Prof. Maribel Nonato, the Assistant to the Rector for UST General Santos, delivers the Discurso de Apertura on Friday, Aug. 4, at the Santisimo Rosario Parish Church. (Photo by Jeremy R. Edera/ The Varsitarian)

UST General Santos (GenSan) is set to complete the construction of its main building this year, and according to a top administrator, it will be transformed into an integrated agri-tech campus focused on innovation.

Professor Emerita Maribel Nonato, the assistant to the Rector for UST GenSan, said the Mindanao campus would prioritize innovation in science, agriculture, technology, business, and social science.

“Integrated innovation involves diversity where people of different disciplines with common aspirations come together to cultivate ideas that will generate innovative products, services, and processes, and this new product will improve the quality of lives of the community,” Nonato said during the Discurso de Apertura, the opening lecture of the new academic year, at Santisimo Rosario Parish Church.

“This is the blueprint of UST General Santos City,” she added.

According to Nonato, UST GenSan aims to promote innovation by integrating research into its services.

Nonato said UST GenSan would chart a distinct course from the main campus in Sampaloc, yet remain rooted in the core identity and values of Thomasian education.

During the inaugural lecture, she also listed the initial programs to be offered by UST GenSan:

  • technology;
  • natural and health sciences; 
  • business;
  • social sciences; and
  • humanities.

In her lecture titled “C.A.R.E. in the 21st Century Academic Institution,” Nonato also addressed the challenges faced by modern educational institutions, such as globalization, quality assurance and rankings, and achieving the United Nations’ sustainable development goals.

UST GenSan will be able to withstand these educational challenges by developing a “comprehensive, academic research-oriented enterprise,” Nonato said. 

The assistant to the Rector also said that the University’s expansion to GenSan and Sta. Rosa was proof that UST was “not barren” and had just been waiting to “spread its wings beyond España.”

“I’d like to envision the UST General Santos City branch to be an educational village where all the players work harmoniously with the community, industry, Church, and local government,” Nonato said. 

“The blueprint of the UST General Santos will not be completed without the “care” of several academic and non-academic staff who generously shared their talents and ideas in completing the UST General Santos blueprint,” she added.

Nonato, this year’s lecturer, served as vice rector for research and innovation, and under her term, the University partnered with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to launch the DOST – TOMASInno Center business incubator.

The Discurso de Apertura is a University tradition dating back to 1866, in which an appointed faculty member delivers a lecture to mark the opening of a new academic year. H.J.V. Andaya


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