UST Rector Fr. Richard Ang, O.P. delivers his homily during the Welcome Mass for Thomasian freshmen on Saturday, Aug. 5, at the Quadricentennial Pavilion. (Photo by Jeremy R. Edera/ The Varsitarian)

UST Rector Fr. Richard Ang, O.P. on Saturday called on Thomasian freshmen to pursue both happiness and education during the newly opened Academic Year 2023-2024, which he said would finally allow students to concentrate on their studies unburdened by Covid-19 concerns.

During the Thomasian Welcome Mass, Ang reflected on the disruptions to education during the pandemic and expressed optimism that the end of the global health emergency would enable Thomasians to resume their academic pursuits.

“Though this academic year is a new beginning, you are not actually starting on a clean slate because whatever you’ve learned in the previous endeavors will definitely be carried over and enhanced in your respective faculties, colleges, and institutes,” Ang said in his homily. 

“Congratulations on making the decision to carry on. You stand at a historic crossroads of your life with this coming of age,” he added.

Ang encouraged the freshmen to discover a deeper meaning in their educational journey, which he said should extend beyond mere qualifications and professional goals.

“There is a greater cause in pursuing higher education. It is not all about your career, it is not all about your personal salvation. It is not all about yourself. Pursuing higher education comes with social responsibility,” Ang said. 

“Self-transformation will only have meaning when it involves the intention or prospect of raising the quality of people’s lives,” he added.

Addressing the welcome activities’ morning batch, consisting of 4,769 first-year students, Ang said that despite the diversity and heterogeneity within the Thomasian community, a cohesive identity unites Thomasians.

“Our student population is a cross-section of our society, comparable to the image of the dragnet, catching all types of fish from the sea,” he said. “In this campus, nobody is too rich and too elite so as not to experience the simple joys of life. And in this campus, nobody is too depraved and too poor to not have access to quality education.”

According to Ang, this identity is founded not only on the University’s historical legacy but also on its commitment to being “timeless and timely, traditional yet progressive, centuries-old but enduringly youthful.”

“After all, mileage is equally important as age. So dear freshmen, consider 2023 as your mileage. It is a defining moment in your life because you have within your reach your power to unlock all your potential,” the Rector said. 

More than 12,000 newly minted Thomasians split into two batches were welcomed to the University during the two-batch onboarding activities at the Quadricentennial Pavilion.

“You will be fine, I am very sure, for there is no better time in the pursuit of education and happiness than now. Go, therefore, Thomasian freshmen; enjoy university life, be happy, and make the most out of it,” Ang said. 

The Thomasian Welcome Mass was followed by the “ROARientation” and the Welcome Walk, where the first-year students entered the Arch of the Centuries, the portal of the original UST campus in Intramuros that was transferred piece by piece to Sampaloc after World War II. 

The Thomasian Welcome Party, set at 6:30 p.m, will conclude the Aug. 5 welcome rites. Ernest Martin Tuazon with reports from Fernando Pierre Marcel B. de la Cruz and Hannah Joyce V. Andaya


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.