62nd Courier Anniversary Issue
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SLU centennial: Wishfully looking forward, reverently looking back
by Kenneth Hamada

Baguio will be celebrating its centennial come September 1 while Saint Louis University will have its 100th birthday come 2011.

It would be certainly fitting and good that we commemorate both events to the fullest and contemplate how both city and educational institution contributed to what we are today.

We can learn a lot from how SLU developed from its humble beginnings to what it is now. Feel inspired by how SLU grew from the promise of a good seed well sown and nurtured. Hopefully, as time passes, SLU will continually be the all-nourishing “Light of the North” that would benefit us all.

Humble beginnings and growth
SLU is regarded as one of the best educational institutions in the country. It has helped Baguio attain its moniker as the center of education north of Metro Manila. SLU, along with Baguio’s accommodating all-year-round cool climate, constantly adapts to student needs and educational trends and now has about 22,000 students, including foreigners, taking up various courses.

The entire six-hectare campus of SLU is located in the core of Baguio City. This melting pot of cultures and nationalities play host to numerous functions and seminars aside from the usual daily student business.

Baguio became a crucial area for the Congregatio Immaculati Cordis Mariae missionaries back in the early 1900s when they were mandated by the Holy See to evangelize in the northern parts of the Philippines. It was a small community back then. Later on, Baguio’s altitude and environs proved to be an ideal gateway towards the rest of the Cordilleras.  

Thus it was in 1911 when Rev. Fr. Séraphin Devesse, CICM, founded a one-room elementary school in Baguio for 10 local boys. From these humble origins, Saint Louis School began. By 1915, the intermediate grades and a trade school were started under the guidance of Florimond Carlu.

In 1921, the high school was inaugurated. College-level courses in the Liberal Arts and Commerce were offered in 1952, and Saint Louis College had its first rector. The graduate-level programs of Saint Louis College were granted recognition by 1955.

Other courses and further developments soon followed under the guidance of the following rectors or presidents: 1952-54, Gerard Decaestecker; 1954-62, Albert Van Overbeke; 1962-64, Gerard Linssen; 1964-76, Paul Zwaenepoel; 1976-83, Ghisleen De Vos; 1983-96, Joseph Van den Daelen; 1996-2005, Paul Van Parijs; 2005-present, Jessie M. Hechanova.

SLU began its journey as a university when it was conferred university status by the Philippine government on May 13, 1963. Since then, SLU has put up a total of nine colleges. It is accredited and is a member of the following national and international organizations: Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines; Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities; Association of Catholic Universities of the Philippines; Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities; Association of Southeast Asian Institutions of Higher Learning; International Federation of Catholic Universities; International Association of University Presidents; and the Association of Southeast and East Asian Catholic Colleges and Universities.

The Commission on Higher Education has also named various colleges of the university like the College of Education and the College of Nursing as “Centers for Excellence.” Eventually, through all of its achievements in the field of education, SLU has been granted full autonomy status.

The centennial
In anticipation of its centennial in 2011, some SLU centennial-themed activities have already surfaced. There is the usual SLU “Handog sa Baguio” activity wherein booths and stalls with services aimed at helping the community are put up at different parts of the campus.

The SLU Centennial Song writing competition has already brought out a winner, while a story compilation drive has already been unleashed. Called “SLU@100 stories,” the activity aims to collect any interesting story from as many alumni, former employees, and friends of SLU.

The story drive engages participants to “reminisce your wonderful years with SLU and share with us your personal experiences as part of our documentation for the upcoming SLU centennial celebration in 2011.” Inte-rested individuals can send their story to slu_100@slu.edu.ph or slu_100@yahoo.com. You can also log on to http://www.slu100.slu.edu.ph or simply send it to the SLU Centennial Research Committee at the Research, Extension, and Publications Office, 2/F Jose Burgos Administrative Bldg, Saint Louis University.

Hopefully this will not be the only centennial of SLU. May it just be a drop in the ocean in its long history of being the Light of the North. Let us not be weary after such a long period, but rather, be inspired to have a longer and more fruitful history. May Baguio and SLU have more centennials to come. May their loving arms caress future generations as they have done with us.

In closing, here is the winning SLU Centennial Prayer written by Lourdusamy, Nambi Spiridiya, Special BS Biology, SLU-International College of Medicine.
“God, source of holiness and light, we thank you for your bountiful blessings poured on SLU during the past hundred years, enabling it to be the ‘Light of the North’ through its mission of education. As we step into the next century to meet the challenges of our time, transform us by your light of faith and love. Equip us with your grace and infuse new life and hope in us and in what we do, so we can transform ourselves and our society. We make this prayer through the intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Amen.”

The author is a second year Bachelor of Science in Accountancy student at Saint Louis University. He would like to sincerely thank Mr. Marianito Meneses, managing editor of Buhay SLU and adviser of the White and Blue; and Ms. Evelyn Yeung, editor-in-chief of the White and Blue.

Other news
:: Kabugao towards its centennial year
:: Living to be a hundred: A look at two centenarians
:: SVD marks centennial year in Abra
:: Baguio’ centennial athletes
:: ‘We are all Brentonians’ An educational legacy from the Episcopalians
:: Mayoyao's thanksgiving festival: Beyond a hundred years
:: Strawberry farms: Juicy future in doubt
:: A collation of other centenarians in Baguio
:: From ‘warriors’ to educators and missionaries
:: English after a century or so

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