Trinity University of Asia marks 50 years of service

February 21, 2013


Prime Bishop Edward Malacdan of the Philippines celebrates Thanksgiving Mass at Trinity University of Asia’s Golden Jubilee Feb. 4 in Quezon City. The Rev. Canon James G. Callaway, General Secretary of the Colleges and Universities of the Anglican Communion, sixth from right, preached during the service. Photo/Colleges and Universities of the Anglican Communion

[Colleges and Universities of the Anglican Communion] Fifty years ago, the Philippine Independent Church and the Philippine Episcopal Church drafted a concordat that envisioned developing an educational institution to nurture the nation’s youth in academic excellence and help them grow as responsible citizens.

In 1963, Bishop Lyman Ogilby, the last American bishop of the Philippine Episcopal Church, used seed money donated by Bishop Paul Matthews of New Jersey, and by Elsie Proctor, granddaughter of the founder of Proctor and Gamble Company, to purchase the former Capitol City College in order to establish Trinity College Quezon City. It was named after another Episcopal College, Trinity College of Hartford, Connecticut USA whose president was Bishop Olgiby’s father, who had served as a missionary in the Philippines before him.

A week of festivities for the school’s 50th Anniversary was highlighted on Feb. 5 by a Thanksgiving Eucharist in the new University Chapel with the Most Rev. Edward Malecdan, Prime Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines, as celebrant. The Rev. Canon James G. Callaway, General Secretary of the Colleges and Universities of the Anglican Communion (CUAC) was the preacher, drawing on the Gospel reading from Matthew, known as “the Parable of the Talents.”

Referring to Bishop Ogilby’s decision to invest the Procter legacy in founding Trinity, he said: “In the life of the young republic, then seventeen years old, the bishop chose to launch a Christian College of high standards as the most urgent opportunity the church had to prepare for the future of the country and her citizens.”

Mr. Sam Macdonald, Deputy Chief Operating Officer of The Episcopal Church, gave greetings from Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.

Trinity’s destiny was presaged by the boldly-carved Latin motto over its main entrance: Pro Deo et Patria, “For God and Country.” Trinity’s first president, Dr. Arthur L. Carson, took this as a challenge to build a solid, strong foundation that could grow into the vital national resource the young nation would need. His successors each built upon that foundation, and Trinity’s current president, Dr. Josefina S. Sumaya, has developed the institution’s potential even further. More than a decade of Dr. Sumaya’s leadership has seen the school achieve university status as Trinity University of Asia in 2006, followed in 2008 by “Autonomous” status and an ISO certification by Societae Generale de Surveilance.

Dr. Sumaya, who currently serves as president of the Federation of Asia-Pacific Colleges to which Trinity belongs, noted, “I knew that only by achieving the highest recognition of excellence could Trinity University live out its mission to the country and the future.”

In pursuit of that mission, Trinity has expanded its capacity through the years in ways that broadened its ability to serve the people of the Philippines. Examples include its early merger with the adjacent St. Luke’s Hospital School of Nursing; the introduction of a medical technology course in 1966-67; and the opening of its Graduate School in 1985. Trinity’s original three academic courses in the 1960s—Liberal Arts, Education, and Business Administration—have grown and broadened into eight fields of study today: Broadcasting, Media Communication, Biology, Psychology, Medical Technology, Hotel and Restaurant Management, Tourism Management, and Computer and Information Science. Today over 5,000 students on two campuses engage in studies ranging from basic education to graduate-level research.

These academic improvements are being bolstered both by enhancements to the physical plant and by resources for character development of the students. Bequests from American Episcopalians built Mary Niven Alston Hall in 2000 to house Trinity’s pre-school; in 2006 it was renovated and repurposed as a hostel—making it an on-site laboratory for the College of Hospitality and Tourism Management. And the Brown Fellow Foundation and Ann Keim Barsam gave Trinity seed money to launch a series of lectures on value formation: individuals distinguished in their chosen fields of specialization take up a week-long residency to dialogue with faculty, students, and staff.

This rich heritage of history and continuing service offered much to celebrate in the service designed by the university’s chaplain, the Rev. Edwin J. Ayabo, with the theme “TUA@50: Achieving our Golden Dreams.” Highlighting the Thanksgiving Eucharist was the presentation of seventy-five faculty and staff members honored for their loyal, dedicated service to the University, culminating with the recognition of Dr. Sumaya’s own fifty years at Trinity. The week’s other varied activities included a Float Parade in downtown Manila, homecomings, exhibits, field demonstrations of the types of outreach undertaken by Trinity students, and a Battle of Student Bands. Earlier in the week, a “Celebration of Gratitude” program paid tribute to the many organizations and people who paved the way for the growth and success of Trinity University of Asia. One of the organizations so honored was CUAC, in which Trinity has been active from the days of its founding by the Episcopal Church, along with its American chapter, the Association of Episcopal Colleges (AEC).

Long known as a pioneer for engaging students in Service Learning, the breadth and depth of Trinity University of Asia’s own service “For God and Country” earns it a respected spot, not only in the Philippines, but also in Asia and the Pacific—and in the hearts of all whose lives it touches.