By Rhaydz B. Barcia
LEGAZPI CITY --- Aquinas University of Legazpi is now officially named University of Sto. Tomas-Legazpi
Originally known as Legazpi College 70 years ago before the Dominican missionaries took over, this university has been producing outstanding graduates in the fields of arts and sciences, engineering, architecture, law, health and medical related courses, accountancy and teacher education, among others.
Fr. Ernesto M. Arceo, O.P. STL, Ph.D rector and president of UST-Legazpi said: “We’re privileged to have contributed so much development in Bicol with numerous doctors and nurses who give us so much healing. The integration of Aquinas University of Legazpi to University of Santo Tomas Manila will upgrade quality education. The best practices of two institutions will be duplicated to upgrade quality of education. UST Manila is one of the biggest schools in the country.”
Among the prominent alumni of this Legazpi City-based Dominican university are Albay Governor Al Francis Bichara, Rep. Fernando Gonzalez, (3rd District Albay), Mayor Noel Rosal of Legazpi, and Rep. Rodel Batocabe of Ako Bicol.
Upon the change of name of AUL to UST-Legazpi, the Aquinas University Hospital will also be renamed as UST Legazpi Hospital, in close collaboration with UST Hospital Manila.
“UST Hospital resident physicians, experts including interns will also be coming in to UST Legazpi Hospital and vice versa,” the rector said.
Fr. Herminio V. Dagohoy O.P, Pn.L. Ph.D, rector magnifico UST Manila said that UST Legazpi will be enjoying its academic freedom but its quality of education will be benchmarked on UST Manila, specifically in terms of the hiring of professors.
He emphasized, though, that close collaboration between the two universities in terms of education standards and programs been done even before the integration.
UST will be supervising some of UST-Legazpi’s master’s programs, including Pharmacy and Law. “The collaboration will continue and will include other disciplines. It will depend on UST Legazpi to determine what programs to follow,” he said.
As to health services, Dr. Walter Randolph Jalgalado, UST Legazpi Hospital administrator, said that they have discussed with UST Manila Hospital t for special medical services to link arms with rural health units in pursuit of providing quality health care services to the public.
“We want to make our consultants help physicians in the rural health units in the countryside. We want to have good operating and emergency rooms and run a women center to cater to emerging diseases here,” he said.
The Bicol catholic university is one of the Dominican schools that signed in December 2014 a memorandum of intent (MOI) to ‘integrate’ with University of Santo Tomas, Angelicum College Quezon City, and Angelicum School Iloilo. Along with AUL, the latter colleges will serve as satellite campuses and bear the name of the four-century-old University of Sto. Tomas, the ever Royal and Pontifical University in the Philippines.