IT was closed for a decade. There was a dispute over the property. There was a demonstration against an administrator. These were few of the setbacks the University of the Philippines (UP) Cebu had to overcome to get to where it is today.
Established on May 3, 1918, a decade after the founding of UP in Manila, it is known as the university’s flagship campus in Central Visayas.
For the past 100 years, UP Cebu has produced a multitude of individuals who have made names in the field of governance, art, science and the academe.
Among its notable alumni are performing arts educator Allan Nazareno and musician Joel Oporto, among others.
But the road to greatness, though, was no easy journey.
Lawyer Liza Corro, UP Cebu chancellor, said that behind the school’s colorful history was a “community that weathered storms.”
“This would not have happened if we were not steadfast,” she told SunStar Cebu.
Five years ago, the state university made headlines over a dispute with illegal settlers occupying its lot in Barangay Lahug, Cebu City.
In 2013, some 1,000 families challenged UP Cebu to show proof that it was the rightful owner of the property and had the right to evict them.
The deed of donation showed that the Provincial Government donated five parcels of land, or about 14 hectares, to UP 50 years ago.
This, though, was not the only time the university’s integrity as a community was tested.
According to Corro, there was a time when the UP system temporarily shut down due to budget constraints.
“Funds were really hard to go by. There were a lot of challenges even on the maintenance of the buildings alone. But we were able to surpass it all,” she said.
Visions for the future
An institution that molds students into public servants of the community is how Corro envisions UP Cebu to be in the next 100 years.
The next years may be riddled with more difficult obstacles, but the chancellor remains positive.
With close to P150 million in funding for research expected to come in from different government agencies, Corro is looking at a future with several alumnus excelling in various fields.
“We just have to go with how things are right now. If we will not integrate it, we will be really left behind. Our students are not just going to be employed, they are being equipped and trained to choose. We are trying to be a part of an integrated community,” she added.
UP Cebu has prepared several activities for its centennial celebration.
Last April 4, the state university held a tree-planting activity at its campus in the South Road Properties. The UP Cebu community planted 10 endemic hardwood seedlings to symbolize its steadfast growth over the years.
Professor Palmy Tudtud, chair of the centennial celebration, said they will also host a fund-raising activity with the alumni on April 27. The proceeds will be used for other activities that need funding, she added.
On May 2, the university will open all its shared facilities, such as the Digital Fabrication Laboratory, Digital Media Production Center and Go Negosyo, among others. They will also launch the UP Store.
Also on May 2, Tudtud said they will launch “Centenario,” an exhibit of 100 artworks made by alumni and guests.
On May 3, they will inaugurate the new Oblation statue and the Presidents’ Gallery.
Modeled after the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles, California, the Presidents’ Gallery comprises 21 blocks surrounding the Oblation. It contains the names of all 21 past and present presidents of UP, Tudtud said.
They will also unveil the Centennial Gratitude Wall for all its alumni. A dress down event for the whole UP community will take place on campus grounds in the evening.