January 26, 6:30 p.m. — THE THREE-day conference of the International
Council of Universities of St. Thomas Aquinas (Icusta) formally opened
this morning with a Concelebrated Mass at the Santisimo Rosario Parish
led by Joseph Adams, Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines.
President Benigno S. Aquino III delivered a short keynote speech,
announcing that the Commission on Higher Education has ordered a
moratorium on licenses for courses with too many students, such as
In his homily, Adams noted that the four landmarks of the University,
the UST Main Building, the Central Seminary, the Arch of the
Centuries, and the University’s open spaces, had been declared
national treasures, “the first time in this country’s history where an
educational institution received such recognition.”
But the Dominican fathers would have been “happier” if what the
government recognized as a national treasure is the University itself.
“The University of Santo Tomas is a national treasure because its
history coincides with the history of the Catholic Church in this
country,” Adams said.
Thousands of alumni have been pioneers of different professions,
inspiring and leading many movements and organizations, he added.
Adams further outlined reasons which make UST national treasure,
saying that in its 400 years of existence, and despite the countless
man-made and natural calamities that have visited it, “UST has
remained alive” and “energized” by the dedication and devotion of the
By being both old and new, traditional and contemporary, UST is a
“classic,” he said.
A “special kind of education,” Adams said, is also found in the
University where, for the last four centuries, the “Christian message
has been nurtured by studying.”
This offers every generation the opportunity to discover the truth
about life and the whole of history which comes from a disciplined
study guided by faith, he said.
Adams concluded his homily by congratulating all the members of Icusta
for continuing to uphold the ideals of St. Thomas, “the vocation to be
at the forefront of the intellectual formation of people.”
The 10th biennial meeting of Icusta, an international association of
Catholic institutions that adhere to the ideals and teachings of St.
Thomas Aquinas, is being held alongside the Quadricentennial
festivities. The University was chosen to host the conference in 2009
during the Icusta meeting in Ireland, where the Rector, Fr. Rolando de
la Rosa was elected president.
Archbishop Michael Miller of Vancouver; Fr. Bruno Cadore, O.P., Master
General of the Dominican Order; Peadar Cremin, former president of
Icusta and president of the Mary Immaculate College in Ireland; and
Joseph McFadden, executive director of Icusta attended the opening
Meanwhile, the Q Parade, held simultaneously with the Icusta opening,
was joined by 7,200 students and 150 registered alumni.
The parade passed from UST to Morayta and then Recto and Mendiola.
There were five floats, one each representing the four centuries of
the University, and the “Q” float.
The first float represented the first century of the University with a
replica of the statue of the founder, Msgr. Miguel de Benavides, O.P.
The second float showed a model of the Arch of the Centuries. The
third float was designed after the Main Building which was built on
the España campus in the 1920s. The fourth float was patterned after
the UST Central Seminary with the Fountains of Wisdom and Knowledge.
The Q float showcased models of the yet to be unveiled Quattromondial,
the future Martyrs’ Monument, and the Tria Haec, or the statues
representing faith, hope, and love atop the Main Building.
The first to fourth floats carried candidates for this year’s Search
for the Ideal Thomasian Personalities (TSITP) while the Q float
carried reigning Thomasian Personalities, Ms. Earth 2009 Angela
Fernando, businessman Joel Cruz, and alumni who have won beauty
pageant titles. Jilly Anne A. Bulauan with reports from Alexis Ailex
C. Villamor, Jr.
[bg|q_parade|3|140|random|7|#FFF|1|Officials of foreign universities attend three-day meet; UST mounts ‘Q’ parade]