Regalado Trota-Jose, archivist of the University, presents some of UST's archival documents in the 145th Discurso de Apertura. Photo by Jilson Seckler C. Tiu

June 6, 6:58 p.m. – JOSE RIZAL’S grades in UST weren’t so bad as some historians claim, and the proof is in the University archives.

In a departure from the usual academic themes, this year’s ‘Discurso de Apertura,’ the 145-year-old tradition of opening the academic year with a scholarly lecture, went back in time and discussed the major episodes in UST history as gleaned from the University archives.

“The archives continues to accumulate files, yearbooks, and documents, so like ‘FB’ (Facebook), it is continually updated,” said UST archivist Regalado Trota-Jose. The lecture was titled “Facebook Flashback: The Archives and the Story of the University,” timed for the University Quadricentennial and the 150th anniversary of Jose Rizal’s birth.

The lecture, which followed the Mass of the Holy Spirit at the Santisimo Rosario Chapel this morning, was divided into four sections, with details based on the work of historian and former University archivist Fr. Fidel Villarroel, O.P.

In the first section titled “Indio Students in the 1770’s,” Jose gave a glimpse of the names and racial profiles of students at the time, while in the second part, he recalled the bestowal of the title “Royal” to the University by King Charles III of Spain on March 7, 1785.

The national hero’s notable grades during his years of study in UST were presented in the third section, “Rizal’s grades in UST,” which included Villarroel’s “seven pointers” negating claims Jose Rizal was discriminated against in the University.

Historians often compare Rizal’s grades in UST and Ateneo de Manila, but the national hero studied today’s equivalent of high school in the latter, while he took up medicine in UST. Rizal had a record of “excellent” in the Ateneo (along with many others), and “good” in UST.

There were 24 students in Rizal’s first-year medicine class, records showed. On the fourth year, only seven remained, including Rizal, with the Spaniards in the class dropping out. Rizal meanwhile was among the few given the rare dispensation to take pre-medicine and first-year medicine at the same time, having decided at the last minute to shift from law.

The last section, titled “The University Church” discussed the history of the old gymnasium and chapel — two of the oldest buildings constructed in the Sampaloc campus. Rafael L. Antonio and Bernadette D. Nicolas



This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.