Interdisciplinary research institute named after Wilcon Depot founder to rise in UST Santa Rosa

On January 26, 2024, the University of Santo Tomas held the groundbreaking rites of the UST Santa Rosa – Dr. William T. Belo Interdisciplinary Research Institute (UST-WitBIRIn), adding the second edifice to the research and innovation-focused extension campus.

The Future is in Santa Rosa
UST Rector Rev. fr. Richard G. Ang, O.P., PhD said that this important edifice symbolizes the continued fulfillment of UST’s hope and dreams in Santa Rosa, Laguna as it complements two of UST’s goals: enrichment of research ecosystem and synergy among disciplines. “Interdisciplinary approach is valuable since it takes into account diverse perspectives to solve complex problems. No one discipline has the monopoly of all solutions and answers. We will have to all work together,” fr. Ang said.

Slated to become a hub that sharpens creativity and enhance the skillsets of Thomasian researchers, while fostering a more efficient utilization of resources, UST-WitBIRIn will be a niche of harmonious collaborations and breakthroughs that will shape the society through its six interdisciplinary areas, namely:

1) Food, Security, and Safety

2) Health and Well-being

3) Energy

4) Environmental Sustainability

5) Information and Communications

6) Materials and Product Innovation

Named after the Wilcon Depot Founder who generously donated for the construction of the edifice, UST-WitBIRIn is the first of the three important institutes that will comprise the UST Sta. Rosa Research Complex (UST StaRRCo). In his message, fr. Ang pledged to the Sta. Rosa, Laguna local government officials, namely, Mayor Arlene Arcillas and Vice-Mayor Arnold Arcillas, that this edifice stands as a beacon of change that is envisioned to make Sta. Rosa as the “Smartest City” in Luzon.

Vice-Rector for Research and Innovation Rev. fr. Jannel N. Abogado, O.P., DThPatSc also highlighted that UST-WitBIRIn will aid the University in its mission to make an impact to people’s lives and society more efficiently through its research and innovation goals.

In his message, Dr. William T. Belo, a class 1973 alumnus of the Faculty of Engineering, expressed his gratitude to the Thomasian Community that enabled the construction of a research institute where great minds and learners can all get togethe for the love of advancing knowledge and uplifting people and society’s lives.

“UST has been consistent in determining and fulfilling her mission to generate advanced knowledge to form competent, compassionate graduates. This interdisciplinary institute is envisioned to provide a setting for the professors and students to work in synergy together,” Belo said.

On September 28, 2023, the University of Santo Tomas conferred the Doctor of Commerce degree, honoris causa, upon Faculty of Engineering alumnus to Bello.

JSLA Architects co-founder and partner Ana Mangalino-Ling shared that the edifice will house 25 laboratories. The said edifice stands as a testament to the fusion of classical inspiration with a modern interpretation, boasting a design that embodies key concepts of symmetry, balance, and proportion.

“The design speaks of the enduring knowledge remaining infinite, and through across different perspectives, time, places, fields, and professions.” Mangalino-Ling said.

UST-WitBIRIn spans 8,311 square meters and stands at 23.20 meters.

The JSLA Architects and the Monolith Construction and Development Corporation will spearhead the construction of UST Sta. Rosa – WitBIRIn.

The time capsule containing news clippings, a rosary, a Dominican cross, and other mementos were buried in the site, in solemn ceremonies witnessed by university officials, researchers, and industry partners.

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