‘Love UST’: Father Dagohoy urges community at testimonial gathering

In thanksgiving for his two terms as Rector of the University of Santo Tomas, Very Rev. Fr. Herminio V. Dagohoy, O.P., Ph.D., was honored with a testimonial luncheon on January 15, 2020 at the UST Paredes Ballroom attended by the Dominican Fathers and UST administrative and academic officials.

Delivering the testimonies were University administrators and academic officials who have worked with Fr. Dagohoy, namely, Office for International Relations and Programs Director Prof. Lilian J. Sison, Ph.D., UST Graduate School Dean Prof. Michael Anthony C. Vasco, Ph.D., and the Prior of the Priory of St. Thomas Aquinas Rev. Fr. Rodel E. Aligan, O.P. 

“I remember that once, we were told as missionaries that we have to remember three things… We come, we build, and we leave,” Fr. Dagohoy shared in his message.

Built on the foundations of the University’s 408-year legacy of excellence, Very Rev. Fr. Dagohoy has added more feathers to the University’s cap. Over his two terms as UST’s 96th Rector, which commenced with his first installation on June 4, 2012, and his second on August 2, 2016, he has been a strong influence and driving force in the efforts that resulted in heightened recognition of the University’s academic programs from accrediting bodies and other entities, including those from national and international organizations. He has led the drive to a more dynamic thrust in research and internationalization.

In her testimonial speech, Prof. Sison said, “Father Dagohoy’s vision for UST is to put the University in its rightful place in the global arena. This vision is anchored on an insightful mindset; he thinks in the context of the times.”  

The University of Santo Tomas became the first and only institution in the Philippines to achieve a four-star rating from the world’s largest international higher education network Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) in 2015. The University also achieved its ISO 9001: 2015 certification in 2017 for its quality management system. As of A.Y. 2019-2020, the University’s linkages has grown to 165 educational institutions abroad and 16 international education networks.

Dean Vasco shared the same sentiments and said, “Father Dagohoy’s leadership, grounded by the identity of the institution, supports innovation and provides avenues to meet the requirements of local and international standards.” 

An example that the Dean gave was of the transition from print to an online platform of the 97-year old UNITAS, one of the oldest peer-reviewed academic journals in Asia.

 “He brought the Dominican Fathers closer to the University, and brought the University closer to the UST Fathers. Mindful of the fact that the University is the apostolate of the Dominican Province of the Philippines, particularly the Priory of Saint Thomas Aquinas, he saw to it that the Fathers would be involved in University activities, and for this, all of us are grateful to share in this Mission,” said Rev. Fr. Aligan in his speech. 

Included in the highlights of his term were the hosting of high profile guests of the University, such as Her Majesty Queen Sofia of Spain in 2012, His Holiness Pope Francis in 2015, and then Premier of British Columbia to Canada Hon. Christy Clark in 2016. He has also led the conferment ceremony for an honorary degree for Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad and an honorary professorship for Nobel Peace Prize recipient and former President of Poland Lech Wałęsa in 2012, in addition to a host of internationally-renowned academics who were conferred Honorary Professor titles.                                                            

It was also during Very Rev. Fr. Dagohoy’s term that groundbreaking activities in the UST-Sta. Rosa and UST-General Santos campuses were held.  Edifices such as the Central Laboratory Building, the Blessed Buenaventura Garcia Paredes, O.P. Building, the Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, O.P. Building were constructed. Recently, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST)-TOMASInno Center, a technological business incubator housed in the Frassati building, was inaugurated.

“Beautiful things have started, the most recent of which is UST’s institutional accreditation by [the ASEAN University Network-Quality Assurance (AUN-QA)], which we received just two days ago,“ Very Rev. Fr. Dagohoy revealed.

“Congratulations for all those achievements [for the University],” he addressed the audience, composed of the University’s administrative and academic officials, adding that, “[These are] not because of the work of the Rector, not simply because of me. It’s because of you.“

The two-term Rector expressed that he was privileged “to have met wonderful people like you, to work with you” over the past eight years. 

“Please pray for me and remember me with fondness. It is an honor to serve Asia’s oldest University,” Very Rev. Fr. Dagohoy said with a smile.

As he once again said his thanks, Very Rev. Fr. Dagohoy reminded the audience to “Love UST.” 

Academic Life

Very Rev. Fr. Dagohoy’s academic life as a Dominican led him to pursue the following degrees: AB Philosophy at the Philippine Dominican Center of Institutional Studies in 1990; Bachelor in Sacred Theology at the UST Ecclesiastical Faculty of Sacred Theology in 1993; Master of Arts in Philippine Studies in Philosophy at the University of the Philippines – Diliman in 2000; Licentiate in Philosophy in 2011 and his Doctorate in Philosophy in 2012, both at the UST Ecclesiastical Faculty of Philosophy.

Prior to becoming the University Rector, he was the Director for Finance and Administration of the UST Hospital. He also held the posts of Prior/Superior of the Santo Domingo Convent in Quezon City and in Calaruega, Batangas, as well as the Priory of St. Thomas Aquinas in UST. He served as Rector of Angelicum College in Quezon City, now called UST Angelicum.

Father Dagohoy also holds the posts of Executive Secretary of the Association of Southeast and East Asian Catholic Colleges and Universities (ASEACCU) from 2015 to 2020 and Vice President of the International Federation of Catholic Universities (IFCU) from

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