by TRISHA TAMIO
UST RECTOR Rev. Fr. Richard Ang, O.P. advised freshmen to go beyond personal academic ambitions and embrace a higher calling by improving the lives of others.
In his homily for the Thomasian Welcome Mass on Saturday, August 5, Ang urged the first-year students to view higher education as a means of self-transformation that coexists with social responsibility.
“Beyond the goal of getting a credential or a diploma and degree in a university, there is a greater cause for pursuing higher education. It is not all about your career, it is not all about your personal salvation, it is not all about yourself,” Ang said.
“Self-transformation will only have meaning if it involves the intention and prospect of raising the quality of people’s lives. Your life, the life of your family, and the life of the community at large,” he added.
According to Ang, students should create a lasting value in the lives of individuals to bring pride to the University. Such a pride lies not just in the pursuit of academic excellence but in the recognition of its “united identity,” he added.
“Our common identity, which gives us a sense of significance, cannot be oversimplified…It is a combination of heritage, formation, quality, environment and choices, blending seamlessly to form a coherent whole. And this is the source of our Thomasian pride,” the rector said.
“Despite the various disciplines and inclinations, features, and personalities, it is our identity that binds us as one big family.”
Because of that identity, all Thomasians are entitled to the same privileges on campus regardless of their social status, Ang said.
“In this campus, nobody is too rich and too elite, so as not to experience the simple joys of life. And in this campus, nobody is too deprived and too poor to have access to quality education,” he said.
“Each learner, each person, is not just a face lost in the crowds, but an irreplaceable, unique, and distinct individual, clearly, an active participant in the constant reinvention and reimagination of the 21st century Tomasino – making UST timeless and timely, traditional yet progressive, centuries old but enduringly youthful.”
This academic year’s Welcome Mass, held at the Quadricentennial Pavilion, was dedicated to over 11,000 Thomasian freshmen, about 1,100 of them from the Faculty of Arts and Letters.
The University opened the new academic year last Aug. 4 with the Misa de Apertura, led by Bishop Cerilo Alan Casicas of Marbel. Assistant to the Rector for UST General Santos Emerita Maribel Nonato delivered the Discurso de Apertura or inaugural lecture, which tackled how integrated innovations can develop academic institutions. F