The next rector of the University will be one of its former chief administrators, as a secret ballot by the Dominicans at the Priory of St. Thomas Aquinas has selected three former rectors as the top candidates.

The terna, as determined by the vote held on May 27, consists of former UST rectors Fr. Richard Ang, O.P. (rector from 2020-2024), Fr. Herminio Dagohoy, O.P. (rector from 2012-2016 and 2016-2020), and Fr. Rolando de la Rosa, O.P. (rector from 1990-1994, 1994-1998, and 2008-2012).

Candidates for rector must be Filipino members of the Dominican Order with civil or ecclesiastical doctorates.

According to the University’s general statutes, the Rector, as the chief executive officer of the University, is responsible for the promulgation of laws and rules in the University, the appointment of officials, the annual budget of the University, and the approval of programs and semestral schedules of all faculties, colleges, and schools.

Here are brief biographies of the three candidates for rector:

Fr. Richard Ang, O.P.

Fr. Richard Ang, O.P., is the most recent UST rector, serving from 2020 to 2024.

A UST alumnus, Ang graduated with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the Faculty of Arts and Letters in 1990 and a bachelor’s degree in sacred theology from the Ecclesiastical Faculties in 1997.

He earned a licentiate in sacred theology and a master’s degree in religious studies from the Ecclesiastical Faculties and the Graduate School in 1999, followed by a doctorate in philosophy from the Ecclesiastical Faculties in 2010. He consistently received Latin honors throughout his academic career at UST.

The major achievement of Ang’s term was the opening of new UST campuses: the research-focused UST Santa Rosa and the UST General Santos campus in Mindanao.

During his tenure, the University enhanced its information technology infrastructure. He introduced the “enriched virtual mode” for synchronous and asynchronous classes, which was crucial during the Covid-19 pandemic.

He also led the return to in-person classes and switched the University’s learning management system from Blackboard to Canvas.

Under his leadership, UST inaugurated the College of Information and Computing Sciences.

Ang also prioritized improving research quality. Earlier this month, UST made its debut in the Times Higher Education Asian Rankings, largely due to its strong research performance.

An expert in Eastern Philosophy, Ang served as vice rector under Dagohoy and is also a former dean of the Faculty of Philosophy and secretary of the Ecclesiastical Faculties.

Fr. Herminio Dagohoy, O.P.

Dagohoy, a certified public accountant, served as UST rector for two terms: 2012 to 2016 and from 2016 to 2020.

Before becoming rector, he held the positions of internal auditor and director of finance and administration at UST Hospital.

He also served as rector of UST Angelicum College in Quezon City, prior of the Convent of Santo Domingo in Quezon City, and prior of the Priory of St. Thomas Aquinas at UST.

During his tenure, UST successfully navigated the challenging transition to the post-K to 12 educational system by opening the UST Senior High School in 2016.

He supervised the construction of three major buildings: the Central Laboratory Building, the expanded UST Hospital, and the Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati Building, which now houses the Senior High School.

Additionally, he established two academic units: the Institute of Information and Computing Sciences in 2014 and the Graduate School of Law in 2017.

Dagohoy initiated the development of two future campuses in Santa Rosa, Laguna, and General Santos City, Mindanao, and restructured the Dominican educational system, integrating Angelicum schools in Quezon City and Iloilo and Aquinas University in Legazpi City into the UST educational tradition.

His rectorship also saw UST hosting Pope Francis’s visit in 2015.

In 2014, the Filipino Dominican province assumed control of UST after centuries under Spanish Dominican governance, following new statutes approved by the Vatican.

Fr. Rolando de la Rosa, O.P.

De la Rosa, a former Varsitarian Witness (religion) editor, holds a doctorate in Philosophy in Higher Religious Studies and its ecclesiastical equivalent, Doctor of Sacred Theology.

He served as UST rector for two terms from 1990 to 1998 and returned for a third term in 2007, replacing Fr. Ernesto Arceo, O.P., after an internal dispute over the redevelopment of UST Hospital.

De la Rosa was re-elected as UST rector from 2008 to 2012, earning the title “Quadricentennial Rector” for leading UST during its 400th anniversary celebration in 2012.

De la Rosa had also served as rector of Colegio de San Juan de Letran-Calamba in 2003 and chaired the Commission on Higher Education from 2004 to 2005, cracking down on substandard schools.

As rector, his goals were to enhance the university’s research capabilities and expand outreach programs. He founded the Research and Endowment Foundation Inc. to fund research activities at UST. This foundation helped establish the Thomas Aquinas Research Complex, which now houses various research centers and the Graduate School.

To strengthen the university’s community outreach, he created the Office for Community Development, which later became UST SIMBAHAYAN, the umbrella project for all university outreach initiatives.

During his tenure as rector, he served as president of the Association of Catholic Universities of the Philippines and twice as president of the ICUSTA International Council of Universities of Saint Thomas Aquinas. He was also the founding president of DOMNET (Network of Dominican Schools, Colleges, and Universities in the Philippines) in 1995.

He had held several roles within the Dominican Province of the Philippines, including Master of Novices, Diffinitor of the Provincial Chapter, and Provincial Councilor.

What’s next?

The shortlist of candidates has been sent to UST Vice Chancellor Fr. Filemon de la Cruz, O.P., for approval. He will then pass it to the Academic Senate for further evaluation and ranking.

The ranked list will then be submitted to the Board of Trustees, which includes University vice rectors, the secretary general, and other Dominican friars.

The list will then be endorsed by the Master of the Order and UST Chancellor, Fr. Gerard Francisco Timoner III, O.P., to the Vatican’s Dicastery for Culture and Education.

The dicastery will perform a final review before the Holy See issues the “nihil obstat” declaration, meaning “nothing obstructs.” The name of the top nominee will be sent back to the Master of the Order for the official appointment.

UST rectors serve four-year terms and can be reappointed for one additional term.

While awaiting the appointment of the new rector, Fr. Isaias Tiongco, O.P., is acting as the interim rector.


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