UST RECTOR Fr. Richard Ang, O.P. on Friday debunked the University urban legend that claims prematurely exiting the Arch of the Centuries before graduation would lead to a student’s debarment.

In 2002, UST began the Welcome Walk tradition, with freshmen passing through the historic Arch of the Centuries from the direction of the España Boulevard in a symbolic Thomasian rite of passage.

The passage through the arch is considered the freshmen’s “welcome to UST” moment, and according to the urban legend, students should not exit the arch until their Baccalaureate Mass—or else they would get debarred.

Debarment is the non-readmission of a student because of academic deficiencies, according to the Student Handbook.

“Hindi po totoo ‘yun,” Ang said in his homily during the 2022 Baccalaureate Mass at the UST Grandstand and Open Field on June 3.

“Noong ako’y estudyante pa sa Faculty of Arts and Letters, kami ng mga classmates ko madalas kaming dumaan diyan,” he continued.

Ang graduated from the Faculty of Arts and Letters in 1990 with a degree in philosophy and finished sacred theology at the Faculty of Sacred Theology in 1997. He was ordained to priesthood in 1998.

Ang earned his master of arts in theology in 1999 and doctor of philosophy in 2010.

As he ended his homily, Ang thanked the students of Batch 2022 for entrusting their education to UST.

“My heartfelt congratulations to all the graduates. Mahal kayo ng University of Santo Tomas. Sana the feeling is mutual,” he said.

During the Baccalaureate Mass, Ang also told students to bypass a taboo and sign each other’s uniforms—a custom specifically prohibited by some academic units prior to the event.

“Tell your classmates what you want to tell them before you go your separate ways. Sige na, sulatan ninyo ng pentel pen ang kanilang mga uniporme,” Ang said.

“Ilagay niyo ang magandang dedikasyon. At kung pwede, lakihan ang inyong mga signatures para hindi [nila] makalimutan ang inyong mga pangalan,” the Rector added.

The Baccalaureate Mass for Batch 2022 was the first of its kind to be held onsite since Ang was installed UST Rector. Justin Benedict T. Lim


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