(Art by Mariane Jayne A. Cadiz/ The Varsitarian)


UST RECTOR Magnificus Fr. Herminio Dagohoy, O.P. bowed out of office in the spirit of gratitude to the Thomasian community, bidding farewell to administrators in a testimonial luncheon last Jan. 15 that marked the end of his two- term tenure as the 96th rector of the Pontifical University. 

“I have said a lot in the past eight years [but] allow me to just repeat the words of St. Paul: ‘I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy,’” Dagohoy told University officials at the Dr. Robert C. Sy Grand Ballroom of the Buenaventura Garcia Paredes, O.P. Building.

“It’s an honor to serve the Asia’s oldest university. Also it’s a privilege and honor to meet wonderful people like you throughout the years… I remember, we were once told that as missionaries, we have to always remember three things: to say hello, love and say goodbye. We come, we build and leave,” he said.

“Please, also pray for me and remember me with gladness,” he added.

Dagohoy, 55, a certified public accountant who found his priestly vocation in the Dominican Order, served as internal auditor and director of finance and administration of UST Hospital before being named UST Rector in June 2012. 

He was rector of Angelicum College in Quezon City and prior of the Convent of Santo Domingo, also in Quezon City, and the Priory of St. Thomas Aquinas in UST. He was the youngest to become convent prior of Santo Domingo. 

Under his rectorship, UST was able to survive the difficult transition to the post-K to 12 educational system with the opening of the UST Senior High School in 2016. 

He oversaw the construction of three new important structures: the Central Laboratory Building, the expanded UST Hospital and the Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati Building on España Boulevard that now houses the Senior High School. 

Apart from the Senior High School, two other academic units were established: the Institute of Information and Computing Sciences (2014) and the Graduate School of Law (2017). 

Dagohoy broke ground on two future campuses — Santa Rosa in Laguna and General Santos City in Mindanao, and led the revamp of the Dominican educational system that saw the Angelicum schools in Quezon City and Iloilo and Aquinas University in Legazpi City subsumed under the UST educational tradition. 

It was also under Dagohoy’s rectorship when the University hosted Pope Francis’s visit in 2015. 

The Filipino Dominican province took over UST in 2014, after centuries under the Spanish Dominicans, under new statutes approved by the Vatican. 

Vice Rector Fr. Richard Ang, O.P. assumed the post of acting rector. 

New programs 

Dagohoy’s administration also saw an academic expansion that sustained UST’s position as the top private university in the Philippines, having the most number of accredited programs. 

These efforts culminated in UST becoming only the second Philippine university and the eighth in the region to get an institutional certification from the Asean University Network. 

The Faculty of Arts and Letters offered the Creative Writing program while the Alfredo M. Velayo College of Accountancy offered the Information Systems program. 

The College of Science added three major tracks – medical biology, industrial biology and environmental biology under its Biology program. 

The Institute of Information and Computing Science offered Game Development and Data Science, Business Analytics, Service Management, Network Security, IT Automation and Web and Mobile Development. 

The College of Tourism and Hospitality Management offered new tracks and specializations in culinary entrepreneurship, hospitality leadership, travel operations, service management and recreation and leisure management. 

The Graduate School opened doctorate programs in medical technology, architecture and music with concentration in performance. It also offered masters programs in electronics engineering with the strands of instrumentation and control, microelectronics and communications.

K to 12 transition 

Dagohoy also had to deal with the painful transition in the higher education system following the adoption of the K to 12 basic education scheme in 2016, during which the University offered only 22 programs out of 53 existing programs because of the minimal number of college enrollees. 

The newly built Blessed Buenaventura Garcia Paredes, O.P. building housed the first batch of senior high school stu- dents to plug the decline in college enrollees. 

Documents from the Securities and Exchange Commission, obtained by the Varsitarian, showed that UST spent some P4 billion for the expansion of the hospital, the new Frassati Building and the Sta. Rosa Laguna and General Santos campuses. 


When Dagohoy stepped into office, he urged professors to engage more in research to “resurrect” the University’s research status. 

From an initial two research clusters, there are now five research centers and one research unit, namely: Research Center for Natural and Applied Sciences (RCNAS), Research Center for Culture, Arts, and the Humanities (RCCAH), Research Center for Social Sciences and Education (RCSSEd), Research Center for Health Sciences (RCHS), Center for Religious Studies and Ethics (CRSE) and the Center for Health Research and Movement Science (CHRMS). 

Under Dagohoy, the University opened multiple interdisciplinary journals: the Asian Journal of English Language Studies (2013), Hasaan, an interdisciplinary research journal on Filipino under the Department of Filipino (2014), The Antoninus Journal of the Graduate School (2015) and Journal of Social Health and Journal of Medicine UST (2017). 

Existing journals Kritike of the Department of Philosophy, Acta Manilana of the RCNAS and Philippiniana Sacra of the Ecclesiastical Faculties received category of A-2 status from the Commission on Higher Education, a recognition that they are of “reputable and of international caliber.” 

In the years 2017 and 2018, UST spent P91 million and P116 million in research, according to publicly available documents. 

Although the University enjoys international recognition, Prof. Jove Jim Aguas of philosophy said UST needed to “develop from the ground up.” 

In 2014, the University received a four-star rating from London-based consultancy Quacquarelli Symonds (QS). 

Labor issues 

Dagohoy’s tenure was somewhat marred by disputes in the UST Faculty Union and complaints from some UST Hospital employees of poor working conditions, who had threatened to strike. 

In a 2018 report by the Varsitarian, Dagohoy promised to look into the situations of some non-regular employees, “as a matter of social justice.” 

Melody Campilla of Serman agency, who has been operating an elevator at the UST Main Building for 32 years, said that despite the plight of contractual employees, she was grateful for Dagohoy’s generosity. 

“Ang pinagpapasalamat ko lang kay Father na-grant ‘yong hinihingi ko na maka-discount ang anak na nag-aaral dito sa Commerce,” she said. 

Dagohoy was installed as rector in June 4, 2012 and was re-appointed on May 27, 2016. 

Before his re-election in 2016, Dagohoy told the Varsitarian that he preferred to be sent to Dominican missions after years in administrative posts. Joenner Paulo L. Enriquez, Camille M. Marcelo and Nuel Angelo D. Sabate


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