Students participate in the Welcome Walk for UST freshmen on Saturday, Aug. 5. (Photo by Josh Nikkolai S. Bravo/ The Varsitarian)

MORE THAN 12,000 freshmen commenced their Thomasian journey by walking through the Arch of the Centuries in a customary rite of passage on Aug. 4 and 5.

On Saturday, some 9,450 freshmen from undergraduate and graduate programs participated in the Thomasian Welcome Mass, “ROARientation,” and the Thomasian Welcome Walk, while basic education freshmen attended the “Alab 2023” Welcome Walk and Mass on Friday.

During Saturday’s Welcome Mass, UST Rector Fr. Richard Ang, O.P., encouraged freshmen to embrace their Thomasian identity as they embark on their journey at UST.

“The University is indeed blessed that you have become part of the Thomasian family, but do not ever forget that in becoming Thomasians, you become part of the greater blessing,” Ang said.

“For more than four centuries of our University’s glorious past that produced heroes and saints through God’s unending grace, I invite you now to make this University your home,” he added.

This academic year, the Faculty of Arts and Letters had the highest number of freshmen among UST academic units, at 1,160 students.

It was followed by the Faculty of Engineering with 980 first-year students and the Faculty of Pharmacy with 900 freshmen.

Here are the figures for other academic units:

  • Conservatory of Music – 90
  • College of Nursing – 160
  • College of Rehabilitation Sciences – 315
  • College of Fine Arts and Design – 490 
  • AMV – College of Accountancy – 522 
  • College of Information and Computing Sciences – 560
  • Faculty of Medicine and Surgery – 572
  • College of Science – 805
  • College of Commerce – 770
  • College of Tourism and Hospitality Management – 480
  • Faculty of Architecture – 450
  • College of Education – 400
  • Graduate School – 320
  • Faculty of Civil Law – 250
  • Institute of Physical Education and Athletics – 130
  • Ecclesiastical Faculties – 120
  • Graduate School of Law – 20

Freshmen ‘ecstatic’ despite rescheduled rites

The welcome rites were rescheduled from the original date of Aug. 3 due to bad weather.

Still first-year students expressed their excitement as they entered the Arch of the Centuries, which served as the portal of the original UST campus in Intramuros.

“When I walked through the arch, I felt ecstatic because it’s one of the things that I anticipated the most when I entered UST,” Nursing freshman Joclemn Palarca said. 

Job Centeno, a freshman in the Communication program, experienced the Welcome Walk twice during his high-school years, but said passing through the arch this year was a unique experience.

“The feeling was different this time because I’ve seen myself grow in the University…it felt fulfilling,” he said.

This year signifies the first academic year following the World Health Organization’s declaration of the end of the Covid-19 public health emergency.

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.

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

A University Mass in honor of St. Dominic de Guzman will be celebrated on Aug. 7 to cap the onboarding season for Academic Year 2023-2024.

Regular classes will begin on Aug. 9. with reports from Mabel Anne Cardinez, Mikhail Orozco and Ernest Martin Tuazon


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