Vidal A. Tan

From Wikipilipinas
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Vidal A. Tan was the eighth president of the University of the Philippines, serving from 1951 to 1956.

Education and academic career

Tan was born to Gonzalo Tan and Clemencia Santeco on April 28, 1893 in Bacolor, Pampanga. One of the first students of UP, having enrolled in June 1910, he graduated in 1913 with a degree in liberal arts. Tan later went to Cornell University as a government pensionado to finish his civil engineering degree and at the same time a Master of Arts degree.

He began teaching at UP as an assistant instructor in mathematics in 1918, and later on became associate professor of mathematics in 1920. Promoted to the rank of full professor in 1922, he served as the acting head of the Department of Mathematics until 1923.

Tan later became a fellow at the University of Chicago, and earned a doctorate in mathematics (cum laude) from that university in 1925. He was the first Filipino to do so. On that same year, he became the official chair of the UP mathematics department. In 1926, he was given the task of handling student registration, but was not officially designated as the official school registrar. At the same time, he served as a civil engineer-consultant at the Metropolitan Water District until 1928.

From 1931 to 1933, Tan became a member of the university's Board of Regents, and was later on named as the first head of the College of Arts and Sciences in UP Baguio in 1938. A year later, he was made dean of the College of Engineering until 1949.

In 1949, Tan left UP to serve as the president of the Far Eastern University until 1951. This did not mean the end of his involvement in UP, however; he was appointed as a consulting engineer of the Executive Committee on Development and Construction in the same year. The committee was tasked with the university's relocation to Diliman, Quezon City after the destruction of the original campus during the liberation of Manila in World War II.

Tan returned to UP in 1951 as university president, succeeding Bienvenido Gonzales. He served as president until 1956. In his honor, the building of the National Institute of Science and Mathematics Education was named after him. The building also houses the UP Information Technology Center (UP ITTC).

He also held the chairmanship of the UNESCO National Committee of the Philippines from 1952-1956, also serving as the editor of the NRCP Bulletin. He was eventually elevated to the rank of chairman emeritus of that institution in 1957.

In politics and the private sector

Tan later won a four-year term in the Quezon City council in 1959. In the private sector, he was a director of Commonwealth Foods, Inc. and a member of the board of directors of the Philippine Food Industries.

Personal life

Tan was married to Teresa Yulo, by whom he had one son, Vidal Jr. He died on February 7, 1978 of a heart attack in his San Juan, Manila residence.

Published Works


  • Modern High School Arithmetic for the Philippines (1924)
  • Applied Arithmetic for Philippine High Schools (1934)
  • General Mathematics (authored with F. Perez, 1940)
  • Plane and Spherical Trigonometry with Solid Geometry (1950)
  • First Course in College Algebra (1956)
  • Arithmetic for Community Living (1961)


  • The Husband of Mrs. Cruz
  • The Meeting of the Town Hall
  • “Souls in Torment” - from Glimpses of 'Noli Me Tangere'
  • The Waves
  • A Daughter of Destiny
  • Penpals Wanted


  • Philippine Association for the Advancement of Science
  • Philippine Academy of Science and Humanities - Founding Member
  • Philippine Columbian Association
  • Philippine Statistical Association
  • American Association for Engineering Education
  • College Engineering Teachers Association
  • Philippine-British Society
  • Sigma Xi - For Research
  • Sigma Pi Sigma - For Physics
  • Phi Kappa Phi


External Links



Original content from WikiPilipinas. under GNU Free Documentation License. See full disclaimer.