university.
“Royal” was given by Charles III in recognition of their loyalty to Spain during the war against England in 1785.
“Pontifical” was given in 1902 by Leo XIII.
“Catholic University” was granted by Pius XII in 1947.
An 8 storey building clad in neo-classical design and details that originally houses the Publishing Office of the University , now icludes the College of Architecture and the College of Fine Arts and Design. A building that is a witness to creative minds, a haven to feature architects, advertisers, painters, photographers, interior designers, and industrial designers.
Oftenly mistaken as the UST Church due to its crucifix emblem high on its facade designed by Fr. Roque Ruano, O.P. as the first earthquake resistant building in the Philippines in 1920s. This building considered as the highest building during its time, and now is being considered as one of the famous landmarks of the university, if not the whole Manila. Fr. Ruano with his frequent travel in China, was influenced by Chinese Architecture, as evident in the “Tou Kung” Columns seen on the Perimeter of the strcuture. Apart from that, it is noticeable that various statues can be seen from the 4th floor deck: on the center are the “Tria Haec” : Faith, Hope, Charity; and other saints, theologians, philosophers, tragedians, playwrights, and historians such as, Aristotle, St. Albert the Great, William Shakespeare, St. Augustine, and others. These sculpture of Francisco Monti, an italian, and a member of the UST’s Faculty of Architecture symbolizes the spiritual and intellectual aspiration of the University.
The 3rd Bishop of Manila, and founder of the University, as he donated his personal property and library for the establishment of the school. Aside from that he also authored the Chinese translation of the Doctrina Christiana.
As a commemoration to him a bronze statue was made during the 1890s when the school was still in Intramuros. The statue was made in Paris by Tony Noel.
The 6 storey Library building was aslo named after him. With a collection of a huge number of books, old and new, plus hard to find manuscripts of about 450, 00 volumes.
It was formerly a Colayco Park, where we use to eat during lunch time, but now, it is converted to a minimalist clean park. A place where students just hang out, do some works, practice P.E. classes, and basically just to wander around. An interactive fountain can be seen, and the new addition – “Tetraglobal”, a sculpture done by an UST alumni Architect Ramon Orlina, it is cast in bronze and glass, which signifies the various stakeholders of the university represented by four figures: Two students, one male and the other, female; a professor; and a Dominican priest.
ARCH OF THE CENTURIES
Considered as one of the original structure from the Intramuros Campus. This arch was transfered piece by piece from Intramuros down to Sampaloc and re-erected to its present site. During the WWII, the front part was destroyed. Now the facade part was a reconstruction which was added to the old original which is the back part. The columns are Baroque Doric, on the sides and commemorative plaque for Jose Rizal- our national hero, and Manuel Quezon – one of the past presidents of the Philippines, both of which are alumni. On top of the arch is Thomas Aquinas, the patron saint of the university.
Its a tradition for new students to pass through the Arch, called the Thomasian Walk, an initiation that every new Thomasian needs to accomplish. After his stay at the university , just after the Baccalaureate Mass it will be mark by another passing signaling the end of the university life.
Its a link between the old and new University location, and a portal to greatness, like any other great and famous alumni’s have achieved.
“Fountain of Wisdom”
400 ROARS OF TIGERS
A Celebration indeed of 400 years, but perhaps more than and beyond what numbers can be counted. A countless endeavors taken, number of students graduated, life influenced, knowledge shared, and a continuous undertaking of life the Thomasian ideals, principle, and ways. – I think those are the things which really matters- what the school has achieved in that span of centuries- a number of immeasurable vocations, efforts, and lives.
400 years and still counting to unending grace!