THE MEDIOCRE teacher tells the day’s lesson, the good teacher explains it, the superior teacher demonstrates it. The great teacher does more than deliver the lesson effectively — she inspires.

Greatness is thus ascribed to Carolina U. Garcia, one of UST’s most renowned English and Literature educators such as Paz Latorena, Clemencia Colayco, and Milagros Tanlayco. Through her erudition, effective pedagogy, and maternal solicitude, the late professor inspired several generations of students who have become prominent men and women in education, letters, and other fields including medicine.

To mark her birth centenary this year, UST held the national conference, “Visions and Articulations: The Carolina U. Garcia Centennial Conference on the Teaching of Literature,” last Novermber 18-20.

Organizing the conference were the UST department of Humanities, Literary Society, Faculty of Arts and Letters, Graduate School, and the Varsitarian, where Garcia was Co-ed section editor in 1932.

“She has the mind of a sage, showing mastery not only of knowledge of literature and of related courses, but impairing also insights to human nature and other valuable lessons in life,” wrote poet-teacher Rebecca Añonuevo in her 1995 article, “Maestra of All,” in the Philippine Panorama.

Garcia taught for 60 years in UST. In 1990, UST made her professor emeritus. She died in 1997; she was 88.

But curiously, her journey as a teacher began without a diploma. Despite being only a sophomore taking up B.S. English, she was made to teach Religion and Spanish to high school students.

Garcia continued to teach in UST after graduating summa cum laude in 1932. Even after retiring in 1975, she was made to teach until she refused anymore class load in 1989.

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Many of Garcia’s students remember her fondly as hardworking, passionate about education, and diligent in teaching.

“There was no question about her zealousness,” said Artlets assistant Dean Nancy Tabirara. “All of our papers were always checked and after two meetings, she would have all the papers returned, checked with comments, with grammatical corrections if need be.”

She was a disciplinarian who never lost her grace and composure. Anonuevo said: She put naughty students in line without needing to raise her voice.

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