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Happy 100th birthday UP!

Tribute. Balloons float serenely up the sky during the UP’s 100th
Foundation Day celebration. The high-profile crowd, which
includes UP President Emerlinda R. Román and UPD
Chancellor Sergio S. Cao (inset) looks up to a bright future for
the University.

For UPís most eagerly awaited event, it was certainly short and simple.

UP Diliman marked the universityís 100th founding anniversary on June 18 with a short ceremony at Quezon Hall at 8 in the morning, followed by the launch of the Vinzonsí Upgrade project an hour later.

June 18 is a very important milestone for us,” UPD Chancellor Sergio S. Cao said. “The commemorative program is a simple and joyous celebration reaffirming our community spirit and a happy occasion to reflect and remember that UP has reached this age. We have remained strong and survived as an institution. As an academic institution, we have a long history of involvement and participation in the life of the nation and we are looking forward to the future.”
Its simplicity notwithstanding, to the University’s constituents and friends, it was undoubtedly the best—what with the anticipated windfall of a whopping P20,000 for UP personnel, an endowment of P8 million to rehabilitate the students’ center and the rare visual treat of what else but a multitude of naked men running half of the Academic Oval.

As early as 8 a.m., UP officials, members of the faculty, students, staff, alumni and friends gathered at Quezon Hall for the singing of the National Anthem, UP Naming Mahal and the Happy Birthday UP song. With College of Music dean Ramon Acoymo leading the vocals, the grand sing-along featured the combined talents of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ General Headquarters (GHQ), Quezon City and UP Symphonic Bands, the UP Cherubim and Seraphim and the UP Staff Chorale.

Following the hearty community singing, Centennial President Emerlinda R. Román walked to the center of the Quezon Hall bridge to wish the community a happy birthday and centenary. In her brief message, she reiterated the perks of working for the University. “It is not given to many to be involved in work about whose usefulness and value there can be no doubt. It is not given to many to be able to work in surroundings so beautiful and conducive to physical and mental well-being,” she said.

“Sometimes, we may not even get the support we need but I think we can all be confident that almost everyone in the country wishes UP well and wants to see it prosper. And an even remarkable blessing is that of the many institutions that have existed over the years, UP has remained one of the most admired and deeply respected institutions in the country today. Nakakataba ng puso na kapag ating sinabi na tayo ay tiga-UP, iba ang dating sa mga tao: may halong paghanga at respeto sa atin sapagkat bahagi tayo ng institusyong tinitingala at nirerespeto (It is gladdening to know that when we say we are from UP, people treat us with admiration and respect because we are part of an institution that is highly esteemed and revered),” she added.

The high point of her message came towards the end when Dr. Concepcion Alfiler, Vice President for Administration, approached and showed her a message on her cellular phone. Addressing the constituent’s unspoken question she announced: “Siguro, marami ang naghihintay ng anunsiyo, ang pinakahihintay ng lahat. Kararating lang ng text message. Approved, as recommended by the Department of Budget Management, at last, signed by Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, centennial bonus of P20,000.” When the loud cheers from the crowd died down, Roman instructed the accounting offices to step up the payroll.

Following the happy message, Cao swore in the officers of the University Student Council (USC). After the oath-taking, officials of the UP System and Luis Carlos, Officer-in-Charge of the Philippine Postal Corporation, launched the UP commemorative stamps. Four stamps, designed by UP College of Fine Arts alumnus Alfred Capiral, carry the emblems of the University: the Oblation, the Carillon, the UP seal and the Centennial logo.

Finally, amid much fanfare, cheers and intermittent blasts from the Campus Maintenance Office’s antique canon, a hundred key UP personalities released maroon and green balloons to the heavens.

The crowd then marched to Vinzons Hall to launch the Vinzons UPgrade renovation project. Under the leadership of the USC, the project seeks to restore and preserve the architectural heritage of Vinzons Hall and establish the structure as a genuine student center. UP alumnus and now senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan had provided seed money for the project through an endowment of P8 million.

Amid dance and musical numbers from UP talents, the program featured brief messages from Cao, former Collegian editor Ibarra Gutierrez, who chairs the project, and Gina Dave, who represented Pangilinan at the event. Quezon City Vice Mayor Herbert Bautista and Carolina G. Vinzons Gaite, daughter of Wenceslao Vinzons, to whom the edifice is dedicated, graced the affair.

The program closed with the Alpha Phi Omega’s centennial Oblation Run.

—Chi A. Ibay