The UST-Dr. Tony Tan Caktiong Innovation Center, the first building erected on the Santa Rosa campus, is inaugurated on April 29, 2023. (Photo by Josh Nikkolai Bravo/ The Varsitarian)

SANTA ROSA, Laguna — Marking its 412th founding anniversary on Friday, UST formally inaugurated the UST-Dr. Tony Tan Caktiong Innovation Center, the first building erected on the Santa Rosa campus. 

The building, named after its donor, Jollibee Group chairman and founder Tony Tan Caktiong, is the first completed structure outside UST’s Sampaloc campus.

“This innovation center is a confluence of many of the things I have learned in life. For one, I am very thrilled of how this center perfectly aligns with my ardent belief in the incessant thirst for continuous learning and dreaming big,” Tan Caktiong, a UST Faculty of Engineering alumnus, said in his message.

The three-story mixed-use building will house innovation and prototyping centers, food innovation and product development hubs, laboratories, leasable office spaces for start-up businesses, huddle and conference rooms, and co-working spaces.

It will also be an annex of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST)-TomasINNO Center, a technology business incubator launched in the Sampaloc campus in 2019.

“We have an opportunity to help nurture the next generation of leaders, thinkers, and entrepreneurs, and in so doing, also contribute to shaping the future of our country,” Tan Caktiong said. 

“This center can serve as a catalyst for promoting innovation that fosters connection, empathy, and compassion, and I’m very excited to see the impact it can have on many people’s lives and well-being,” he said.

UST Rector Fr. Richard Ang, O.P. said the UST-Dr. Tony Tan Caktiong Innovation Center was part of a “greater development plan” for the Santa Rosa campus.

“[It] will be a place where researchers, innovators, and entrepreneurs can exchange ideas, share knowledge, and work together toward a common goal: creating a better future,” the Rector said in his remarks. 

Facilities Management Office (FMO) Director Fr. Dexter Austria, O.P., said the innovation center could start operations in August, the opening of the new academic year. 

“We’re hoping that this campus becomes as it is envisioned: a research complex, a visible testament of UST’s indomitable pursuit of making research a cornerstone element, a building block in the field of education,” Austria said. 

“UST Santa Rosa campus is no longer a product of imagination—it is now real and we are here to stay,” he added.

Austria told the Varsitarian that three additional structures in UST Santa Rosa were in the design phase and were being discussed with benefactors.

The innovation center, designed by Casas+ Architects and built by Mundo Builders Inc., cost more than P100 million, FMO Asst. Director Albert Surla earlier said.

Also present at the event were UST Vice Chancellor Fr. Filemon de la Cruz, O.P., UST Secretary General Fr. Louie Coronel, O.P., and other top UST officials and academic unit heads, as well as Tan Caktiong’s family, friends, and colleagues.

Construction of the UST Santa Rosa campus began in 2017. The innovation center broke ground in December 2020.


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