University of Santo Tomas

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THE UNIVERSITY OF SANTO TOMAS IS THE OLDEST EXISTING UNIVERSITY in Asia. In terms of student population, it is the largest Catholic university in the world in a single campus. The institution was established through the initiative of Bishop Miguel de Benavides, O.P., the third Archbishop of Manila. On July 24, 1605, he bequeathed the amount of P1,500 and his personal library for the establishment of a “seminary-college” to prepare young men for the priesthood. Those funds, and his personal library, became the nucleus for the start of UST and its library. The founding of the University of Santo Tomas followed on April 28, 1611. The original campus was located in Intramuros, the Walled City of Manila. UST was first called Colegio de Nuestra Señora del Santisimo Rosario, and later renamed Colegio de Santo Tomas, in memory of the foremost Dominican Theologian, St. Thomas Aquinas. On July 29, 1619 the Colegio was authorized to confer academic degrees in theology and philosophy. By November 20, 1645, Pope Innocent X elevated the college to a university. In 1680, it was subsequently placed under the royal patronage of the Spanish monarchy. In 1681, Pope Innocent XI declared it a Public University of General Studies allowing it to confer other degrees. In 1734 Pope Clement XII authorized the University to confer degrees in all existing faculties as well as all others that might be introduced in the future. The Pope also approved the curriculum in the entire field of jurisprudence. During the British invasion of Manila in 1762, the University raised four companies of students and professors numbering 400 men each. These saw action in battles against the British until 1764. The expulsion of the Society of Jesus from the Philippines in 1768 left the University of Santo Tomas as the only institution of higher learning in the islands. In 1785 in recognition of the role of the students and faculty in resisting the British, King Charles III conferred the title of “loyal” to the...
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