UST Rector Fr. Richard Ang, O.P. delivers his first Rector’s Report on Thursday, Sept. 8, at the Dr. Robert C. Sy Grand Ballroom, Paredes Building. (Photo from the UST livestream)

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought out the best in the University and the Thomasian community, UST Rector Fr. Richard Ang, O.P. said in his first Rector’s Report on Thursday.

In his report covering the period of January 2020 to July 2021, Ang said the pandemic became a defining moment for the Thomasian community in helping each other.

“The pandemic taught us the value of what it means to be a Thomasian community. We are a community that looks out for the welfare of each other during a time of great uncertainty,” Ang said.

“More than the time of hopelessness, the pandemic is a defining moment that brought out the best in us. It is a time that brought Thomasians closer to one another and closest to God,” the Rector added.

Ang said the pandemic also allowed the University to exercise the Thomasian core value of compassion.

“No employee was laid off for reason of the pandemic. Instead, the University gave pandemic assistance to employees, even janitors,” he said.

“We accompanied our students in their struggles both in their academic and personal lives, and as we brave each passing day, we learned the value of meaningful connections with fellow members of the Thomasian community,” he added. 

Ang said how UST continued to operate amid the pandemic was a manifestation of its will to survive.

In its history, UST has only totally closed down twice: during the Philippine revolution in 1898 and during World War 2 in 1942, during which it became an internment camp.

“We did not experience complete campus closure during the pandemic,” Ang said. “We were made to experience this once-in-a-generation global health crisis for a reason: we were meant to survive, we were meant, to quote the Varsitarian, to rise above the rut of this pandemic.”

RELATED: Installed as 97th Rector, Ang lays down ‘Vision 2024’ to lead UST out of pandemic rut

In his report, Ang presented nine “strategic directional areas” his administration prioritized: leadership and governance; Thomasian identity; teaching and learning; research and innovation; resource management; public presence; community development and advocacy; student welfare and support; and internationalization.

As he ended his report, Ang became emotional in recalling how the pandemic adversely affected Thomasians.

“For the past two years, we lost more than 50 of our faculty and staff and how we miss them because they contributed so much to the life of this University,” Ang tearfully said.

But the University was able to move forward, thanks to “love’s labor,” Ang said.

“How did the University get through the crucial first 18 months of the pandemic? Responding to the challenges of the time required not only loads of brain work, but it is essentially love’s labor,” he said.

“Never have I seen this University so strong and so united in the face of adversity, and may God be our beacon and strength in the coming days and in all the days of our lives,” he added.

Ang was named the 97th Rector of UST in May 2020, but due to the pandemic, his installation took place a year later on May 13, 2021.

Classes from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday were suspended to give way for the Rector’s Report.


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