Skip to main content

UP firsts: Centennial trivia

Now that we are celebrating the University of the Philippines centennial, did you know that

Graduate degrees

UP awarded its first MA degree to a woman? Her name is Josefa Desiderio who got her MA in 1917, the year UP's grad school first produced its graduates.

The next year saw UP award its first MSc degrees to two men, Amando Clemente and Jose Mirasol.

The university also awarded its first research doctorates in 1918 in tropical medicine and public health. Before that time the university awarded professional doctorates in medicine and dentistry and of course honorary doctorates.


As early as 1922 the UP had a problem with professors salaries. Professors' salaries were way below that of other professions. (What else is new?) Profs left to teach at private universities or go overseas. (What else has changed?!)


Even as early as 1919, UP wanted (and sorely needed) bigger state subsidies. UP got 1.12 million dollars from the Philippine Insular government. Compare that to state Us in America. Michigan got 13.79, Minnesota 8.946, Iowa 9.22 and Ohio 6.994. The president of UP was then an American, Dr Guy Potter Benton and he was already concerned about decreasing state support.

There was even talk of UP being privatized! Some politicians believed that the university was a waste of money! (Nothing has changed!)

The politician who took issue about the budget and opposed these moves was no other than Senate President Manuel L Quezon. Quezon later would be elected as first President of the Philippine Commonwealth.

Academic costume brouhaha!

Benton appointed a committee to design the university academic costume. The university regents approved a gown in white as an"adaptation" to the tropical climate. The students found it silly and in 1922 the UP decided to adopt the usual black gown.

I wonder if the "sablay" committee read the minutes of the board of regents about this acrimonious debate in 1920-1921.

Source: Jamias C. (1963) The University of the Philippines First Half Century. The Diliman Review, UP Diliman, Quezon City.


Popular posts from this blog

Simoun's lamp has been lit, finally.. not by one but by the many!

"So often have we been haunted by the spectre of subversion which, with some fostering, has come to be a positive and real being, whose very name steals our serenity and makes us commit the greatest blunders... If before the reality, instead of changing the fear of one is increased, and the confusion of the other is exacerbated, then they must be left in the hands of time..."
Dr Jose Rizal "To the Filipino People and their Government"
Jose Rizal dominates the Luneta, which is sacred to the Philippine nation as a place of martyrdom. And many perhaps all of those executed in the Luneta, with the exception of the three Filipino secular priests martyred in 1872, have read Rizal's El Filibusterismo. Dr Rizal's second novel is a darker and more sinister one that its prequel but has much significance across the century and more after it was published for it preaches the need for revolution with caveats,  which are when the time is right and who will instigate it.

President Manuel Luis Quezon's Code of Ethics

Being a denizen of Kyusi, in honour of the man who gave my city its name and for being the most colourful prez the Philippines ever had, I have the pleasure to post Manuel L Quezon's Code of Ethics on his birthday. Let us profit from the wisdom of the Kastila.

1. Have Faith in the Divine Providence that guides the destinies of men and nations.

2. Love your country for it is the home of your people, the seat of your affection and the source of your happiness and well-being. It's defense is your primary duty. Be ready to sacrifice and die for it if necessary.

3. Respect the Constitution which is the expression of your sovereign will. The government is your government. It has been established for your safety and welfare. Obey the laws and see that they are observed by all and that public officials comply with their duties.

4. Pay your taxes willingly and promptly. Citizenship implies not only rights but obligations.

5. Safeguard the purity of suffrage and abide by the decisions of the…

Flame trees in bloom

The hottest summer courtesy of El Nino in at least 10 years gave runners and walkers in the University of the Philippines Diliman campus a visual treat. This year the flame trees Delonix regia are in full bloom!
In past summers it wasn't as hot and dry so the trees did not shed their leaves and few blooms were produced.
It is the tropical version of the Japanese Hanami or the Cherry blossom viewing season. While Hanami tells us the fragile impermanence of beauty, the flame tree hanami tells us that summer burns but soon it will all be over.