COINCIDING with the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima commemorated on May 13, 2021, the Very Rev. Fr. Richard Gaw Ang, O.P., Ph.D., was formally installed as the 97th Rector of the University of Santo Tomas at the Santísimo Rosario Parish Church (UST Chapel). The Solemn Investiture, live-streamed through the UST Facebook page, was presided over by the Prior Provincial of the Dominican Province of the Philippines and UST Vice-Grand Chancellor Very Rev. Fr. Filemon I. Dela Cruz, Jr., O.P.
The Master of the Order of Preachers and UST Grand Chancellor Very Rev. Fr. Gerard Francisco P. Timoner, III, O.P., first confirmed Father Ang’s appointment as UST’s eighth Filipino Rector a year ago on May 7, 2020. However, due to the pandemic, the traditional Installation Rites usually held at the start of the academic year had to be postponed to 2021.
Prior to the installation, the Res Ceremoniales (Latin for “and all other things needed for the ceremony”) were brought into the Chapel from the Sacristy area led by the University Registrar Cesar Velasco, Jr., carried by seminarians of the UST Central Seminary. The Res Ceremoniales were part of the installation traditions. The Rector’s Maces, which symbolize the weight of the authority and responsibility of the Office of the Rector, were entrusted at the onset of the rites. They were positioned to the left side of the kneeler, where the Rector-to-be-installed would have to kneel for a good part of the ceremony.
Also part of the Res Ceremoniales are the Book of the Holy Gospel and the Statues of the University, the text of the Profession of Faith and the Oath of Office, the Appointment Decree and pen, and the Rector’s Collar.
As part of the installation traditions, the new Rector was conferred the Rector’s Collar that symbolizes the authority vested upon him by the Vatican and the Philippine Government. It is the mantle of the supreme teaching authority of the Rector as a professor of the University. After reciting the Profession of Faith and Oath of Office, Fr. Ang signed the appointment decree.
UST Secretary-General Rev. Fr. Jesús M. Miranda, Jr., O.P., Ph.D., served as the Master of Ceremonies for the Installation Rites.
In his Message of Acceptance, Fr. Ang acknowledged that being given the responsibility to lead the University during a pandemic was challenging, but with God’s unending grace and the Thomasian capability for self-transformation, “We continue to adapt to the changes no matter how disruptive they may be.”
With this spirit of resilience, the Father Rector unveiled his seven-point priorities titled “UST Vision 2024 and Beyond,” where he committed to harnessing technology in preparation for Industry 4.0; advancing synergy among disciplines, units, and institutions; enriching the research eco-systems of the University; optimizing advances made in internationalization; fostering a stronger industry-academe-alumni partnership; advocating wellness of being; and managing resources for strategic expansion.
“By 2024 and the years to come, we would like to see UST recognized as one of the leading Catholic institutions of learning in the ASEAN region, with the fastest-growing reputation in education, research, and service,” shared Fr. Ang.
Among Fr. Ang’s targets are to further improve the learning experience of students, intensify the research enterprise among the faculty, and reinforce the societal impact of community service through giving weight to strategic, systematic, and functional quality assurance.
“By enhancing quality culture, we are highlighting excellence. We will seriously work to provide our students and accessible 21st-century quality education,” emphasized the newly-installed Rector.
Determined to ensure that the pandemic will not stop this academic community from dreaming big and seeking greater heights, Fr. Ang said, “We are willing to walk the extra mile. I am at your service.”
A respected scholar, Fr. Ang obtained his six degrees, all with Latin honors, at UST. He earned his Bachelor of Arts major in Philosophy degree in 1990, cum Laude, at the Faculty of Arts and Letters; his Licentiate in Philosophy degree in 1994, Magna cum Laude, and Bachelor in Sacred Theology degree in 1997, Summa cum Laude, both at the UST Ecclesiastical Faculties; his double degrees of Licentiate in Sacred Theology and Master of Arts in Higher Religious Studies in 1999, Magna cum Laude, at the UST Ecclesiastical Faculties and UST Graduate School; and his Doctor in Philosophy degree, Summa cum Laude, at the UST Ecclesiastical Faculties in 2010.
Prior to his appointment as Rector, Fr. Ang served as Vice-Rector of UST for eight years, where he was chairman of various University committees that included the Manpower, Scholarship, and Retirement Board Committees. He was also a member of the Economic Council, Council of Regents, and the Academic Senate. He previously held posts as Director of the UST Purchasing Office, Faculty Secretary of the UST Ecclesiastical Faculties, and Spiritual Director of the UST Central Seminary.