DEAN Emeritus Magdalena Alonso-Villaba, a former dean of the Faculty of Arts and Letters and the UST Graduate School, died on Sept. 11 due to pneumonia. She was 95. 

Her death was confirmed to the Varsitarian by her granddaughter, Teta. 

“[She was] inspirational because of her poise even in difficult circumstances,” the late dean’s granddaughter said.

Villaba obtained her bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University in 1957 and her master’s in philosophy in 1968. 

She completed her doctorate and graduated magna cum laude in 1976, with her dissertation “An Interpretation of the Doctrine of Transmigration” being published in Philippiniana Sacra, the official journal of the UST Ecclesiastical Faculties.

Villaba, who specialized in eastern philosophy, began teaching at UST in 1958, when there were only three female faculty members in her department. 

She began holding administrative posts in 1972 when she served as Artlets assistant dean. 

Villaba then became the Artlets dean from 1976 to 1987, the longest term held by a dean of the UST liberal arts faculty. 

During her time in Artlets, she designed the royal blue lambda in between the collars of female students’ uniforms.

Villaba served as dean of the UST Graduate School from 1987 to 1995. She continued teaching graduate students until 2008.

Villaba was conferred the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice award in 1987, the highest recognition given by the Holy See to lay people. 

In a Facebook post, UST remembered Villaba as a “beloved former administrator” and a “respected figure of philosophy.” 

“Being a female philosopher at a time when the field was dominated by males, Dean Villaba was a role model for many students, especially females, to pursue the discipline,” the post read.

Villaba’s wake will be held from Sept. 12 to 16 at St. Martin Chapel in Sto. Domingo Church, Quezon City.

Her remains will be laid to rest on Sept. 17 at La Loma Cemetery. Mikhail S. Orozco


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