By Cliff Harvey C. Venzon
EVERYTHING seems to be in place for the UST Quadricentennial.
On December 18, during the traditional Paskuhan, Rector Fr. Rolando de la Rosa, O.P. will officially start the countdown to 2011, when Asia’s oldest University turns 400.
The countdown is titled ‘400 Days to 400 Years.”
Also during the Paskuhan, the theme song of the UST Quadricentennial will be sung, “Ako’s Isang Tomasino,” by industrial engineering alumnus Gerardo de Leon, who won the grand prize in the Q song writing contest.
On the same night, the quadricentennial prayer, flag, and mascot will be unveiled.
De la Rosa presented the long list of activities for the 2011 celebration during a press conference last December 11.
The quadricentennial’s “centerpiece project,” according to him, is “Simbayan 400: Tomasino para sa Simbahan at Bayan,” which will focus on the rehabilitation of 400 villages to be adopted by UST in cooperation with the non-governmental organization Gawad Kalinga. The project starts next month, in January 2010.
Pilar Romero, assistant to the Rector for administration and secretary of the UST Quadricentennial committee, said different colleges and faculties would help the villages in site and environment planning (Engineering and Architecture), livelihood (Commerce), values formation (Central Seminary), education (Education and Arts and Letters) and community-building (Nursing and Rehabilitation Sciences).
• Swatch, the Swiss watch company, will design and manufacture a special UST Quadricentennial watch;
• Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas will issue special commemorative bills and coins, while the post office will issue special commemorative stamps;
• Declaration of the eight decade-old Main Building as a national heritage landmark on Jan. 25, 2010, followed by the mounting of a marker on January 28 at the España gate;
•The holding of an exhibit on the legacy of UST at the Unesco central headquarters in Paris;
• The “world’s longest living rosary” to be participated in by the entire Thomasian community on Feb. 11, 2010, good for an entry in the Guiness Book of World Records;
• Three-day Thomasian Global Trade Expo led by Thomasian tycoons such as Jollibee Foods Corp. president Tony Caktiong, and Mercury Drug president Vivian Que-Ascona in July 2010;
• An exhibition of the University’s collection of rare books and significant historical documents, including academic records of national heroes Jose Rizal and Apolinario Mabini, during the “Lumina Pundit” international exhibit at the Miguel de Benavides Central Library, June 17, 2010 to Jan. 30, 2011;
• Inauguration of the UST alumni center, to be housed in the renovated old UST Gym, an Art Deco structure and the country’s first school gym, on Dec. 19, 2010. The center will also serve as a hotel for visiting alumni. The UST swimming pool, the country’s first Olympic-size swimming pool, will also be renovated with its tiles changed so as to form the UST seal that could be seen from the air.
• A parade from Rizal Park to UST on Jan. 27, 2011, followed by the unveiling of the “Tetra Global” monument, designed and executed by internationally renowned Thomasian sculptor Ramon Orlina and modelled by Thomasian hearthrob Piolo Pascual and beauty queen Charlene Gonzales, at the quadricentennial park in the evening;
• Wreath-lying rites honoring UST founder Benavides on Feb. 11, 2011 in Intramuros, where the original UST campus was located;
• UST’s hosting of the conference of the International Council of Universities of St. Thomas Aquinas;
• The launching of the UST coffee-table book as the 400th title of the “400 Books at 400” project;
• World premiere of the grand opera on the life of Benavides;
• Rosarium procession in honor of Our Lady of La Naval in September 2011;
• Inauguration of the state-of-the art UST sports complex in December 2011.
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