USC formally launches yearlong 75th Anniversary celebration

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THE University of San Carlos (USC) and the missionaries of the Society of Divine Word (SVD) formally launched Tuesday, July 19, their yearlong celebration of the institution’s 75th anniversary.

University president Fr. Narciso Cellan Jr. narrated in his speech on Tuesday the historical significance of USC as one of the oldest educational institutions in the Asia, starting from the Spanish era in 1500s up to the 21st century.

"Our celebration of the 75th anniversary of USC is giving us the context and the platform to re-affirm our dreams. The dreams of those who came before us and their imagination of a world where education comes with an ambition and where Carolinians live their lives as witnesses to the word. We remember the past with deep gratitude for the sacrifices made by our forebears and with great admiration for their valor's and audacity to dream and to imagine," Cellan said.


The university was originally founded in 1595 as Colegio de San Ildefonso by the Spanish Jesuit missionaries, providing education through Christian doctrine to Chinese, Spanish, and Visayan boys until it was closed in 1769 after the expulsion of the Jesuits in the country.

Under the leadership of the Dominican orders in 1779, a new school was opened on the same site and was named Seminario de San Carlos after Saint Charles Borromeo.

After 88 years, or in 1867, the Congregation of the Missionaries (Vincentians) took over the management of the institution. It was then renamed to Seminario-Colegio de San Carlos.

By virtue of a Vatican decree in 1924, Seminario-Colegio de San Carlos was divided into two: one as seminary only for priestly training, and another as San Carlos College, a private school, which was then transferred on P. Del Rosario Street. The seminary remained on Martires Street.

On August 9, 1934, the SVD missionaries replaced the Vincentians as the new administrators of the institution.

New courses and programs were added to the curriculum, then more SVD missionaries arrived to reinforce the teaching staff, but World War 2 broke out.

"The intention was very clear to upgrade the Colegio into a university, but plan was disrupted and the momentum of progress was interrupted by World War 2. The destructive and violent of the war led the faculty and alumni of San Carlos to fight and perish," Cellan said.

After the war, the remaining SVD fathers, alumni, and other stakeholders worked hand-in-hand in funding the reconstruction of the war-torn school. In August 1945, the college accepted its first enrollees.

On April 6, 1948, then Education secretary Manuel Gallegos granted the “university” status of the school.

"Within a year and in a half, just a year and in half after the war ended, Colegio de San Carlos rose from the ashes of war and on the 1st of July, 1948, it was granted the university status," Cellan added.

Key projects

He said the recent events, including the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, inspired the university to propel forward to the next level, with the focus now on education reform.

"Meanwhile, the disruption in the education, in the industry, and in the society brought by the Covid-19 pandemic will continue to be felt for years to come. We are not out of the woods yet. But as we look ahead and respond to the pandemic and post-pandemic realities, humanity has been made to realize as how fragile the world is, yet at the same time, how powerful and persuasive dreams and imagination are," Cellan said.

As the university celebrates it Diamond Jubilee year, it embarked on four key projects called “Rise” to raise education funds.

Rise stands for Research, Infrastructure, Scholarship, and Endowment.

It has allotted P800 million for the projects.

The University Research Agenda focuses on adding valuable contribution to science, technology, and management of human, food, water, waste and energy resources in the region with ethical, humanist, transformative, and catholic perspective.

The Research priority areas are aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) in poverty and inequality issues; good health and wellbeing; quality education; clean and water sanitation; affordable and clean energy; decent work and economic growth; industry, innovation, and infrastructure; sustainable cities and communities; and climate change.

The administrators have also eyed additional infrastructure to level up and respond to the changing education landscape, as they aim to transform the school’s facilities into smart and green university.

USC, through the years, has played a pivotal role that helped shape Cebu and the rest of the country through quality Christian education, research work, and community extension services. (EHP)

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