FATHER Tamerlane Lana, O.P. ended his rectorship last April 30 in a blaze of praises from University administrators who called his eight-year stewardship of Asia’s oldest university a tough act to follow.

That act will have to be consolidated by the next rector, whose identity will be announced soon by Rome, according to UST Secretary- General Fr. Isidro Abaño, O.P.

Fr. Abaño told the Varsitarian the names of the three nominees for the rectorship were submitted to Dominican Prior Provincial Fr. Edmundo Nantes, O.P. last May 5 for transmittal to the Dominican Curia in Rome. The names of the nominees will be brought by the Dominican Curia to the Vatican Sacred Congregation for Catholic Education, which will appoint the new rector (as a Pontifical University, UST is under the Pope). He said UST may have a new rector soon.

Acting Rector Fr. Rodel Aligan, O.P. said the three nominees are UST Central Seminary Rector Fr. Ernesto Arceo, O.P.; Lana’s predecessor, former UST rector and Commission on Higher Education chairman Fr. Rolando de la Rosa, O.P; and himself.

Fr. Abaño said the three Dominicans were the top three names in the elections conducted by the St. Thomas Aquinas Priory, the UST Academic Senate, and the UST Board of Trustees.

Meanwhile, University officials assessed Fr. Lana’s legacy.

Vice Rector for Academic Affairs Dr. Armando de Jesus told the Varsitarian that “(Lana) was the one instrumental for laying down clearly the goals of the University”.

Fr. Jose Antonio Aureada, O.P., Faculty of Sacred Theology dean and UST Graduate School regent, said the former rector made sure that his plans were realized.

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“Whoever will be Lana’s successor must continue what he had started,” he said.

During Lana’s rectorship, expansion projects were boldly pursued. Last April 19, the site for the UST-Sta. Rosa campus in Laguna was blessed. Plans for UST satellite campuses in General Santos City in Minadanao and in Sri Lanka were also brought to the table.

Also, Lana’s rectorship saw a marked improvement in the faculty profile. When he assumed the position in 1998, only 43 per cent of UST faculty members had post-graduate degrees compared with the 65 per cent at present, according to data gathered by the Varsitarian.

Rector’s report

In his end-of-term report last April 28 at the Thomas Aquinas Research Complex, Lana, whose projects were geared toward UST’s preparations for its quadricentennial celebration in 2011, reviewed the University’s achievements.

During his second four-year term, UST introduced 32 new programs in the graduate and undergraduate levels, while still maintaining its eight Centers of Excellence and seven Centers of Development. Lana said 42 per cent or 36 of the 85 programs in UST had been accredited at varying levels of accrediting bodies.

He also praised the performance of UST graduates in state licensure exams, where the University has an average passing rate of 87 per cent compared with the 47 per cent national passing rate. He added that UST is the best performing private school in licensure examinations.

Lana also led UST and Catholic schools in calling for the ouster of former President Joseph Estrada in 2001 in connection with corruption charges. He also spearheaded the University Belt Consortium’s clamor for the abolition of Reserve Officers’ Training Corps in college, which led Congress to abolish the compulsory nature of the program.

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Infrastructure

Aside from academic and politics achievements, Lana’s second term also saw major infrastructure projects. The Tan Yan-Kee Student Center Bldg. in front of the UST Central Library, and the Alfredo M. Velayo (AMV) Multi-Deck Carpark Bldg., which will house the AMV-College of Accountancy, are due for completion in a few weeks.

The construction of the Alumni Walkway in front of the Main Bldg. and the Alumni Park behind the Main Bldng. is also in progress.

Lana said the University has now converted 73 per cent of its classrooms into multi-media rooms, up from 28 per cent last year. The percentage of Internet-equipped laboratories and audio-visual rooms also rose to 77 per cent from 30 per cent last year. He added that all classrooms in UST are air-conditioned now.

Lana also said the plans for a 400-seater sports gym that will be located beside the AMV Multi-Deck Parking Bldg. and the conversion of UST Gym into a dormitory have been laid down. E.V.D.T. Dura

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