Last March 9, 2017, the University of Santo Tomas conferred the title Professor Emeritus upon Professor Alfredo P. Co, PhD, at the Medicine Auditorium, San Martin de Porres Building.
The most important sinologist philosopher in the Philippines
In his Address of Petition, Faculty of Arts and Letters dean Michael Anthony C. Vasco, PhD, himself a former student of Co, paid homage to the honoree, saying that the “Venerable Master” is the most important sinologist philosopher in the country.
“Prof. Dr. Co is the most prolific philosopher UST ever produced. His works have local, international, and even global appeal. What makes his scholarly output attractive is his uncompromising scholarship, authoritative command of the topic and scope, expansive personal, critical, and highly original interpretations of various texts and primary sources on philosophy, art, and culture,” Vasco further said.
“His class and grand lectures have always been a unique, if not an exhilarating experience. They exhibit a confluence of wit, humor, authority, if not magisterial approach to the subject matter.”
A genuine intellectual
Conceding to the petition of Dean Vasco, the Rector, the Very Rev. Fr. Herminio V. Dagohoy, O.P., PhD, underscored Co’s influence among academics, which has transcended geographical barriers.
“We are fortunate in the University of Santo Tomas to have a genuine intellectual: a brilliant mind and a good soul. Dr. Co has undoubtedly shaped the landscape of philosophy in the Philippines,” said Fr. Dagohoy.
The first Professor Emeritus from Philosophy
UST’s newest Professor Emeritus, in his Address of Acceptance, recognized that the distinction accorded to him was given at a time when the humanities was taking a backseat to rapid advancement of science and technology.
Despite the effects of the Age of New Media and Artificial Intelligence, Co still believed that “people will always find solace in the learning provided by philosophy.” “I refuse to accept that mankind is tragically bound to stay in the darkness of mind’s reason,” he said in his speech.
“I still believe that one day, mankind will bow before the altar of the true, the good, and the beautiful, and God will descend to bless these men of lumen, for He is the personification of all that is noble, the true, the good, and the beautiful all in all.”
Reflecting on his four-decade career, Co recalled that he was humbled by the University’s title “Royal, Pontifical, and Catholic University of the Philippines.” Co said he did not enter UST to bask on its honors, but he “came with a determined heart to be a contributor in the making of the University’s future history.”
Co said he humbly and wholeheartedly accepted the title “ in good faith and great joy”.
An elite class
The title “Professor Emeritus” is conferred upon a faculty member who may have reached retirement or has resigned, but is deemed worthy to continue bearing the lifetime distinction, owing to his/her unparalleled excellence in teaching, research, and extension services, evidenced by local and international recognitions, publications, and commendations.
Co joins the roster of Professors Emeriti, which includes Academician Fortunato B. Sevilla III, PhD and Milagros Tanlayco, PhD.
Known as the Venerable Master to his students and colleagues, Co’s renown and influence made him one of the most sought-after scholars who effectively discourse on the East-West dialogue in Philosophy. He has published more than fifty academic articles that have come out in anthologies, respected journals, and books.
Included in his published works are “Across the Ancient Philosophy World: Essays in Comparative Philosophy (2015); “The Blooming of a Hundred Flowers: Philosophy of Ancient China” (Volume 1, first published in 1992) and “Under the Bo Tree…On the Lotus Flower: Philosophy of the Compassionate Buddha” (Volume 2, first published in 2003), among others. He is the first-ever recipient of a festschrift produced by UST: “Across the Philosophical Silk Road: A Festschrift in Honor of Alfredo P. Co,” a seven-volume collection published in 2009.
At present, Dr. Co is the President of the Philippine Academy of Philosophical Research, is a member of Académie du Midi, Asian Association of Christian Philosophers, International Society for Chinese Philosophy, and Conférence Mondiale des Institutions Universitaires Catholiques de Philosophie, among others. He is likewise the Co-Chair of the Technical Panel for Humanities Education and Chair of the Technical Committee for Philosophy of the Commission on Higher Education.