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UST to launch 400-day countdown for Quadricentennial on Friday

December 17, 2009 5:59pm
Just how long is 400 years of excellence? Only University of Santo Tomas (UST) knows the answer.

Under the UST's Lumina Pandit, the university's main library will showcase its archives, including Jose Rizal's report card, Rector Fr. Rolando dela Rosa said in a briefing announcing celebrations for the Quadricentennial. Aie Balagtas See
This Friday, history awaits Thomasians as UST heralds the coming of its 400th anniversary on December 18 with a 400-day countdown to its Quadricentennial in 2011.

With the theme “Countdown to 2011, 4 Hours, 4 Days, 400 Years," the kick off will begin 8 p.m. at the UST Grandstand and will coincide with the university's annual Paskuhan.

"UST is a national treasure. This is why the event is not just for UST to celebrate but it is a cause for celebration for all the Filipino people," said UST Rector Fr. Rolando dela Rosa in a recent press briefing at the UST Main building.

The UST administration came up with the theme because the event would be launched four hours before December 19, which in turn is four days before December 22, 400 days before the 400th anniversary on January 28, 2011.

“We wanted to do it on December 22 but it’s already the Christmas vacation," Dela Rosa said with a chuckle.

About 50,000 people are expected to witness the countdown that would be led by Dela Rosa himself. The countdown would be hosted by UST Alumni and TV hosts Miriam Quiambao and Kim Atienza.

During the countdown, an array of exciting activities – a costume parade, free concerts, a fireworks display – will be held. At the same time, the Quadricentennial prayer, flag, song, and mascot is expected to be unveiled to the public.

At 12 midnight, the Thomasian community would unveil the Quadricentennial Clock, which is a Swatch Beatman, to start the countdown.

The world-renowned UST Symphony Orchestra and UST Singers will also be there to serenade the guests.

The UST Quadricentennial celebrations will run from December 2009 until January 2012.

To ensure that the activities culminating the school’s 400 years of existence would be august, UST created Quadricentennial Commission led by its secretary general Fr. Isidro Abaño.

Pope and the Spanish Royal Family

Some of the major activities that are being organized include the grand opening celebration on January 28, 2011. This event would serve opening ceremony for the year-long celebration.

As a royal and pontifical university, UST is looking forward to having Pope Benedict XVI grace the celebration. “There is a good chance that he might come," Dela Rosa said. However, the university has yet to receive a reply from the Vatican.

UST is also planning to extend an invitation to the Spanish Royal family, through Maricris Zobel, he added.

Other events for the year long celebrations would include series of lectures, international conferences and seminars, cultural and music presentation, trade fairs, awarding ceremonies, parades, community development programs, and medical mission.

Another auspicious project to mark the 400th year is “Lumina Pandit (spreading the light)- An Exhibition of Historical Treasures."

Dela Rosa said this would showcase collections from UST Central Library, including the original Nicolas Copernicus’s book on the heliocentric theory; incunabulae or books that were created before the invention of printing press; and the Doctrina Cristiana, the first printed book in the country.

Another project, Simabayan or Tomasino para sa simbahan at bayan will also be formed by the Thomasian family to assist the less fortunate by providing them livelihood, health care assistance, and education, among others.

“This would be the long lasting help of the university to the country," Dela Rosa said.

Founded in 1611, UST continues to excel by producing outstanding professionals, including politicians, lawyers, church leaders and national heroes. It is also the only university in Asia that has produced saints. - GMANews.TV
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