In March 1913, UP President Murray Bartlett (1911-1915) sowed the seeds of the University of the Philippines Alumni Association when he urged College of Law Dean George Malcolm to call a meeting for the purpose of forming such an association. The inaugural meeting, held on April 2, 1913, was attended by the UP president, deans and alumni of colleges. Elected first president of the UPAA was Dr. Victor Sevilla (MD ’10). By 1912, UP had already graduated 119 students, including those from medicine, nursing, law, agriculture, arts and sciences and forestry; these were the first members of the UPAA. (The academy of medicine, precursor of the College of Medicine, preceded the founding of UP in 1908 by a few years.)
Earlier, during the first decade of UP, its first Filipino president, Ignacio Villamor (1915-1920), in his inaugural speech, spoke of the need to recognize the alumni and to strengthen the sentiment of nationality and service to the country. The same message would resonate at various times in later years. When Dr. Carlos P. Romulo became UP president, he made nationalism as a platform of his administration, and a mission of the UPAA.
In 1986, then UPAA President Edgardo B. Espiritu said that “the university has established the tradition of being the main nursery of the nation’s leadership.” The alumni had become a force such that ”the impact of the University on various aspects of national life may be felt mostly through that force.” Then UP President Jose V. Abueva echoed the same sentiment when he called for the University to take part in the great task of national transformation after the EDSA Revolt.
UPAA Institutions and Projects
Throughout its history, the UPAA has been fired up by its mission of fostering Honor and Excellence, Service and Leadership, the very same ideals held sacrosanct by the Alma Mater. Projects of the association have sought to promote these ideals, as well as encourage unity, loyalty and institution building among the graduates, so that united, they can better serve their communities and the nation, thus doing their Alma Mater proud. The UPAA has undertaken several projects to promote excellence in teaching, research and extension services.
Ang Bahay ng Alumni
Atty. Abraham Sarmiento, the first UPAA president to become a member of the Board of Regent by virtue of R.A. 5706, was able to secure from the board an agreement in which it allowed the use of the present site in Diliman for Ang Bahay ng Alumni, a joint project of the University and UPAA. Launched in June 1992 as a convention center, Ang Bahay today has become a venue of choice for conferences, concerts, art exhibits and reunions of organizations, whether or not they are connected to UP.
In 2011, under the leadership of President Gladys S.J. Tiongco, UPAA completed the air conditioning of the Salazar Hall with contributions from generous alumni. Thus, on June 25, 2011, the UPAA homecoming took place in the newly air-conditioned Salazar Hall.