UST eyeing to appoint 98th rector by August

The University of Santo Tomas is aiming to appoint its 98th rector by the start of the academic year 2024-2025. UST Main Building. File photo of The Flame

THE UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas is aiming to install a new rector by August in time for the start of the academic year 2024-2025.

In an interview with The Flame, UST Secretary General Fr. Louie Coronel, O.P. cited the possibility of appointing the University’s 98th rector during the next academic year’s opening ceremony.

“The installation [of the new rector] will be on August 1. It will coincide with the Misa de Apertura. (At least) that is what we are eyeing,” Coronel said. 

“But our structure is great that even though we are still waiting for the (new) rector, there is a provision about an acting rector,” he added.

Fr. Richard Ang, O.P., who was appointed to his post in 2020 as the 97th UST rector, ended his first term last April 30. However, he is still eligible for re-election for a second term.  

Vice Rector Fr. Isias Tiongco, O.P. took over as acting rector last May 1 in line with the start of the election process.

The selection involves UST Dominican’s nomination of three candidates or a terna through a secret ballot. Candidates must be Filipino members of the Dominican Order with a doctoral degree, according to the UST General Statutes.

UST Dominicans held a convocation to elect their top candidates for rectorship on Monday, May 27. The names of the nominees cannot yet be “categorically confirmed,” according to the Office of the Secretary General.

The final list will be approved by UST vice chancellor Fr. Filemon de la Cruz, O.P., also the prior provincial of the Dominican Province of the Philippines, before reaching the Academic Senate. The group, comprising the University’s vice rectors and deans, will evaluate and rank the nominees.

Following endorsement by the Board of Trustees, the highest policy-making body in UST, Filemon is tasked to forward the terna to UST chancellor Fr. Gerard Francisco Timoner III, O.P. Timoner represents the Holy See and the University.

The final evaluation rests with the Vatican’s Dicastery for Culture and Education. After its assessment, the Holy See will issue a declaration of no objection or “nihil obstat,” allowing Timoner to select the new rector.

Asked about the qualities he would like to see in the next rector, Coronel expressed hope that the University would be led by a “good manager” who would include sustainable and ecological approaches in the development of UST programs.

“A very good administrator and manager of the University…hopefully, someone who is also program-conscious, one who considers sustainability and ecological issues because those are what are being discussed now,” the secretary general said. 

The rector serves as the University’s chief executive officer and is responsible for overseeing the implementation of UST’s rules, regulations, ordinances and resolutions. He also holds the authority to appoint academic and non-academic staff at the University. F – with reports from Mei Lin Weng

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