Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Ateneo to Remember (Nov 19 09)

I joined Ateneo de Manila in 1977 (or 1979?) as soon as I got my M.S. in mathematics. At that time, the college complex included Xavier Hall (Admin, Registrar), Kostka Hall (English, Humanities), Berchmans Hall (Mathematics and Management Engineering), Gonzaga Hall (Biology, Physics), Schmidt Hall (Chemistry), PIPAC Building (Philippine Institute of Pure and Applied Chemistry), Belarmine Hall (Psychology, European Languages), and the old Rizal Library (as yet without the extension building).

The new buildings came later: Colayco Hall (now MV Pangilinan Hall), Faura Hall, Dela Costa Hall, Social Sciences Building, Rizal Library Extension, Science Education Complex (A, B, C), PLDT Convergent Technologies Center, John Gokongwei School of Management, Mateo Ricci Hall, Church of the Gesu, and the First Pacific Hall housing the new Rizal Library.

Faura Hall was built at about the time when I got my PhD in Mathematics. I remember a year when an intensity seven earthquake was shaking Faura Hall up-and-down, instead of the usual sideways shaking motion of normal earthquakes. Except for superficial cracks in non-load-bearing parts, Faura is essentially undamaged, thanks to the reliable construction techniques of that time. At the time of the quake, Faura was housing Mathematics, Computer Science, and Physics.

Today, I'm very proud that Ateneo constructed three important buildings, monuments to Ateneo's dedication to academic excellence.

The First Pacific Hall that houses the new Rizal Library is probably the biggest single library building in the entire country. The Library houses the main library's collection of books, periodicals, Internet access stations, etc.

The Manny V. Pangilinan Center for Student Leadership houses the student organizations. It is the most beautiful student center in any Filipino university today.

The Mateo Ricci Hall is a student study hall. There are individual study tables, group study rooms, a coffee shop, outlets for student laptops, wifi hotspots, etc. I believe that it is the only one of its kind in our country. The building is named after the Jesuit mathematician Mateo Ricci, and is a testament to Ateneo's dedication to academic excellence.

So if you are thinking of a university which will give you a good Jesuit education that emphasizes academic excellence, maybe Ateneo de Manila is the school for you.

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