When the Benedictines from Montserrat, Spain, established San Beda College in Manila in 1901, it was just a two-story wood building. A century later, it has grown as one of the biggest Benedictine schools in the world.
Originally an all-boys school, San Beda has produced distinguished alumni who have made their mark in politics, business, sports and media, including Raul Roco (CAS ’60, Law ’64), who also helped write the school’s alma mater hymn; Ninoy Aquino (HS ’48); Eugenio Lopez Jr. (HS ’46); Caloy Loyzaga; Rene Saguisag (CAS ’59, Law ’63); Manny Pangilinan, Jaime Licauco, and Leila de Lima (Law ’85).
On Feb. 6, the school reached another milestone when the Commission on Higher Education of the Philippines (CHED) granted university status to San Beda.
But the road to becoming a university was not easy. The initiative was started in 2001 by then rector-president Fr. Anscar Chupungco, OSB.
College of Arts and Sciences dean Bryan Bustamante and Student Athletes Prefect Mike Rubio enumerated the coming changes that San Beda University will undertake: assert its autonomous status; strengthen programs in Liberal Arts and Science sports development, research and community extension; establishment of centers of excellence; and improvement of facilities.
As the Bedan community celebrated with the traditional bonfire and feast, we asked the students to comment on the feat.
“This honor challenges me to do better, excel in my field, and prove to be worthy of carrying the name of the school.” —Camille Flores, College of Arts and Sciences
“I am happy that San Beda has attained university status. Still, as I feel honored and privileged, I feel that getting the university status means more obligations. We need to continue to strive for Bedan excellence and prove that we are, indeed, worthy to be a university.” —Karl Montessa, College of Law
“No words can express what I feel, it’s like déjà vu because I went to grade school at San Beda Alabang and I also witnessed how St. Benedict College became San Beda College Alabang. San Beda University, it’s like what happened before. All in all, I am happy for San Beda, and I am blessed to have again witnessed history.” —Andre Carabeo, College of Medicine
“I’m proud that, from being a college, San Beda has gained university status. I’m overwhelmed and I hope that the school’s standards will be raised further to produce students who will help bring change in society.” —Elaine Madamba, College of Arts and Sciences
“Now that San Beda is a university, its students are being called to greater action, not just inside the school but also outside. Being a university entails greater responsibility, not just among the administrators but also the students.” —Jasper Jovellanos, College of Arts and Sciences
“I am proud that we are now a university. But then more is expected from us. We need to help in nation building. We need to have extensive research to help solve problems in society.” —Gerard Santos, assistant prefect of student discipline, College of Arts and Sciences
“It’s a privilege because there are benefits, but it’s a burden as well. You have to live up to the name that San Beda is now a university.” —Jeremy Merkader, College of Law
“We should live up to the expectations of being a university while pursuing the vision and mission of our alma mater.” —Joseph Montemar, College of Law
“I think the efforts of the students made San Beda gain the recognition. I suppose it’s a matter of growing and filling the title as a university.” —Glice Batulan, College of Arts and Sciences
Room for improvement
“I think San Beda should see this not only as an achievement but also a challenge to meet the expectations of its students. I’m excited about what SBU can offer. There’s still room for improvement and I’m hoping that this is our first step in filling up the spaces.” —Lyza Acosta, College of Arts and Sciences
“I really don’t know what to feel because there are some things that need improvement. However, it feels good to hear that SBC is now SBU. Animo!” —Matilda Abasta, College of Arts and Sciences
“Aside from the pride and honor that San Beda College is now San Beda University, there is instant gratification that people will look at us differently academically and as an institution. I hope improvements will follow.” —Marga Vinluan, senior high school
“There is no bearing to a title won without principle.” —Sophia Senoron, College of Arts and Sciences
“People inside and outside San Beda must’ve questioned the capability of the school to become a university. It saddens me a bit that Bedans themselves are discrediting our alma mater because of its facilities and curriculum, among other things. Bedans make San Beda what it is and what it will be.” —Anonymous, College of Arts and Sciences
“I’m overwhelmed. I was a college freshman when I enrolled at San Beda College. Now that it’s a university, I expect more improvements in the school.” —Jobel Sardea, College of Arts and Sciences —CONTRIBUTED