Photo by Paul Allyson R. Quiambao

IT WAS, indeed, a celebration imbued with unending grace. As the Quadricentennial Week came to a close, Thomasians converged on campus to share an evening of feast and cheer in celebration of the 400th birthday of their beloved alma mater. Two gatherings, separated by the Main Building, were held last January 28 for this occasion.

At Plaza Mayor, graduates returned to their second home for a special alumni homecoming titled “One@400,” where they had the chance to relive UST memories and renew their commitment to the values they learned from the university.

Definitions

Versatile performer John Lapus gave the abbreviation ‘UST’ three other meanings, highlighting the encompassing excellence of the University in all fields.

Lapus, a product of the Hotel and Restaurant Management program which is formerly under the College of Education, said UST stands for “Unibersidad ng mga Sobrang Talented” (referring to the many talented entertainers and athletes produced by the school); “Unibersidad ng mga Saksakan ng Talino” (in reference to the consistent domination of UST in various state licensure examinations); and “Unibersidad ng mga Sikat na Tao” (citing National Hero Jose Rizal, four Philippine presidents, and other “world-class Thomasians” who have made a mark in the industries they chose to belong in.

For renowned entrepreneur Joel Cruz, maker of the Aficionado perfume, UST gives meaning to the word discipline, a fact that he would appreciate only after noticing that he was doing the same by implementing strict rules to be followed by the employees of his perfume business.

Cruz, a B.S. Psychology alumnus, added that being a Thomasian made him feel the sense of belongingness when he was just starting out.

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UST in numbers

“One thing is that if you’re a Thomasian, [your fellow Thomasians] have complete trust in you,” he said, pointing out that his business would not have flourished without the help and patronage of his Thomasian friends and classmates, who are now franchisees of Aficionado and Joel Cruz Signatures. “I really thank my parents for sending me here [in UST].”

Spelling success

For Thomasian alumni who have achieved so much in the field of communication, Thomasian education has helped them succeed while keeping their morals intact.

“[UST] gave me the grand foundation for a career that would require people to be hardworking, driven, and competitive in the field that I decided to go into,” said ABS-CBN corporate communications head and former Varsitarian Filipino Editor Ramon “Bong” Osorio, who was a student in the Faculty of Arts and Letters during the period of student activism in the “Quarter Storm Era.”

GMA-7 news anchor and A.B. Journalism alumnus Arnold Clavio added that the University “is a good place for breeding [responsible] journalists.”

“Despite the challenges and temptations in our profession, you will always [find yourself thinking with] your conscience if your foundation is UST,” Clavio, one of the pillars of GMA News, said.

Collective ‘growls’

Meanwhile, behind the Main Building, students came together with their own utensils in a free dining spree aptly called “Quadri Fiesta,” where they shared in free lechon baboy (roasted pork) and fried chicken. These Thomasians were also allowed to run toward the open fountain, where they were free to dance around in jubilation.

For College of Accountancy student John Earl Sese, the dinner made him happy to belong in Asia’s oldest University. “This dinner makes me feel the bond in UST,” he said. “It’s like a family.”

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World meet in UST

Gerard Jacinto from the Conservatory of Music shared the same feeling, saying that “it uplifts my Thomasian spirit.”

“It’s a privilege to be a part of UST because aside from its 400 years, it has shared a lot to 400 generations,” added College of Commerce student Effie Magistrado. “As a student right now, I learn [from what] the previous generations have learned [and accomplished].” Charmaine M. Parado and Rommel Marvin C. Rio with reports from Ana May R. dela Cruz

Photo by Isabela A. Martinez

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