1611-2011: UNIVERSITY OF SANTO TOMAS, OLDEST UNIVERSITY IN THE FAR EAST

[PHOTO - The Quadricentennial LOGO of the University of Santo Tomas. The Tongues of Fire is the official logo for the Quadricentennial celebration of the university. This logo features the outline of the UST Main Building Tower as a concrete symbol of the stability, integrity and 400 years of existence of the university. From the cross of the Main Building emanate four tongues of fire that spell out U, S, and T. The tongues of fire reference the future of the university, some ideals, and are reminiscent of the stripes of the Tiger, the school's mascot. The Quadricentennial logo was designed by Dopy Doplon, a Thomasian.]

INTERNET, JANUARY 28, 2011 (WIKIPEDIA) The Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas celebrated its 400 years in 2011. The agenda ahead of the University's quadricentennary in 2011 includes the introduction of new academic programs, improvements in the University's infrastructure, and other projects to raise UST’s national and international prominence and promote its role as a social catalyst. Plans to open satellite campuses in Santa Rosa, Laguna and another in General Santos City are being put in place.

Physical developments for the Sampaloc campus are ongoing. The Plaza Mayor in front the Main Building, together with the Quadricentennial Square which will feature the Tetraglobal sculpture, the Quadricentennial Fountain and the Quadricentennial Alumni Walkway were constructed in 2006. To accommodate the needs of extra space for the growing number of student activities, the UST Tan Yan Kee Student Center was built in front of the Miguel de Benavides Library. The more than 80-year old Main Building, and the artifacts and art works in the UST Museum of Arts and Sciences were recently placed under the preservation of the UST Heritage Conservation program in December 2008.

(PHOTO) The UST Benavides Cancer Institute, part of the five-year redevelopment plan and expansion of the UST Hospital for its 60-year celebration and the quadricentennial celebration, was also established in the year 2006.

Part of the University's infrastructure modernization is the construction of an P800-million, four-storey gymnasium capable of seating 5,792, designed by Thomasian architects José Pedro Recio and Carmelo T. Casas. The construction is now in full swing after university officials, led by Rector Rolando V. de la Rosa, O.P., led its groundbreaking ceremonies last August 2008.

The UST Publishing House in 2001 launched its quadricentennial project, “400 Books at 400!”, publishing books in a range of disciplines, from theology to literature to medicine, written in both Filipino and English. The Publishing house is more than half way in completing this objective.

A Quadricentennial Commission was formed to formulate preparations for the celebration of UST Quadricentennial Jubilee. The commission is headed by the UST Rector, Rev. Fr. Rolando V. de la Rosa, O.P., as chairman.

Quadricentennial Song (video below) 'The Ako'y Isang Tomasino' composed by UST Faculty of Engineering alumnus Gerry de Leon, is the official theme song of the Quadricentennial celebration. It bested four other finalists in the Q Songwriting Contest Grand Finals held last Dec. 10 at the Albertus Magnus Auditoirium. It was performed by Sam Velarde, a long time friend of Gerry de Leon, and a PSBA-Manila alumnus. The song was launched during the “400 days to 400 years Countdown” on Dec. 18 at the UST Football Field.

 

Quadricentennial Prayer The Quadricentennial prayer was unveiled to the public during the “400 days to 400 years Countdown” on Dec. 18. It was recited by Fr. Pompeyo de Mesa, O.P. with a candle-lighting ceremony.

(PHOTO) The Quadricentennial Flag of the University of Santo Tomas.Quadricentennial Flag The Quadricentennial flag consists of two horizontal stripes of equal width, the upper one gold and the lower one white. The two colors are defined as school colors of the University because of its Pontifical status. Embroidered with 2011, the flag features the sun and the colors yellow and blue taken from the logo of the University.

(PHOTO) Quadricentennial Countdown Clock The countdown clock, which is a Swatch Beatman, is produced by a Swiss watch company Swatch. It is designed by the former Varsitarian art director Jonathan Gamalinda.[11]

Quadricentennial Mascot The mascot is named QUSTER which stands for Quadricentennial University of Santo Tomas Tiger.

Infrastructure] University MarkerA one-foot-by-three-feet marble marker in Plaza Intramuros near the main vehicular entrance of the campus was unveiled on February 4, 2010. It was designed by Archt. John Joseph T. Fernandez, Dean of the College of Architecture and Archt. Froilan M. Fontecha, faculty member of the same college. It bares the name of the university, its seal on the left, and the year 1611 on the right.

(PHOTO) Quadricentennial Square Replacing the old Colayco Park and its adjacent UST Cooperative Center, the Quadricentennial Square was built as a memorial of the University's four centuries of existence. It has two main features: the Quadricentennial Fountain and the Quattromondial. It is located between the Main Building and the Miguel de Benavides Library. The Colayco Shrine, an iron statue commemorating the World War 2 victim Capt. Manuel Colayco, was nowhere to be found since its removal from the site in 2006.

Quadricentennial Fountain (PHOTO AT RIGHT) It is a recreational water attraction and interactive fountain was unveiled on 2007. It was designed and built by Industron Inc., the same designer of Cultural Center of the Philippines and Liwasang Bonifacio fountains in Manila.

The fountain has sun-like floor patterns to pay tribute to the University’s patron saint, Thomas Aquinas. It also has four cornerstones that highlight UST milestones during its first, second, third, and fourth centuries of existence.

According to UST Facilities Management Office administrator Antonio Espejo, the fountain uses recycled water treated with chlorine. It runs three times a day (6AM to 8AM, 11AM to 1PM, and 5PM to 8PM).

The Quattromondial (photo left) is a monument built made of bronze and glass. It is a ten-meter-high structure made by artist Ramon Orlina, a UST alumnus.

The monument features four figures representing the young Filipino student, the young Filipina student, the Thomasian teacher, and the Dominican monk-scholar. These were modeled by actor Piolo Pascual (Filipino student), Orlina’s daughter Monina (Filipina student), beauty queen Charlene Gonzales (Thomasian teacher), and Fr. Rolando V. dela Rosa, O.P. (Dominican friar). Upon the four near-naked figures, whose genitals are covered by a long strip of ribbon, rests a globe; and like the earth, it tilts 23.5 degrees.

According to Orlina, the four figures represent the four centuries of excellence (Filipino student), erudition (Thomasian teacher), spirituality (Dominican monk) and tradition (Filipina student) that the University has displayed and inspired in every one of its stakeholders. The globe represents globalization, with all its benefits and hindrances, such as environmental degradation and cultural divisions. The ribbon with an inscription in Latin signifying accomplishment, scholarliness and wisdom streams out of the globe.

UST Gymnasium and Sports Complex University of Santo Tomas Sports Complex Replacing the original UST Gymnasium and the old Engineering Sports Complex, the construction of the 800-million-peso UST Sports Complex began after the Vatican gave its "blessing" to the project. It is set to be inaugurated on August 15, 2011.

It was designed by Thomasian architects Jose Pedro Recio and Carmelo Rosas. It will stand on what used to be the Engineering Sports Complex, basketball courts, and the adjacent football field. It will house training areas for gymnastics, aerobics, taekwondo, judo, table tennis, fencing, and badminton at its ground floor. Some features include a ticket counter, a museum, a dance hall for the Salinggawi Dance Troupe, and a fitness room. Its main attraction is a basketball court surrounded by bleachers rising up to the fourth level.

Thomasian Alumni Center To be built on the site of the original UST Gymnasium, the alumni center will be used as a venue for alumni gatherings, various university events, and lodging services for visitors. It is according to the pursuit of the university's Office for Alumni Relations to build a center to cater the needs in catering the growing number of UST Alumni. The existing Olympic-sized swimming pool located nearby would be kept and refurbished. It is projected to be completed and opened in 2012.

The design was chosen from seven winners in a competition among students organized by the College of Architecture. Abelardo Tolentino Jr., an outstanding Thomasian alumni for Architecture, worked on the design to produce the final blueprint.

US-based Thomasian medical practitioners raised and donated USD 1 million to assist the construction of the alumni center.

University Sites as National Cultural Treasures Four structures within the University campus were declared National Cultural Treasures by the National Museum. The declaration was made on January 25, 2010. The following sites were:

(PHOTO) The Main Building (the first earthquake-resistant building in the Philippines) Arch of the Centuries (the remnant of UST's original building from Intramuros) Central Seminary (the home of the oldest college of Ecclesiastical Studies in the Philippines) The Grandstand and Parade Grounds (the venue where a mass celebrated by Pope John Paul II was held) The Cultural Properties Preservation and Protection Act describes National Cultural Treasures as unique objects found in the Philippines that possess outstanding historical, cultural, artistic, and/or scientific value. These are considered as significant and important to the Philippines.

Events 4 horas, 4 dias, 4 hundred days, 400 taon: The Quadricentennial countdown to 2011 coincided with UST's Christmas tradition Paskuhan held on December 18, 2009. The theme was called as such because the party lasted for 4 hours on December 18, which is 4 days before December 22, which is 400 days before January 28, 2011, which is the Grand Opening of UST's Quadricentennial Celebrations.[22] The official kick-off and launching of the countdown was intended to be held on December 22 but the university was expected to be already on its Christmas vacation during that day.

January 28 is the feast day of St. Thomas Aquinas, the patron saint of the university and from where it was named after. UST was founded on April 28, 1611.

The Paskuhan festivities and the Quadricentennial Countdown were hosted by UST alumni - beauty queen Miriam Quiambao and TV personality Kim Atienza.

Simbayan 400: "Tomasino para sa Simbahan at Bayan" or Thomasians for the Church and the Country is a socio-civic activity that would start on January 2010.[15] The Quadricentennial's "centerpiece project", according to the Rector Rev. Fr. Rolando De La Rosa, O.P., aims for UST to adopt some 400 villages with the help of non-governmental organization Gawad Kalinga.

Lumina Pandit UST's rare book collections and historic documents will shown to the public through an exhibition in Miguel de Benavides Library. Lumina Pandit is a Latin phrase that means spreading the light. The exhibit will showcase "Doctrina Christiana," the first book published in the Philippines. Other books and documents that will be shown include a rare copy of Copernicus' book and academic records of UST alumni such as those of national heroes José Rizal and Apolinario Mabini; four Philippine presidents; six Supreme Court chief justices; and other significant alumni.


(PHOTO) Grand Living Rosary NEWS REPORT FROM GMANEWS TV - MANILA, Philippines - (UPDATED) UST's 'Grand Living Rosary' draws 24,000 people abs-cbnNEWS.com Posted at 12/09/2010 1:49 AM | Updated as of 12/09/2010 11:04 AM: An estimated 24,000 students, faculty and staff of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) participated in the school's Grand Living Rosary event that commemorated the feast day of the Immaculate Conception. The participants formed the human rosary circling the UST campus.

The participants congregated along Arellano Drive, Ceferino Gonzales Drive, Osmeña Drive, A. Albert Drive, Quezon Drive, Leon Ma. Guerrero Drive and Araullo Drive, and within Plaza Mayor and Plaza Intramuros inside the university's campus on España Boulevard, Maila.

People assigned as the Hail Mary beads wore yellow shirts, while those tasked to represent Our Father beads, the Cross, and the Center Medal donned blue shirts. Those who were part of the connecting chains of the living rosary, meanwhile, wore white shirts. The participants also formed the phrase "Ave Maria."

A mass was held at the UST Plaza Mayor in front of the Main Building after the human rosary event. Organizers initially estimated an attendance count of 20,000. They are now looking at the possibility of submitting the event to the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest human rosary in the world. "Having been named 'Colegio de Nuestra Señora del Santisimo Rosario' at the time of its inception, the University of Santo Tomas has had a long history of devotion to Our Lady of the Rosary, patroness of the Dominican Order," the Facebook page of the event read.

"This grand Marian event, while at the same time an attempt to a Guinness world record of the largest human rosary, is intended to be a statement of UST's unchanging love and devotion to the Mother of God," the organizers added. Initially set on October 7 for the Feast of the Holy Rosary, the event was moved to December 8 due to unpredictable weather. The activity is part of the ongoing countdown to the 400th anniversary of the university next year. UST's quadricentennial celebrations will start in January. - With a report from Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News.

(PHOTO) International recognition Holy See's recognition: UST being a pontifical university, Pope Benedict XVI was invited but cannot grace the occasions by being physically present in the University. Instead, a special envoy would be sent for the celebrations.

Nevertheless, the pope declared a Jubilee year form January 2011 until January 2012 coinciding the University's quadricentennary. Although not physically present in UST, the holy father will deliver a recorded video on January 28, feast day of St. Thomas Aquinas. On this day, a thanksgiving mass will be held. No UST officials were sent to Vatican City as the Vatican Press Office volunteered to record the said papal greeting.

In December 2010, the Roman Catholic Church's Apostolic Penitentiary allowed in a decree Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales to bestow a Papal Blessing carrying a Plenary Indulgence in the Jubilee Mass held on January 24, 2011.

Upon the request of Rector Magnificus Fr. Rolando dela Rosa, O.P., a separate decree granted plenary indulgence to “all those who piously join the sacred rites, ceremonies, and activities in celebration of the Jubilee at the University of Santo Tomas”.

(PHOTO) Visit of Spain's Royal Crown The King of Spain Juan Carlos I has also been invited.

UNESCO Exhibit ICUSTA Conference

Thomasian Global Trade Expo The three-day event will be led by Thomasian tycoons such as Jollibee Foods Corp. president Tony Caktiong, and Mercury Drug president Vivian Que-Ascona in July 2010.

Commemoration and memorabilias Commemorative bills and medals: Unveiled before the press conference held on January 21, 2011, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) will issue commemorative 200-peso bills with the UST Quadricentennial logo overprinted on it. BSP is set to release two-billion-peso worth of these 200-peso bills - in general circulation and legal tender. In addition, the central bank will also release 400 copies of uncut two-piece 200-peso bills (amounting to PHP 400.00).

Aside from the peso notes, BSP will issue commemorative gold and silver medals featuring the image of Msgr. Miguel de Benavides, O.P., the University's founder.

(PHOTO) Commemorative stamps Named Unending Grace stamps, Philippine Postal Corp. issues four commemorative stamps with 7-peso denomination. The designs featured were:

UST Main Building Central Seminary Arch of the Centuries The Foundation of the University of Santo Tomas painting The PhilPost will produce 100,000 pieces of these stamps. 10,200 copies of souvenir sheets worth Php 37.00 each will also the issued.

2011 Thomasian Planner UST Quadricentennial Watch by SwatchThe Swiss company, Swatch, produces four different designer watches to commemorate the University's 400th jubilee year. The watches were named: The Thomasian Dominican Duo;P White Dominican Duo; Black Quadricentennial Swatch

For a schedule of anniversary events, visit www.ust400.com or call 7409727.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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