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UST rebrands university, hospital in Bicol

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The country’s oldest tertiary educational institution, the University of Santo Tomas (UST) in Manila, has renamed its sister school in Bicol, the Aquinas University of Legazpi (AUL), as UST-Legazpi.

Fr. Ernesto M. Arceo, rector and president of UST-Legazpi, said: “The integration of AUL to UST-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.”

The 70-year-old AUL, formerly Legazpi College, is the biggest Catholic university in Bicol.he AUL and UST share a patron saint in St. Thomas Aquinas.

The Dominican university here also produced top caliber lawyers in the country, engineers, architects, teachers and other professionals who became successful in various fields of disciplines including businessmen and politicians such as Albay Governor Al Francis Bichara, Rep. Fernando Gonzalez (3rd District, Albay), Mayor Noel Rosal of Legazpi, and Rep. Rodel Batocabe of Ako Bicol partylist.

Arceo also said that with the merger, they will import more professors from UST-Manila.

Aside from the school, the Aquinas University Hospital will also be renamed as UST-Legazpi Hospital in collaboration with UST-Manila.

“The 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, rector magnifico of UST-Manila, said : “UST-Legazpi is enjoying its academic freedom and is different from UST-Manila. This is good start for the benchmark is UST-Manila specifically in terms of the professors.”

Dagohoy, however, said that the close collaboration between the two universities has been done even before the integration.

UST-Manila supervises 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.

This collaboration will eventually lead to more programs being supervised by UST-Manila to realign program standards to those applied in Manila.

AUL was one of the Dominican schools which signed a memorandum of intent (MOI) in December 2014 to ‘integrate’ with UST-Manila. The others are Angelicum College Quezon City and Angelicum School Iloilo, with all the institutions serving as satellite campuses and bearing the name of the four-century-old Royal and Pontifical University, UST.

The university has been working towards integration as one campus system with the other Dominican schools that signed the MOI. There are two more planned UST campuses in Laguna and General Santos City.

By 2025,UST- will be the premier institution of higher learning in the Bicol region . (PNA)