(Art by Zymon M. Gailo/ The Varsitarian)

How well do you know the history behind the UST block letters?

The UST block letters have been an iconic symbol of the University as well as a popular photo-op spot for Thomasians and non-Thomasians alike for more than a decade.

The letters structure was originally an initiative of the Office for Student Affairs (OSA) back in 2007 as part of Recruitment 101 or R101, the university-wide student organization fair, said Allantheo Hernandez of the UST Communications Bureau in an interview with the Varsitarian.

Hernandez said that the idea behind the UST letters came after OSA staff Thelma Maraña and Arabel Arquiza saw a telecommunications company’s letter structure during a planning retreat in Subic.

“Upon coming back to the office, they showed me the picture and asked me to request it,” said Hernandez, who worked for the OSA at the time.

The concept was then brought to Prof. Rudy Olaso of the College of Fine Arts and Design.

The letters structure was supposed to be made out of clear fiberglass or acrylic so that different colored lights may be put inside, but Olaso suggested to use wood instead due to cost restraints.

“We also said it should be durable so that students may be also safe [to] take pictures [with] it,” Hernandez said. “Noong una gusto talaga maganda pero dahil kulang na sa oras naging simple at matibay na.”

After R101, different student organizations and university offices were borrowing the letters to use as a background for their own events.

In 2009, then Facilities and Management Office (FMO) director Fr. Roberto Pinto, O.P. decided to permanently place the block letters at the Quadricentennial Park in celebration of the University’s quadricentennial.

And as a symbol of UST’s overcoming the Covid-19 pandemic, new block letters were unveiled during the return of face-to-face onboarding activities for freshmen last Aug. 9.

READ: New UST tiger statue, block letters unveiled

Now using the University’s official font, Trajan Pro, the new letters are a “refreshing beginning” according to Hernandez.

“It is refreshing and gives a new beginning,” he said. “ It may not be as bold as the first one, but it will definitely make a big wave on the internet.” Samantha Fatima C. Creencia


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