THE RECTOR is no king but his office has accumulated its own regalia through the years.
One of the highlights of the solemn installation of a new Rector is the bestowal of the Rector’s Collar and two ceremonial maces.
The Rector’s Collar represents the dignity of the rectorship, according to former Secretary General Fr. Florentino Bolo, Jr., O.P., master of ceremonies during the installation rites for the 96th Rector of UST, Fr. Herminio Dagohoy, O.P., last June 4 at the Santisimo Rosario Parish Church.
“The collar signifies the powers of the Vatican and the Philippine Government and it is also symbolic of the supreme teaching authority of the Rector as professor of the University,” he said.
The collar was first used during the installation of the first Filipino rector, Fr. Leonardo Legaspi, O.P., in 1971, said UST Museum Director Fr. Isidro Abaño, O.P.
“The collar was given to him as a gift from the people of his hometown, Bulacan,” he said.
During his inaugural speech, Legaspi said the collar, made of 16 silver seals to represent the 16 faculties and colleges at that time, was an appropriate symbol of his office.
“It is not worn on the head like a crown, to indicate intellectual ascendancy,” Legaspi said. “Rather, it is worn around the neck like a yoke. A yoke denotes a life constantly dedicated to the service of others.”
Temporal and spiritual
Meanwhile, the two maces signify both the temporal academic and spiritual orders over the Office of the Rector.
The maces, made of pure silver, each measure 95 centimeters by 15 centimeters in diameter.
Although the maces have existed since the 17th century, it was only in 1998 when it was used, during the installation ceremonies for Fr. Tamerlane Lana, O.P.
The maces were used in academic processions during the 17th century.
In his book A History of the University of Santo Tomas, former UST Archivist Fr. Fidel Villarroel, O.P. said candidates for doctoral degrees were accompanied by the Rector in a parade called Paseo de los Doctores from Intramuros to Santo Domingo Church, where University commencement exercises were held until the 17th century.
Today, faculty members hold processions at the opening of each academic year and during solemn investitures in academic gowns, following the style of Spanish academic regalia.
The maces, carried by bedeles or macebearers, were included in the parade for their academic symbolism.