By Miko L. Morelos
UST RECTOR Fr. Tamerlane Lana, O.P. led the Thomasian community in laying the markers and blessing the University’s 40-hectare Sta. Rosa campus last April 19. Through the new campus, UST, Asia’s oldest University, hopes to make a “global impact” in time for its quadricentennial in 2011, the Rector said.
“This is all part of the UST dream for 2011. An internationally recognized University aimed to give the best quality of education while providing means for evangelization, social and economic development, moral uplifting, and understanding other religions through dialogues,” Lana said in an earlier interview with the Varsitarian.
The Sta. Rosa campus will also decongest the España campus as the Faculties of Medicine and Surgery and Pharmacy will be relocated there.
UST also plans to set up satellite campuses in General Santos City and Sri Lanka. The General Santos campus will focus on research while enhancing the modern fishery infrastructure of the city, dubbed as the tuna capital of Asia. Meanwhile, the Sri Lanka campus will boost interfaith dialogue between Catholics, Buddhists, and Moslems.
Vice-Rector for Finance Fr. Melchor Saria, O.P. said the University is eager to start the construction of the satellite campus because Sta. Rosa will be developed into an industrial and educational hub.
“We would like to start at the earliest possible time,” Saria said. “The opportunity is there. The market and the community are waiting for us. Developments are moving fast. I think the train system will pass through this area going to Calamba. Sta. Rosa will be the major drop-off point from Tutuban.”
Saria added that other Metro Manila-based universities and schools such as De La Salle University, Ateneo Graduate School of Business, Don Bosco, St. Scholastica’s College, and Brent International School have established branches in Sta. Rosa.
Not yet final
But the master plan of the Sta. Rosa campus has yet to be approved by the board of trustees.
“We are still making some adjustments with the figures and talking it over with the Board of Trustees,” Saria said.
During the Alumni Homecoming press briefing last April 4 at the Manila Hotel, Council of Alumni Presidents chair and Architecture Alumni Association president Felino Palafox Jr. envisioned the Sta. Rosa campus as a school in a “park-like setting.”
Aside from the buildings for classrooms and laboratories, the campus will also have dormitories for students and a fitness center, among other facilities.
“We just have to source out a great amount of funds.” Saria said. “We are also looking into partnerships with foreign universities. What we would like to see here is that we start here big and make a global impact.”
The UST-Sta. Rosa campus is only the second expansion effort of the University in its 395-year history. The University first expanded its facilities in the early part of the 20th century, from the walls of its Intramuros campus to the bigger, wider Sulucan campus, its present site.
UST expands: 100 years before
But lack of funds may hinder the development of the satellite campus, as what happened in 1911, when the University transferred from within the walls of Intramuros to the bigger, wider Sulucan campus, its present site. It was only in 1921 that the construction of the Main Bldg. began with Faculty of Engineering Dean Fr. Roque Ruaño, O.P. heading the project.
But the site blessing of the Sta. Rosa campus last April 19 was austere compared to the blessing in 1911, which coincided with the tricentennial anniversary of the University.
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