Divine Word University of Tacloban

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Divine Word University, Tacloban City, Philippines

The Divine Word University or DWU (now known as the "Liceo del Verbo Divino") was a private, Catholic, co-educational institution of higher learning run by the Society of the Divine Word or SVD in Tacloban City, Leyte, Philippines.

Founded in 1927, it was closed in June 1995 by court ruling following labor unrest.

DWU was the biggest and best Catholic institution of higher learning in Leyte and Samar (Region VIII). At its peak, it had around 14,000 students, and a faculty complement of about 400 of the best teachers in Region VIII. It offered courses in around twenty different fields including Law and Medicine, and pioneered in indigenous research in the Region. It produced Board topnotchers year after year, and was considered a very good cost-effective alternative to more expensive private schools in Cebu and Manila for the students of Leyte and Samar.

DWU has produced around 60,000 graduates, and was a major player in the educational, religious and economic picture of Region VIII. Its closure caused severe dislocation in these areas.

Contents

History

The Divine Word Missionaries or the Society of the Divine Word had been active in the University since Frs. Eugene Stoll and Alois Paulsen began serving there in 1941. Founded in 1927 by a diocesan priest, (and later Cardinal) Fr. Julio Rosales, it had been initially called Tacloban Catholic Institute. The missionary presence continued during and after World War II, while the school changed to St. Paul's College and later, Divine Word College. In the latter 1960s, the school received university status as it continued to welcome a growing number of students from the islands of Leyte and Samar. In 1973, the college enrollment had risen to 5,300. Ten years later, this number had doubled to 10,600. The high school and elementary departments remained stable at 770 and 980 respectively. The university faculty numbered over 300, supplemented by administrative staff of 150. "DWC", as the university was affectionately called, was home to almost 13,000 faculty, staff and students in the first semester of 1983-1984 schoolyear. But in the latter months of 1984, and throughout 1985, a labor union titled the Divine Word University Faculty and Employees' Union was gradually formed. Affiliated with the Association Labor Union (ALU), a national labor group, the union called for collective bargaining with the administration of the university. Two prolonged strikes followed in 1988 and in 1989. Eventually, the case reached the Supreme Court. In 1990, a ruling was made favorable to the labor union. Out of sheer necessity and deep regret, the SVD administrators chose to close the university in June of 1995. Fr. Margarito Alingasa, SVD, has been the administrative officer of Divine Word University since June, 1995. He had led the efforts to reach a settlement with the union.


In June 2000, the Divine Word Hospital has opened St. Scholastica College of Tacloban. Courses in the following areas were offered: nursing, medical technology, biology, and pharmacy. The Janssen Building of the University is being rented for classroom use and office space.

In the early months of 2000, a DWU Jubilee Association was established in Manila in an attempt to mobilize the alumni from the university and former students, staff and friends the world over to bring the Divine Word University back to life. Local chapters of the association were planned for Tacloban City, the United States and Europe.

Highlights of DWU History

  • 1929 DWU started out as the Tacloban Catholic Institute (TCI), founded by Bishop Sofronio Hacbang of then Diocese of Leyte and Samar, Justice Norberto Romualdez, Sr., Gov. Bernardo Torres and Cong. Juan Perez of Leyte, and Educator Martin de Veyra. It was initially an elementary school with 78 students. Rt. Rev. Msgr. Vicente Figueroa was the first Director.
  • 1934 The High School Department was opened.
  • 1935 St. Therese of the Child Jesus was declared Patroness of TCI, and a chapel was dedicated in her honor.
  • 1940 Bishop Manuel Mascarinas of the Palo Diocese turned over the administration of TCI to the Society of the Divine Word (SVD). Fr. Eugene Stoll, SVD, was the first SVD Director.
  • 1942 The College Department was established under Fr. Luis Paulsen, SVD, with the opening of the Secretarial Course.
  • 1944 TCI temporarily ceased operations when the Japanese Army occupied the schoolbuildings.
  • 1946 The School reopened as St. Paul’s College of Tacloban (SPCT) with Fr. Alberto van Gansewinkel as the first Director.
  • 1958 The SVD acquired SPCT from the Diocese of Palo under Archbisop Leo Gonzaga.
  • 1965 Founding of St. Paul’s Hospital, a 100-bed general hospital, as the teaching hospital of SPCT, under the administration of the Benedictine Sisters (OSB). SPCT now became the Divine Word College of Tacloban (DWCT) with Fr. Ernest Hoerdemann, SVD, as the first President of the College.
  • 1966 DWCT achieved university status, and became Divine Word University of Tacloban (DWU), with Fr. Ernest Hoerdemann, SVD, as the first University President.
  • 1995 DWU closed down due to labor problems. It will remain closed and will not reopen until all labor cases are resolved with finality to avoid uncertainties in cost and operations.

Uncertain Future

Once a final settlement with the union is reached, the Divine Word Missionaries in the Southern Province can raise the question of whether they are open to returning to the educational apostolate in Tacloban City. Many people, not only in Leyte and Samar, but throughout the Philippines, are wondering "if DWU will re-open?" Among these are the Divine Word Missionaries in the United States who have served over the years in the school: Frs. Eugene Stoll, Steve Schmutzko, Bernie Doghaney, Raymond Kunkel, Charles Scanlon, Joe Detig, Ray Quetchenbach.

Given the dedication of so many faculty and staff of Divine Word University in the past, one can only hope for a positive response to the often-repeated question: "Is the Divine Word University going to re-open?"

Recent Developments

In 2006, a signing ceremony was held on February 21, 2006 to finally reopen the Divine Word University of Tacloban (DWU) in 2007 under a new school name "Liceo del Verbo Divino" (Spanished "University of the Divine Word") still under the SVD management. The ceremony was held at the Sto. Niño Church after the Holy Mass held in celebration of the birthday of Most Reverend Palo Archbishop Pedro Dean. This came ten years after the DWU shut down in 1995 because of the dispute between the employees union and the SDV management.

DWU Jubilee Foundation, Inc.

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DWU Jubilee Foundation, Inc.
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Type Alumni Association

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Founded 2000, Philippines

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# of Locations
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Key people
Fideliza G. Noel
Samuel J. Yap
Athena C. Granados
Leo R. Rama


Natividad Noel-Alejo
Wilfredo Garrido
Flerida V. Creencia
Ma. Luz C. Vilches

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Vision

The DWU Jubilee Foundation, Inc. (DJFI) is a community of students, alumni, employees and friends of Divine Word University of Tacloban (DWU), who have always recognized the blessings received from the quality education and character formation provided by DWU. We have thus felt a deep sense of loss when DWU ceased to operate. We believe that the youth of Leyte and Samar should also be given a chance to avail of this kind of Catholic education.

Mission

Inspired by the Jubilee Year 2000 spirit of reconciliation, the DJFI aims to promote and support the restoration of DWU to its original apostolate of quality Catholic education in Leyte and Samar, and the realization of related goals.

Specific Objectives

  • To foster the Jubilee Year spirit of reconciliation among those whose lives at one time or another were touched by DWU;
  • To unite and bring together again the DWU community that once was;
  • To update DJFI members of developments regarding DWU, including projects and activities in which interested members may participate; and
  • To assist and support to DWU developmental projects such as faculty development, professorial chairs, student assistance, and facilities improvement.

Strategy

  • Organize DJFI Chapters in key areas such as Tacloban, Metro Manila, USA, and Europe, where potential members reside;
  • Implement projects and activities to carry out the Mission of the Foundation;
  • Build a worldwide network of DWU students, alumni, employees and friends;
  • Utilize trimedia communications to disseminate information and obtain support for the projects and programs of the Foundation; and
  • Establish a DWU Jubilee Fund in support of such programs and projects.

DWUJF Board of Directors

  • Paul Bolaños
  • Jaime Bermejo
  • Sara Q. Caballes
  • Athena Cloma-Granados
  • Flerida Creencia
  • Wilfredo Garrido
  • Alberto Lamayo
  • Cesar Merin
  • Imelda Nartea
  • Fideliza Noel
  • Natividad Noel-Alejo
  • Leo Rama
  • Tarcelo Sabarre
  • Ma. Luz C. Vilches
  • Samuel J. Yap

Board of Trustees:

  • Chairperson of the Board of Trustees: Fideliza G. Noel

Officers:

  • President and Chief Executive Officer : Samuel J. Yap
  • VP for Luzon : Athena C. Granados
  • VP for Visayas and Mindanao : Leo R. Rama
  • Treasurer : Natividad Noel-Alejo
  • Corporate Secretary : Wilfredo Garrido
  • Auditor : Flerida V. Creencia
  • PRO : Ma. Luz C. Vilches

Notable alumni and professors

  • Congressman Marcelino C. Libanan, representative of the lone district of Samar
  • Imelda Romualdez-Marcos, former First Lady of the Philippines

References

External links