The College of Liberal Arts (CLA), in the launching of its year-long commemoration of its centenary anniversary, filled the schedule of the Lasallian Mission Week (LMW) last November 9 with a series of talks hosted by its departments, and culminated with an evening program.
A century hence
Among the hosted lectures was the brown bag session hosted by the Filipino Department as they discussed their award-winning Manunggul Jar Project—an educational program for teaching language and culture to the Filipino youth in Venice, Italy conducted through three month-long courses from 2015 to 2018.
The Literature Department and the Bienvenido N. Santos Creative Writing Center featured two multi-awarded literary artists, poet Dr. Dinah Roma and film director Joey Reyes, both alumni of the department and now professors in the college. The two speakers narrated their experiences as Literature majors in DLSU and described their work as practitioners of the arts.
The History Department, along with its home organization, Sociedad de Historia, featured Lourd de Veyra and Epy Quizon in the second lecture. In a discussion format between Quizon and de Veyra, the former gave his insight on the historical figures from his recent films, Heneral Luna and Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral, particularly on the personality and life of the character he portrayed, Apolinario Mabini, within and outside the timeline of both films.
After the session, Quizon, who himself was a student of DLSU, told The LaSallian that he also shared in the college’s celebration as he hoped for the best for the future of CLA, saying that he had seen several improvements in the college since his undergraduate days. Quizon concluded by encouraging CLA, “…to go for [more extra] steps. Don’t stop in climbing the ladder; and, I’m sure you guys will rock the world one of these days.”
Preceding the discussion was a lecture by History professor Dr. Jose Victor Jimenez on the history and nature of the liberal arts as a discipline, and on the history of CLA itself.
The other sessions conducted by other departments were on Mangyan culture, social engagement, feminist theory, “pulong isip” (meeting of minds), and on the foreign services examination hosted by the International Studies Department for their 25th anniversary.
The CLA legacy
Capping the whole day of activities and formally opening CLA’s centenary year was an evening program held at the Verdure of the Henry Sy Sr. Hall and attended by college administrators, faculty, staff, home organizations, students, and alumni. The gathering, which was titled Legacy, was graced by DLSU President Br. Raymundo Suplido FSC and DLSU Chancellor Br. Bernard Oca FSC who each gave their addresses.
In his opening remarks, Suplido sought to resolve the “dichotomy” between the sciences and the liberal arts, saying that “technical and business skills can get graduates [to] the door, but an ability to think critically and communicate effectively can play an equal, if not larger, role in determining their success.” To conclude his message, Suplido ended his congratulations and wishes, encouraging the audience “to form more critical young women and men to be creative leaders needed by the 21st century and beyond.”
Oca, meanwhile, used his message to paint the identity of CLA. “We are the seekers of truths, the visionaries, the memories, the storytellers, and the voice[s] that speak through our passions,” he proclaimed. A graduate of DLSU’s Literature program, Oca compared the CLA to literary characters such as the Little Prince, Don Quixote, Hamlet, Pilosopo Tasyo, and Don Juan and his siblings, expressing how the college challenges simple thinking and explores fundamental wisdom and truths. “We are freedom fighters against the despots of limited realities,” he added.
Within the program, Jimenez gave a glimpse of the history of CLA. Starting from the post-war 1953 establishment of the School of Liberal Arts, he conveyed the several steps in the college’s historical evolution, and spoke of its core principle, which was “the commitment to provide liberal education background in the humanities and social sciences to develop the students’ competence, [and] to instill the essence of national identity and Christian orientation.”
College Dean Dr. Jazmin Llana gave the last of the speeches, stating that the century of the college’s existence is “a testament to the power of an idea—the idea of liberal arts [and] liberal arts education.” She offered her view that proper education in the liberal arts should enable thick thinking about questions on social issues and challenges. She ended by extending gratitude to the Brothers for remaining faithful to the value of humanistic education and to the power of the Liberal Arts to fulfill the Lasallian Mission.