Late AB dean Villaba inspired female students to pursue higher studies, former UST rector says

Former UST rector Fr. Rolando de la Rosa leads the funeral mass for former Faculty of Arts and Letters dean Prof. Magdalena Alonso-Villaba on Wednesday, Sept. 13, at the Sto. Domingo Church in Quezon City. Photo by Raymond Vince Manaloto/THE FLAME

THE LEGACY of the late UST Faculty of Arts and Letters (AB) dean Prof. Magdalena Alonso-Villaba would live on because of her contributions in pioneering philosophy among female students, a former rector of the University said. 

In his homily during the funeral mass for Villaba, Fr. Rolando de la Rosa, O.P. said the late dean and philosophy professor did not only teach the principles of her discipline but upheld them, describing her as the “true embodiment of wisdom and grace.”

“[Villaba’s] love for philosophy inspired other female students in the University to become professors of philosophy as well. This is quite an achievement, considering that until now, few women venture into philosophy,” de la Rosa said on Wednesday, Sept. 13 at the Sto. Domingo Church in Quezon City.

“She may no longer be with us in the physical sense, but her teachings and her spirit will continue to guide and inspire us,” he added.

Villaba, who served as the AB dean from 1976 to 1987, passed away on Sept. 11 at the age of 95. She finished her bachelor’s degree in philosophy in 1957 and obtained her doctor of philosophy in 1976 magna cum laude.

According to the Dominican priest, he has heard many female students say they were inspired by Villaba’s achievements to pursue their own masters’ and doctorate degrees.

De la Rosa also thanked the late dean for leaving a lasting significance in his life, noting that he was Villaba’s student in Asian philosophy.  

“Thank you, dean Villaba, for gracing our lives with your wisdom, your love, and your unwavering commitment to the ideals of the University of Santo Tomas. You have left an indelible mark on the memory of your thousands of students, your fellow administrators and teachers, and your memory will forever be a source of inspiration and guidance,” de la Rosa said.

A funeral motorcade will take place on Sept. 17 from Sto. Domingo Church to La Loma Cemetery, where Villaba will be laid to rest. F – A.D. Eguia

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