Step aside UP Diliman, here comes UP Global
The country’s premier state university has a sleek new campus—University of the Philippines Bonifacio Global City (UP BGC)—at the heart of the bustling central business district, thanks to tycoon Henry Sy Sr., who built and donated a P400-million building meant for postgraduate programs.
The nine-level UP BGC building, which is named after the SM patriarch, is ready to start offering postgraduate courses in the coming schoolyear starting August.
The satellite campus, which stands on a 4,300-square-meter lot in Taguig City earlier donated by state-run Bases Conversion Development Authority, is the 17th campus under the UP System.
“This new campus of UP in BGC will bring UP closer to those who need the professional programs that we offer. Given the commuting challenge that we have in Metro Manila, the attractiveness of a place for whatever you do depends on how accessible it is,” UP president Alfredo Pascual said in an interview during the turnover ceremonies on Tuesday.
“We’re targeting here the professionals—people who are already working, for their executive development programs and continuing education programs. Also, the venue can start offering programs geared for the international market,” Pascual said.
The new campus also brings the UP professional schools closer to the alumni and other professionals who want to teach but are not able to travel to the main campus at UP Diliman in Quezon City.
The new satellite campus spans a total area of 12,000 square meters and will house 29 classrooms, three laboratories, a study area called learning commons, faculty lounges, an auditorium, a moot court or a venue for simulated court proceedings for law students, a multipurpose hall, discussion rooms, office spaces and an executive lounge.
The campus also comes with a multilevel basement parking area.
“It is with great pride that we turn over today the Henry Sy Sr. Hall to the highly esteemed University of the Philippines here at BGC. The building carries no less than my father’s name whose prime advocacy is education,” SM Prime Holdings president Hans Sy said when he turned over the facility to UP on Tuesday.
“He worked hard and sacrificed so much early in his life just to be able to receive formal education. He wants the same for every Filipino,” he added.
Postgraduate classes will be held on the new campus. The UP College of Law will offer an evening Juris Doctor program. The Cesar E. Virata School of Business will offer MBA and DBA classes starting 2017.
Other UP Diliman units that will offer postgraduate studies at UP BGC include the College of Engineering, School of Statistics, School of Urban and Regional Planning, School of Labor and Industrial Relations, and College of Architecture.
The new campus is on BGC’s 32nd Street, next to International School and close to C-5 highway. Based on BGC’s master plan, this is the area designated for academic institutions.
Sy said the donation was made through the family-led SM Investments Corp. This conglomerate is the most valuable in the stock market to date, with a market capitalization of P658 billion. It is the biggest player in the Philippine property, banking and retail businesses.
“This is really my father’s advocacy. He always really wanted to encourage people to (pursue) education,” Hans Sy said.
“We would eventually want to give to all schools. It just so happened that UP is among the first schools,” he said.
He added that even if none of the Sy children had gone to UP, the donation would show everyone that the SM group was not keen on supporting only its controlling owners’ alma mater.
“We will continuously invest in education for the people,” he said.
In 2012, SM Investments donated P300 million to De La Salle University, where some of the Sy children had studied. The money was used for the construction of a new building likewise called Henry Sy Sr. Hall.
In the case of UP BGC, the younger Sy said the group itself had built the facility and turned over the completed project to UP. For other regular projects of this magnitude, he said it would have easily cost P500 million. “As you know, we always ride along with SM’s volume of purchasing,” he said.
UP itself provided the “Oblation”—the icon of UP. “We don’t want to make any mistake there,” Sy said.
It took the project about a year and a half to be completed since the signing of the deal between UP and SM to put up a professional schools building.
Asked whether the project had stirred as much controversy as when the College of Business Administration was renamed, UP president Pascual said: “You know, in UP, there are some groups with ideological beliefs that are not compatible with business. But the silent majority, the big majority by far, are supportive.”
UP is also SM’s longtime partner in its nationwide college scholarship program under SM Foundation Inc. Through this program, SM provides free college education to thousands of deserving students from low-income families. TVJ
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