Like a radiant light dispelling the darkness of ignorance, the University of Santo Tomas and the UnionBank launched the aptly titled Lumina Pandit II: A Continuum, yet another magnum opus that immortalizes the University’s Miguel de Benavides Library’s and Archives’ vast collections of rare and historical books, dating as early as the 15TH century.
Preserving the culture of intellectual transfer
n his welcome remarks, the Rector, the Very Rev. Fr. Herminio V. Dagohoy, O.P., stressed that our history, immortalized in fragile books and ephemeral vessels, must be preserved and transmitted to succeeding generations. “We do not want the culture of intellectual transfer to end,” Dagohoy said.
It was on this note that he lauded the Miguel de Benavides Library’s administrators and staff, as well as UnionBank’s Corporate Social Responsibility arm, for being the University’s partner in restoring, digitizing, and eventually cataloguing the more than 30,000 rare and historical books stored in the troves of the University’s Library and Archives.
UnionBank Chairman and CEO Mr. Justo Ortiz fondly recalled his first time to set foot in the University’s Library and Archives, and recalled the feeling of “being in hallowed ground,” for the edifice contained the Philippines’ educational, cultural and religious history for the last four centuries.
Ortiz said that this marvel at such an expansive collection prompted him to ask Mrs. Maria Gonzalez Goolsby, then-Executive Director of UnionBank, to make the digitization and dissemination of such documents a priority area of the company’s social responsibility thrust. Thus began the fruitful partnership between UST and UnionBank.
Light is the best symbol for God
With a heart overflowing with gratitude and joy, the Prefect of Libraries, Fr. Angel Aparicio, O.P., paid homage to UnionBank, the University officials and staff, and all those who helped the Library in publishing the Lumina Pandit II and mounting the exhibit.
Aparicio said that Lumina Pandit II, and its predecessor, Lumina Pandit, are testaments to how the University of Santo Tomas has answered the call of spreading the light to dispel the darkness of ignorance. He, however, said this is a task that must not stop—hence, the subtitle “A Continuum,” for the second volume.
The longtime Prefect of Libraries offered the project to the Lord Almighty, and quoted Scripture, particularly the story of King David, by saying that this project is meant to glorify the Lord, who in the first place bestowed upon mankind the same gifts they now offer.
Reaching the global populace
The three-stage project has gone from the cataloguing, digitization to the publication of the rare books. So far, eight catalogs of rare books have been published—a work that began as early as the 1990s—and several of the digitized books are now available for viewing via the University’s Digital Library.