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University of Santo Tomas inaugurates a campus in General Santos City

By Pot Chavez

MANILA – The University of Santo Tomas (UST), headquartered in Manila, officially launched its new 82-hectare campus in General Santos City on Thursday, marking a significant expansion for the institution with a rich history spanning over four centuries.

In his address, UST Rector Fr. Richard Ang, O.P., highlighted the inauguration as a momentous event coinciding with the university’s 413th foundation anniversary celebrations this month.

Founded in 1611, UST holds the distinction of being the oldest university in the Philippines and was bestowed the title of “Catholic University of the Philippines” by Pope Pius XII in 1947.

True to our mission of spreading the light to dispel the darkness of ignorance, we, the University of Santo Tomas as one Dominican and Thomasian family invoking God’s unending grace, now formally open the UST General Santos campus,” Ang said.

He described the opening of a new campus as “an epic narrative, a journey fraught with challenges, triumphs, and a quest for greatness.”

The rector said the structure of the building represents not only bricks and mortars but embodies the university’s rich history, values, and aspirations.

Ang hopes the opening will be a beacon of hope in the region and the country.

He underscored that the campus will be a place for interreligious and interfaith dialogue where both Catholics and Muslims are welcome.

“Our vision for the future is one of continued excellence, innovation, inclusivity, and sustainability. We are committed to providing our students with knowledge, skills, and experiences they need to thrive in our ever-changing world,” he added.

The six-story main building, patterned after the building in the Manila campus known for its cross tower, has arches inspired by Mindanao architecture.

The building houses 24 classrooms, 23 laboratories, a chapel, library, clinic, auditorium, cafeteria, organization rooms, and function halls, among others.

The new campus will open in the next academic year to cater students in health sciences, business and accountancy, and engineering and information technology.

A Eucharistic celebration for the inauguration ceremony was presided over by Bishop Cerilo Alan Casicas from the Diocese of Marbel, and Fr. Filemon dela Cruz Jr., O.P., Prior Provincial of the Dominican Province of the Philippines.

Also present during the ceremonies were General Santos City Mayor Lorelie Pacquiao, Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Regional Director Nelia Alibin, UST Secretary General Fr. Louie Coronel, O.P., facilities chief Fr. Dexter Austria, O.P., and other academic and administrative officials of UST Manila, among others.

Meanwhile, the first-ever mass in the campus was held on Tuesday which was also attended by university officials and employees of the Mindanao campus. (PNA)

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