Being the country’s oldest university, it should not be a surprise that the University of Santo Tomas holds a significant number of titles in its library. In fact, UST’s book collection dates back to as far as before the founding of the university, when these books were first owned by Dominicans, (who among them was the university’s founder himself Miguel de Benavides) who donated their book collections for the establishment of what is now UST. As was mentioned previously, UST was first founded as a school for theology, philosophy, and law; most of these old books dealt with those particular subjects.
Over the years and centuries, UST library collection got accumulated as its older items became more valuable. I don’t know if there have been any books that have been lost or damaged throughout that time, but it’s good to know much of its old collection has remained intact and well-preserved, unaffected by war and its move from the old campus at the Walled City to the new one at the Main Building at the wider Sampaloc campus.
It would be in 1989 when the UST Library finally got a home of its own with a 6-level building right across the Main Building, a building dedicated to the university’s founder who helped make its library possible.
Between the Main Building and the Benavides Library is a open-spaced plaza that was made specifically for UST’s quadricentennial celebration. Known as the Quadricentennial Square, it was first opened in 2007 with the unveiling of the Quadricentennial Fountain, an interactive fountain said to be designed by the same guys behind the CCP and Liwasang Bonifacio fountains. The fountain is surrounded by 4 brown-red marble cornerstones that signify UST’s achievements for the last four centuries.
A more recent attraction in this place is the Quattromondial sculpture which was unveiled in 2011, UST’s quadricentennial year. It is a bronze and glass sculpture by Ramon Orlina which depicted four figures, each having their own symbolism: the male student, (excellence) the teacher, (erudition) the Dominican monk, (spirituality) and the female student. (tradition) On top of these figures is a globe tilted to 23.5 degrees (as the Earth is) signifying globalization. A ribbon with Latin inscription covers the genital parts of the figures which signifies accomplishment, scholarliness, and wisdom.
To be continued…
© The Urban Roamer