The Legacy of Dean Emeritus Prof. Magdalena Alonso-Villaba, Ph.D.: A Thomasian, Educator and Administrator

The UST Graduate School, in partnership with the Department of Philosophy, celebrated the 7th Thomasian Philosophers Reunion Convention. The convention is a biennial event which aims to celebrate its alumni for their contribution to the academe. This year’s convention was a tribute to Dean Emeritus Prof. Magdalena Alonso-Villaba, Ph.D., who was able to virtually join the event for the duration of the program.

Dean Emeritus Prof. Magdalena Alonso-Villaba, Ph.D. finished her Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy in 1957. A year after her graduation, she was already recruited by Dr. Emerita Quito to teach Philosophy in the University.

She pursued her graduate studies and finished her doctorate in 1976, Magna cum Laude. Her dissertation was then published by Filipiniana Sacra in 1976. Her notable publications are Philosophy of the East, Atman-Brahman Relationships in the Upanishads, Interpretation of the Doctrine of Transmigration, and Mission of Women: A Return to their Original Role.

Aside from being a respected professor, Dr. Villaba also served as the Assistant Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Letters from 1972 – 1976, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Letters from 1976-1987, and Dean of UST Graduate School from 1987- 1995.

It is because of these reasons that she was given tribute by the Department of Philosophy and the Graduate School. Her role as an educator and an administrator has inspired her students to continue a career in the academe. This is evidenced by the messages given by her former students who were invited to deliver testimonials, namely, Dr. Arlen Ancheta, Dr. Lino Baron, Mr. George Garcia, and Mrs. Anita Garcia. All of them have become respected professors and administrators in the university.

Dr. Alma Santiago-Espartinez and Dr. El Mithra Dela Cruz also delivered a paper about Dr. Villaba’s role in shaping female philosophy students. It is important to note that when Dr. Villaba started teaching philosophy, there were only 3 female faculty members in the department whom female students looked up to as their models. Dr. Villaba’s presence alone encouraged female students to prosper in a male dominated discipline. Fr. Ranhilio Aquino was also invited to deliver a tribute paper.

The conference ended with a response from Ms. Espie Villaba-Alvez, daughter of Dr. Villaba. The closing remarks were delivered by Dean Prof. Michael Anthony C. Vasco, Ph.D., who was also a former student and thesis advisee of Dr. Villaba.

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