The University unveils its new UST block letters and bengal tiger statue at the Plaza Mayor on Tuesday night. The structures signify UST's survival amid the Covid-19 pandemic and its expansion to Santa Rosa and General Santos. (Photo by Marvin John F. Uy/ The Varsitarian)

A ROARING Thomasian crowd watched as the University “unboxed” its remodeled tiger statue and block letters at the Plaza Mayor to cap the face-to-face onboarding activities for freshmen on Tuesday.

The unboxing of the new structures was accompanied by the UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe’s dance routine of Katy Perry’s “Roar.”

In his message, Facilities Management Office (FMO) Director Fr. Dexter Austria, O.P. said the unveiling of the structures was representative of UST’s overcoming of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The Father Rector (Fr. Richard Ang, O.P.) thought of something to best symbolize our rising over the pandemic, in bringing back our hope to the present and in strengthening our unity as one Thomasian community,” Austria said.

The new tiger statue is that of an 8-foot Bengal tiger designed by Anthony Zamora, a former faculty member of the College of Fine Arts and Design, while the new block letters were modified to the Trajan Pro font.

Austria earlier told the Varsitarian that the new Plaza Mayor mainstays “inaugurate a new era after the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The same features will be put up in UST General Santos (GenSan) and UST Santa Rosa.

“[The redesigned structures also aim] to signal UST’s aggressive expansion to Sta. Rosa and General Santos. You will see that symbolic dynamism in the block letters and tiger statue,” Austria said.

The tiger, which has been UST’s official mascot since 1992, symbolizes Thomasians’ adaptability, Austria said.

“Tigers and Thomasians are very adaptable. Both are able to blend and excel in a given environment,” he said.

Rector tells freshmen: Have strength like a tiger

UST Secretary General Fr. Louie Coronel, O.P. said in his opening message that the block letters represented UST’s “tradition of excellence” that had served as a bridge for generations of Thomasians.

“These letters represent the University’s tradition of excellence for having nurtured saints, martyrs, heroes, leaders in various fields, connecting the past 411 years of existence to the current and future generations of Thomasians despite the many challenges of the pandemic,” he said.

Bal David, the newly minted coach of the UST Growling Tigers, briefly appeared in the unboxing ceremony, pledging his best to lift the basketball team’s standing in the upcoming UAAP season and asking for Thomasians’ support.

“Ang mapa-promise namin, together with my coaching staff, we will put time and extreme effort para makatulong sa Tigers. And we need all the support, okay?” he said.


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