Philippines

University of Santo Tomas

Espana Blvd, Manila 1008, Philippines

University of Santo Tomas

About University of Santo Tomas

The University of Santo Tomas (UST) is the oldest existing university in Asia. The institution was established through the initiative of Miguel de Benavides, the third Archbishop of Manila. In 1605, he bequeathed a modest amount from his personal funds for the establishment of a seminary-college to prepare young men for the priesthood. Those funds and his personal library became the nucleus of the University of Santo Tomas, which was founded in 1611. UST was first called the Colegio de Nuestra Señora del Santisimo Rosario, and was later renamed Colegio de Santo Tomas, in honor of the foremost Dominican theologian, Thomas Aquinas. The original campus was located in Intramuros, the walled city of Manila. In 1624, the Colegio was authorised by the King of Spain to confer academic degrees in theology, philosophy, and the arts. In 1645, Pope Innocent X elevated the college to a university. In 1680, it was subsequently placed under the royal patronage of the Spanish monarchy. It was King Charles III of Spain who granted it the title of “Royal University” in 1785, for its exceptional loyalty in defending Manila against the British invasion. In 1902, Pope Leo XIII declared the University of Santo Tomas a “Pontifical University”, and in 1947, Pope Pius XII bestowed upon it the title of “The Catholic University of the Philippines”. In 1911, the university campus transferred from Intramuros to its present site, which covers a total of 21.5 hectares in the Sampaloc district. In terms of student population, it is the largest Catholic university in the world in a single campus. Since its establishment in 1611, the university academic life was disrupted only on two occasions: the first was from 1898 to 1899, due to the Philippine revolution against Spain; and the second time was from 1942 to 1945, when the Japanese Occupation Forces converted the UST Main building into an internment camp during the Second World War. Today, UST’s commitment to spreading the light to the youth, through education and evangelisation, has garnered reaffirmation through the recognitions it has received both in the national and international scene.