Delivering his third Rector’s Report to the Thomasian community, Father De la Rosa lauded Thomasians for dominating various state licensure examinations in the country. Photo by Jilson Seckler C. TiuTHOMASIANS have more reason to be proud as UST nears its Quadricentennial—the country’s oldest University has become one of the largest contributors to the country’s educated workforce.

Referring to the University’s consistent domination of state licensure examinations, Rector Fr. Rolando de la Rosa, O.P., said UST’s greatest contribution to nation-building “is the fact that it is the biggest producer of competent professionals in the country.”

In his yearly report to the Thomasian community, the Rector noted that UST alumni “manifest to the highest degree how our University is helping move the nation towards economic, political, social, and moral progress.” UST graduates also aid the economy through their skills, professionalism, and work ethic, he added.

“The 6,086 fresh graduates of the University, as compared to the 3,813 of the University of the Philippines-Diliman, have proven to have forged a fruitful marriage between number and quality, as the University manages to obtain the highest passing rates in board examinations,” De la Rosa said in the annual Rector’s Report at the Medicine Auditorium last September 8.

The Rector said the inscription “gateway to the history of the finest breed of Filipinos,” found on the Arch of the Centuries, is a fitting description for a landmark that serves as “the gateway [through] which Thomasians for four centuries have passed, coming in as hopeful students and coming out as among the finest breed of Filipinos.”

De la Rosa also highlighted the University’s commitment to “ameliorate the sorry plight of our countrymen,” citing the public’s continued patronage of UST Hospital because of “excellent” medical care provided by UST physicians.

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UST’s outreach programs are also recognized for their “holistic approach to development.”

He cited a woman from the Aeta tribe in Pampanga, who testified in last year’s report on how the University has alleviated their “oppressive” situation by helping them become literate and self-employed.

Meanwhile, the promotion of the family as society’s most important unit remains as one of the strongest advocacies of UST, amid recent movements aimed at “eroding its importance and value.”

“At the forefront of the pro-life movement in the Philippines are Thomasian doctors. Moreover, family-oriented organizations count among their most dynamic leaders Thomasian alumni and faculty members,” De la Rosa said.

Professors

De la Rosa said the faculty members’ contributions to the University are immeasurable, adding they are the ultimate “determinants of quality education.”

He said strict compliance with the Commission on Higher Education’s memorandum requiring all college professors to at least have a master’s degree helped 23 faculty members acquire master’s degrees while four others got their doctorates, from the period June 1, 2009 to May 31, 2010.

De la Rosa lamented that some professors saw it as a “form of imposition.”

“Most of our faculty members are aggressively pursuing this [post-graduate degree], although a few consider this more as an imposition rather than as an aid to their professional growth,” De la Rosa said.

The Rector said he hoped the provisions of the next collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with the faculty “would not promote mediocrity.”

A provision in the 2006-2011 CBA states that a professor without a master’s degree can attain tenureship after five semesters. Three Fine Arts teachers dismissed for refusing to sign a waiver of their rights to tenure because of lack of MA’s have sued UST for illegal dismissal.

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From ‘400 villages’ to ‘400 communities’

Last year, the Rector committed to build 400 villages for the poor nationwide as UST marks its 400th year. But now, the project has been replaced by a new program called “Simbahayan 400: Tomasino Para sa Simbahan, Tahanan, at Bayan.”

Touted as the “centerpiece project” of the University’s Quadricentennial celebration, “Simbahayan” aims to rehabilitate at least 400 communities with the aid of alumni.

Simbahayan project head Marielyn Quintana had said even communities in the Visayas and Mindanao would benefit from the project, which started in Cagayan last August.

As in previous years, the event was punctuated by intermission numbers and testimonials. Several VIPs were in attendance, including Roberto Mayorga, ambassador of Chile; Donald C.T. Lee, representative of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office; and Agnes Nyamande-Pitso, ambassador of South Africa who joined the UST Singers in a chorus of the song “Circle of Life.”

Mayorga thanked UST for its contribution to the preservation of the “Spanish legacy” in the country, and its continued partnership with other universities in Spanish-speaking countries.

Lee, meanwhile, vowed to help put up a Chinese language center in UST.

Tuguegarao Bishop Ricardo Baccay congratulated the University on the eve of its 400th year. News Team

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