Rector Magnificus of the University of Santo Tomas

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Rector Magnificus of the University of Santo Tomas
Seal of the University of Santo Tomas.svg
The Rev. Herminio Dagohoy, O.P.
The Rev. Herminio Dagohoy, O.P., Ph.D.

since 4 June 2012
Style His Magnificence
Residence University of Santo Tomas Main Building
Sampaloc, Manila
Nominator Members of the Order of Preachers of the University, the Academic Senate, and the Board of Trustees of the University
Appointer Zenon Cardinal Grocholewski
Term length 4 years,
no term limit
Inaugural holder Domingo González
Formation ca. 1612

The Rector Magnificus of the University of Santo Tomas is the highest-ranking officer and chief administrator of the University of Santo Tomas (UST), the oldest and the largest Catholic university in Manila, Philippines. The rector typically sits as chief executive and chair of the university board of trustees. He exercises policy-making as well as general academic, managerial, and religious functions over all university academic and non-academic staff. His term lasts for four years and he is qualified for re-election for two or more terms.[1]

In theory, the highest official of the University is the Chancellor, but his role is largely ceremonial and he does not exercise authority over the day-to-day operations of the University. The current Master of the Order of Preachers is the de facto Chancellor of the University and the Head of the Dominican Province in the Philippines serves as his de facto vice.

The incumbent rector is the Rev. Herminio V. Dagohoy, O.P.

Selection process[edit]


Since the establishment of UST in 1611, in order to serve as Rector Magnificus of the University, one must be:[1][2]


Early years[edit]

During the early years of UST, the selection of new rector took place during the elective chapters meetings which were formally assembled in every two years. These board meetings were constituted by the different superiors of the Dominican houses throughout the Philippines. Among themselves, the heads of the Dominican convents then nominate their three candidates. The list of three candidates selected for rectorship is called a ternia. The ternia shall be then conveyed to the Master General in Rome for his approval once the provincial chapter has generated the list of nominees.[1]

The pontification of the rector magnificus during the eighteenth century was coded by the statute similar to that being used at the University of Mexico during that time.[1]

Current method[edit]

Nowadays, a new rector is being selected by process of election. The outset of the election is the selection of three candidates for rectorship through a secret balloting among the members of Saint Thomas Aquinas Priory in UST. The group shall then communicate with the Vice-Grand Chancellor the list of candidates they had selected. Also the prior of the Dominicans in the Philippines, the Vice-Grand Chancellor will pass the list to the Academic Senate and to the Board of Trustees. Through this process, rank of preference for the candidates is being determined with their credentials and eligibility being evaluated.[1][2]

The Board of Trustees will then present decision and recommendations to the Vice-Grand Chancellor for dissemination to the Roman Curia, headed by the Master General. A candidate will be designated by the Master General, who requests the Congregation for Catholic Education in the Vatican City for the required nulla osta and, eventually, for the final approval of the nomination.[1][2]

Once nothing impedes the nomination (after conducting the usual procedures of inquiry regarding the candidate's merits), a pertinent rescript is issued by the Congregation for Catholic Education. This document is sent to the Master General of the Order of Preachers, who communicates the act to the competent authorities of the Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas.

This custom of electing rectors, which usually takes three to four months,[2] was observed when UST was bestowed the title of "Pontifical University". This election method was first implemented as Fr. Manuel Arellano, O.P. was elected rector of the University in 1923.[1]


Although records show that tenures lasted two years during the 1600s to the 1800s, the term of office for the University's rector magnificus is four years. He is eligible for re-election for two or more terms.[1]


Vacancies in the office of the rector may arise under several possible circumstances: death and resignation.

As stated in Article 11 of the General Statutes of UST, an acting assignment applies to a vacant position by which the Vice-Rector of the University de facto assumes the acting post until the duly appointment of a new rector magnificus.[3]


Leonardo Legaspi's Collar
Maces of the Rector Magnificus


The Collar of the Rector signifies the joint powers of the Holy See and the Philippine Government, which collaborate to sustain this historic University. It is also symbolic of the supreme teaching authority of the Rector as a professor of the University. The collar was first used during the installation of the first Filipino rector, Archbishop Leonardo Legaspi, O.P., S.Th.D., in 1971.[4]


The two maces symbolize the spiritual and temporal powers of the Rector Magnificus as the highest authority of the University. Made of pure silver and measuring 95 x 15 centimetres in diameter, the maces have existed since the 17th century and has been used in academic processions ever since. Candidates for doctoral degrees were accompanied by the Rector in a parade called Paseo de los Doctores from Intramuros to Santo Domingo Church, where University commencement exercises were held until the 17th century.[5]

Today, members of the Academic Senate hold processions at the opening of each academic year and during solemn investitures in academic gowns, following the style of Spanish academic regalia. The maces are borne by bedeles ("macebearers"), and are included in the parade for their academic symbolism.[4][5]

List of rectores magnifici[edit]

Since its foundation in 1611, the University of Santo Tomas has been under the leadership of 109 rectors including acting rectors and double term service. Thirteen of which are rectors prior to its conversion to university status in 1645,[6] and the remaining 96 are university rectors.

Fr. Domingo González, O.P. was the first college rector while Fr. Martin Real de la Cruz, O.P. served as the first university rector and chancellor.[6] The university had ten acting rectors, and four of which have been appointed as rector magnificus afterwards, namely: Fr. Francisco Gomez (1714–1716), Fr. Juan Alvarez (1722–1723), Fr. Eugenio Jordan (1944–1948), and Fr. Rolando de la Rosa (2008–2012).

The rector who served the longest term, but not necessarily consecutively, was also the first rector of the then Colegio de Nuestra Señora del Santísimo Rosario, Fr. Domingo González, O.P. He served for four terms, for a total of 15 years. The second longest term, though not consecutively, was held by Fr. Rolando V. de la Rosa, O.P. who served from 1990 to 1998, and from 2007 to 2012 for a total of 13 years. Meanwhile, it was Fr. Francisco Ayala, O.P. who served the longest consecutive term, his rectorship having lasted for 12 years, from 1829 to 1841.[1]

Fr. Silvestre Sancho, O.P. (1936–1941)
Fr. Eugenio Jordan, O.P. (1941–1944, acting rector; 1944–1948, rector magnificus)
Fr. Angel de Blas, O.P. (1948–1952)
Fr. Jesus Castañon, O.P. (1952–1960)
Fr. Ciriaco Pedrosa, O.P. (1960–1961, acting Rector)
Fr. Juan Labrador, O.P. (1961–1965)
Fr. Jesús Diaz, O.P. (1965–1970)
Fr. Leonardo Legaspi, O.P. (1971–1977)
Fr. Frederik Fermin, O.P. (1978–1982)
Fr. Norberto Castillo, O.P. (1982–1986; 1986–1990)
     – Rector without double term service but served for two or more terms
     – Rector with double term service and served for three or more terms
     – Rector with double term service only
 ^  – Acting rector
 2  – Served for nth term
 X  – Served as an acting rector for a short period of time; is not counted
# Order Term Name
College rectors (April 1611–November 1645)
1 1 1612–1616 Fr. Domingo González, O.P.
2 2 1616–1617 Fr. Lorenzo de Porras, O.P.
3 3 1617–1619 Fr. Antonio Gutierrez, O.P.
4 4 1619–1621 Fr. Baltasar Fort, O.P.
5 5 1621–1625 Fr. Tomás de Villar, O.P.
6 6 1625–1626 Fr. Lucas García, O.P.
7 7 1626–1633 Fr. Domingo Gonzáles, O.P.
8 8 1633–1637 Fr. Francisco de Herrera, O.P.
9 9 1637–1639 Fr. Francisco de Paula, O.P.
10 10 1639–1641 Fr. Domingo González, O.P.
11 11 1641–1643 Fr. Lucas Ruiz de Montanero, O.P.
12 12 1643–1645 Fr. Domingo González, O.P.
13 13 1645–1646 Fr. Francisco de Paula, O.P.
University rectors (November 1645–present)
1646–1648 Fr. Francisco de Paula, O.P.
14 1 1648–1650 Fr. Martin Real de la Cruz, O.P.
15 2 1650–1652 Fr. Jeronimo de Zamora, O.P.
16 3 1652–1654 Fr. Felipe Pardo, O.P.
1654–1656 Fr. Felipe Pardo, O.P.
17 4 1656–1657 Fr. Francisco de Paula, O.P.
18 5 1657–1659 Fr. Pedro de la Fuente, O.P.
19 6 1659–1661 Fr. Andrés de Haro, O.P.
20 7 1661–1663 Fr. Juan de los Angeles, O.P.
21 8 1663–1665 Fr. Francisco Sánchez, O.P.
22 9 1665–1667 Fr. Diego de San Roman, O.P.
1667–1669 Fr. Diego de San Roman, O.P.
23 10 1669–1671 Fr. Juan de Paz, O.P.
1671–1673 Fr. Juan de Paz, O.P.
24 11 1673–1675 Fr. Baltasar de Santa Cruz, O.P.
1675–1677 Fr. Baltasar de Santa Cruz, O.P.
25 12 1677–1678 Fr. Juan de Paz, O.P.
26 13 1678–1680 Fr. Manuel de Mercadillo, O.P.
1680–1682 Fr. Manuel de Mercadillo, O.P.
27 14 1682–1684 Fr. Juan de Santa Maria, O.P.
28 15 1684–1686 Fr. Bartolome Marron, O.P.
29 16 1686–1690 Fr. Raimundo Berart, O.P.
1690–1692 Fr. Raimundo Berart, O.P.
30 17 1692–1694 Fr. José Vila, O.P.
1694–1696 Fr. José Vila, O.P.
31 18 1696–1698 Fr. Bartolome Marron, O.P.
1698–1700 Fr. Bartolome Marron, O.P.
32 19 1700–1702 Fr. Juan Ibañez, O.P.
33 20 1702–1706 Fr. Juan de Santa Maria, O.P.
34 21 1706–1710 Fr. Pedro Mejorada, O.P.
35 22 1710–1713 Fr. Francisco Ruiz, O.P.
36 23 1713 Fr. Francisco Gomez, O.P.^
1714–1716 Fr. Francisco Gomez, O.P.
37 24 1716–1718 Fr. Francisco Barrera, O.P.
38 25 1718–1721 Fr. Cristobal Alonso, O.P.
39 26 1721 Fr. Juan Alvarez, O.P.^
1722–1723 Fr. Juan Alvarez, O.P.
40 27 1723–1725 Fr. Antonio Varela, O.P.
41 28 1725–1727 Fr. Antonio Argollanes, O.P.
42 29 1727–1729 Fr. Cristobal Alonso, O.P.
43 30 1729–1733 Fr. José Perez, O.P.
44 31 1733–1735 Fr. Tomas Canduela, O.P.
45 32 1735–1737 Fr. Juan de Arechederra, O.P.
46 33 1737–1740 Fr. Diego Saenz, O.P.
47 34 1741–1743 Fr. Vicente de Salazar, O.P.
48 35 1743–1745 Fr. Juan de Arechederra, O.P.
49 36 1745–1747 Fr. Antonio Lavarias, O.P.^
50 37 1747–1751 Fr. Bernardo Ustariz, O.P.
51 38 1751–1753 Fr. Juan Alvarez, O.P.
52 39 1753–1755 Fr. Francisco Carriedo, O.P.
53 40 1755–1757 Fr. Francisco Quintana, O.P.
54 41 1757–1759 Fr. Antonio Calonge, O.P.
55 42 1759–1763 Fr. Diego Serrano, O.P.
56 43 1763–1765 Fr. Joaquin del Rosario, O.P.
57 44 1765–1767 Fr. Miguel Garcia, O.P.
58 45 1767–1769 Fr. Lorenzo Sarroca, O.P.^
59 46 1769–1773 Fr. Joaquin del Rosario, O.P.
60 47 1774–1777 Fr. Juan Fernandez, O.P.
61 48 1777–1785 Fr. Domingo Collantes, O.P.
62 49 1786 Fr. José Muñoz, O.P.
63 50 1786–1789 Fr. Pedro Martir Fernandez, O.P.^
64 51 1789–1794 Fr. Nicolas Cora, O.P.
65 52 1794–1798 Fr. Domingo Bruno, O.P.
66 53 1798–1800 Fr. Antonio Robles, O.P.
67 54 1800–1803 Fr. Francisco Genoves, O.P.
68 55 1806–1810 Fr. José Burrillo, O.P.
69 56 1810–1817 Fr. Francisco Alban, O.P.
70 57 1817–1825 Fr. Carlos Abrea, O.P.
71 58 1825–1826 Fr. Francisco Genoves, O.P.
72 59 1826–1828 Fr. Carlos Abrea, O.P.
73 60 1828–1829 Fr. Francisco de Sales Mora, O.P.
74 61 1829–1841 Fr. Francisco Ayala, O.P.
75 62 1842–1845 Fr. Vicente Ayala, O.P.
76 63 1845–1847 Fr. Juan Ferrando, O.P.
77 64 1847–1849 Fr. Jose Fuixa, O.P.
78 65 1849–1851 Fr. Vicente Ayala, O.P.
79 66 1851–1855 Fr. Juan Bautista Reig, O.P.
80 67 1855–1863 Fr. Domingo Treserra, O.P.
81 68 1863–1867 Fr. Francisco Rivas, O.P.
82 69 1867–1874 Fr. Domingo Treserra, O.P.
83 70 1874–1878 Fr. Benio Corominas, O.P.
84 71 1878–1880 Fr. Joaquin Fonseca, O.P.
85 72 1880–1881 Fr. Pedro Marcos, O.P.
86 73 1881–1890 Fr. Gregorio Echevarria, O.P.
87 74 1890–1894 Fr. Matias Gomez, O.P.
88 75 1894–1900 Fr. Santiago Paya, O.P.
89 76 1900–1909 Fr. Raimundo Velazquez, O.P.
90 77 1910–1914 Fr. José Noval, O.P.
91 78 1914–1917 Fr. Serapio Tamayo, O.P.
92 79 1917–1923 Fr. Acisclo Alfageme, O.P.
93 80 1923–1926 Fr. Manuel Arellano, O.P.
94 81 1926–1936 Fr. Serapio Tamayo, O.P.
95 82 1936–1941 Fr. Silvestre Sancho, O.P.
96 83 1941–1944 Fr. Eugenio Jordan, O.P.^
1944–1948 Fr. Eugenio Jordan, O.P.
97 84 1948–1952 Fr. Angel de Blas, O.P.
98 85 1953–1960 Fr. Jesus Castañon, O.P.
99 86 1960–1961 Fr. Ciriaco Pedrosa, O.P.^
100 87 1961–1965 Fr. Juan Labrador, O.P.
101 88 1965–1970 Fr. Jesús Diaz, O.P.
102 89 1971–1977 Fr. Leonardo Z. Legaspi, O.P.
103 90 1978–1981 Fr. Frederik Fermin, O.P.
X X 1981–1982 Fr. Efren O. Rivera, O.P.^
104 91 1982–1986 Fr. Norberto M. Castillo, O.P.
1986–1990 Fr. Norberto M. Castillo, O.P.
105 92 1990–1994 Fr. Rolando V. de la Rosa, O.P.
1994–1998 Fr. Rolando V. de la Rosa, O.P.
106 93 1998–2002 Fr. Tamerlane R. Lana, O.P.
2002–2006 Fr. Tamerlane R. Lana, O.P.
107 94 2006–2007 Fr. Ernesto M. Arceo, O.P.
108 95 2007–2008 Fr. Rolando V. de la Rosa, O.P.^
2008–2012 Fr. Rolando V. de la Rosa, O.P.
X X 2012 Fr. Pablo T. Tiong, O.P.^
109 96 2012–present Fr. Herminio V. Dagohoy, O.P.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Asuncion, R.J.A. & Medenilla, S.R.P. (2008-06-10). "History of the Rectorship". The Varsitarian 79 (12). Retrieved 2012-03-25. 
  2. ^ a b c d Madrid, R.D. (2012-03-13). "4th term for De la Rosa mulled". The Varsitarian 83 (11). Retrieved 2012-04-03. 
  3. ^ Magturo, D.J. (2012-04-03). "Acting rector named". The Varsitarian. Retrieved 2012-04-03. 
  4. ^ a b Rector's regalia heighten pomp and pageantry The Varsitarian website Accessed 17 August 2012
  5. ^ a b The Maces of the Rector Magnificus The Nostalgic Thomasian Accessed August 28, 2013
  6. ^ a b "The UST Rectors throughout the centuries". The Varsitarian 79 (12). 2008-06-10. Retrieved 2012-03-25.