THE COVID-19 crisis may have been demanding for Thomasians but it was not enough to break their spirit, the University’s rector said in his inaugural report, the first such address to be delivered since the pandemic.
UST Rector Rev. Fr. Richard G. Ang, O.P. said UST was meant to weather the challenges brought about by the global health crisis, which he claimed brought Thomasians closer to one another.
“We were made to experience this once in a generation global health crisis for a reason. We were meant to survive,” Ang, who was named UST rector in 2021, said on Thursday, Sept. 8.
“The enormity of the tasks that the crisis demanded from us may have been too much from each and everyone, but not enough to break our spirit as one Thomasian community,” he added.
Ang said the pandemic is “a defining moment that brought out the best in us” and a “time that brought Thomasians closer to one another, and closest to God.”
“The pandemic taught the value of what it means to be a Thomasian community. We are a community that looks out for the welfare of each other during a time of great uncertainty,” the rector added.
Ang urged the Thomasian community to remain “grateful and open to others,” messages that he said were echoed during the pandemic.
“Gratitude and empathy are the principles that allow us to redirect our focus to the things we can change. Together, they inspire change from within ourselves, driving us to serve with humility and sincerity, and allowing us to touch those around us in ways we never thought possible.”
Pandemic era achievements
Ang’s report, which covered the first five academic terms of his rectorship, highlighted UST’s achievements from Jan. 2020 to July 2021.
Among the University’s feats during the period were ranking third among all Philippine universities in the 2021 Times Higher Education Impact Rankings and clinching the 4th spot among all Philippine universities in the 2021 Quacquarelli-Symonds (QS) ASIA University Rankings.
The University also secured a QS 5-star rating in the third review cycle of the QS Stars, the first among Philippine higher educational institutions. UST achieved five stars for teaching, employability, internationalization, and facilities; scored four stars for academic development, and; three stars for arts and culture and inclusiveness.
Despite the emergency shift to an online mode of learning, the University maintained 59 accredited programs by the end of the Academic Year 2020 – 2021, the height of the pandemic.
Ang also commended the UST Simbahayan for making community development and advocacy as UST’s strongest point as a Catholic higher educational institution in the 2020 ASEAN University Network-Quality Assurance Institutional Assessment.
He said these recognitions would not be possible if not for the continuous “communal effort” of the Thomasian community.
“All these achievements are not the accomplishments of one person or one unit. Rather, it is a product of our communal efforts,” he said.
“Success, by the way, is the result of a long and careful preparation,” he added.
Ang assumed as the 97th rector of UST in April 2020 but was formally installed to the post on May 13, 2021. F – N. Bautista and K. Nogoy