UP Centennial Year Activities Kick Off Today

The University of the Philippines system officially launches the celebration of its centennial year with a series of activities at the Diliman campus intended to bringing together the community of alumni, students, faculty, non-teaching personnel and other stakeholders and boosters of the good old State U. This will include a motorcade, exhibits, fireworks and even a skydiving exhibition.

Apart from the usual festivities, the UP centennial celebration presents an opportunity to look back over the one hundred years of the university’s history and to gain a perspective for the future. Thus, the centennial theme of “UP: Excellence, Service, and Leadership in the Next 100 Years”.

Of course, this would also be the time many will wax nostalgic about their U.P. experience. My wife has dug up old photos and posted them online and which, I must admit, brought back a flood of memories about the bad/good old days. This was during the martial law years, when the university was at the forefront of the fight against a distinguished alumnus who, even at his most repressive, could not stifle the open atmosphere of the various campuses.

As Diliman man of letters Butch Dalisay says,

“there’s still no other school like it in this country, in terms of the community of free minds that it has fostered, and the spirit of service to the nation that’s inculcated in every UP student (with, one has to admit, variable results).”

Indeed, U.P. has been the cradle of revolutionaries and reactionaries, civil libertarians and militarists, geniuses and kooks (oftentimes both in one person), visionaries and sundry characters which, for good or ill, have shaped the course of the nation’s history. There’s much to look forward too in the coming year and, with God’s grace, the next hundred years.

In his Inquirer column, Michael Tan gives us a fascinating look into U.P.’s American roots.

Legal scholar and former law school dean Raul Pangalangan has written a short but thought-provoking piece on “A university for the Philippines” on the role of a public university (and its graduates) in a democratic society. A nice read which sheds light on how U.P. should situate itself in the national context.

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