Recently, DLSU renamed its different colleges, specifically the College of Business (COB) and the College of Engineering to the Ramon V. Del Rosario Jr.-College of Business (RVR-COB) and the Gokongwei College of Engineering (GCOE) respectively.
These institutions were both named after two alumni who relentlessly furnished endowments for further development of their respective colleges and for the University in general.
Endowments are given by university donors to continue a legacy of a certain individual by negotiating it as a trust or endowment fund. The interest is the one that is consumed and not the fund itself. It is a way to acquire funds that the university needs; it is only one way in which universities acquire funds. Alumni, in some cases give monetary donations not as a form of endowment, while some provide land for construction.
Both colleges received a reported and unconfirmed P250 million endowment each excluding other donations such as the improvement of facilities for the GCOE.
Getting endowments is a two-way process; the donors approach the University and the University contacts possible donors. These donors are previous alumni, scholars, education advocates and the like.
For the University’s part, a representative is tasked to build relationships with prospective donor. The representative sets appointments, prepares proposals and eventually sends them to the donors. Naming colleges is also a form of endowment. Thus, the same process is done though a committee is made to discuss the naming of a certain college.
The committee follows certain criteria in making a judgment; they do not just consider the endowment offer, but also consider the credentials of the person, and if the person upholds the true meaning of being a Lasallian. Dean of the School of Economics (SOE), Dr. Winfred Villamil explains that the person should be a man of integrity, and should have contributions to the society.
In the past, the decision to name a college or a building was informal. The brothers discussed among themselves the merits of a person, and they made the approval.
Today, DLSU holds many endowments for the University’s various social and academic projects.
The move towards finding endowments is a common practice among universities worldwide. Harvard for instance allows the naming of rooms, and other university necessities to acquire additional funding and support.
In the same manner, DLSU uses different types of endowments namely scholarships, professorial chairs, naming rights and physical structures. The university also receives donations, and welcomes the financial support of the alumni.
Universities in general find endowments for a specific purpose. The interest gained from the endowment is used for that specific purpose.
Funds from an endowment cannot be used for any other purpose. Hence, scholarships, as the name implies, cover scholarship grants. Professorial chairs cover professor’s research needs.
Naming rights involve a certain body or entity that acquires the right of naming a certain facility or structure. For instance, the RVR-COB and GCOE fall under this category.
Is there really a need?
The need to gather funds for research, buildings and other facilities that DLSU needs, stems from the results of a study conducted on the cost of a Lasallian education. The study discovered that student tuitions, which comprise more than 80 percent of DLSU’s just barely covers the costs associated with teaching such as salaries, and does not even include spending for research and additional facilities. Thus, building and developing structures come from the mentioned engagements.
Villamil, explains that the lack of endowments pose problems in terms of attracting good faculty. “The problem here in DLSU is that we cannot attract good faculty because of the lack of facilities,” he explains.
Some students, on the other hand, believe that naming involves commercializing the University and its colleges.
University fellow, Dr. Tereso Tullao points out, however, that there is nothing wrong with naming colleges and points to the need for better facilities for the students and the professors. Student Veronica Dy (III, PSM), agrees and furthers that naming helps with the expenses of the University. She even goes on to ask why her college is not named after an influential person.
Immortality does not come cheap
Naming and other forms of endowments do not come cheap. The naming of the two colleges gave DLSU a reported and unconfirmed P500 million endowment in total.
Finding endowments is the best way to receive additional funds for a university though DLSU professors and departments are known for receiving grants for research.
The new name of a college, however, does not last forever as the names only last for a reported 25 years subject to extension.