History and Milestones of CAS

History and Milestones of CAS

The College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) epitomizes the essence of academic exploration and interdisciplinary excellence. Established with the aim of developing well-rounded individuals possessing a thorough comprehension of multiple subjects and the ability to think critically, CAS has consistently changed to adapt to the ever-changing needs of the contemporary world. CAS is a collaborative culture that embraces variety and promotes creativity and discovery in the natural sciences, social sciences, arts, and humanities. CAS's position as a preeminent institution devoted to developing future leaders has been cemented by its dedication to quality in education, research, and community engagement.

The College of Arts and Sciences: A Seven-Decade History of Excellence  

Early Beginnings

The College of Arts and Sciences started as the College of Liberal Arts in the then Luzonian Colleges. It was the first to obtain a permit to operate the first and second-year summer classes in April 1947. It was unprecedented because the private schools manual at that time did not immediately grant permits for collegiate courses unless the institution had been operating for a year at the very least. 

In the summer of 1947, 102 students, most of them youthful war veterans enrolled in the two-year Associate in Arts program in the College of Liberal Arts. Mr. Tobias Y. Enverga was appointed dean of colleges while Mr. Jose M. Eleazar was assistant dean. They were supported by a complement staff composed of Atty. Ramon Ingente as dean of men and Mrs. Rosario M. Atienza as dean of women. 

From rented, old houses to borrowed books and second-hand laboratory equipment, the college grew steadily, amidst the inspired commitment of its faculty, most of whom were recruited from the Tayabas High School who believed in the vision of Atty. Manuel S. Enverga, in the likes of Rosario Atienza, Catalina Vicuña, Paciencia Reyes, Venus Glorioso, Paciencia Daleon, Diomedes Carlos, Briccio Habito, Gaudencio Vendiola, Joaquin Fleta and Cesar Villariba. 

Eleven students graduated from the Associate in Arts program, two of whom were women, Free Calamigan of Mauban, Quezon, and Alice Villaseñor of Lucena, Quezon. The other '49ers were Vicente Constantino Jr., Benjamin Escritor, Alberto Gabatin, Pablo Giman, Manuel Medenilla, Pedro Mendoza, Celso Ortiz, Eladio Ravanzo and Felix Remoroza. 

The first batch of students who graduated from the Bachelor of Arts program in 1950 were Free Calamigan, and the lone woman, Jose Nav. Atienza, Benjamin Escritor, Alberto Gabatin, Pablo Giman, Alidio Ravanzo, Casto Roadilla, Gaudencio Altovar, and Manuel Medenilla, who obtained magna cum laude honors and was chief editor of the campus publication, The Luzonian. The Associate in Arts program was also a favorite starting ground for students who wanted to go to law school. In the late '50s, the pre-law requirement was the two-year associate program, which attracted the likes of Ricardo Rosales Jr., Eulogio Alzaga, Lualhati Arceo, Jovito Talabong, Ruperto Zarzuelo, Antonio Magtibay, and Hermino Ubana. 

The Changing of the Guards 

When Dr. Villariba was appointed chairman of the Philippine Coconut Authority in the latter part of 1971, Dr. Tobias Enverga took over the deanship until 1972. During his administration, Dr. Enverga emphasized academic excellence and scholarly research. He died in office and Dr. Zosimo Martinez was appointed officer-in-charge of the college until after Dr. Jaime M. Buzar, who then newly arrived from the University of the Philippines with a doctor’s degree in linguistics, received his appointment as dean in 1974. 

With normalization after the flight of the Marcoses in 1986, the University came to life with various student activities. More Greek-lettered fraternities and sororities initiated campus projects while co-curricular organizations like the Economics Society, Psychology Society, Mass Communication Society, English Club, Science Club, Political Science Society, and Mathematics Club were organized to enrich the academic activities of students. 

In 1985, Evelyn S. Abeja who had a master’s degree in English and an honors graduate took on the job vacated by Dr. Buzar who was promoted vice president for academic affairs. Seeing that accreditation is the wave of the future, Dean Abeja and the deans of education and business administration agreed to work for the accreditation of their respective programs. At the same time, the college offered new programs, the Liberal Arts-Commerce program, a five-year double degree course, and majors in mass communication, political science, journalism, and philosophy. The criminology program was initially under the supervision of the college before it evolved into a separate unit of the university. The college obtained Level 1 accreditation with the Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities Commission on Accreditation in 1981, Level 2 in 1987, and Level 2 reaccreditation in 1988. 

Eventually, when the siren call of politics beckoned Dean Abeja, Dean Azucena O. Romulo who was then University Registrar, a magna cum laude graduate of two undergraduate degrees and a master’s degree holder of school administration, was appointed to take her place. Dean Romulo was only four months in office as she received her appointment as assistant superintendent of the Division of City Schools of Lucena City. Benilda N. Villenas was then rotated from her post as personnel officer to the deanship of the college on November 11, 1991. She started at the University as a high school teacher after she graduated from the College of Education in 1972 with magna cum laude honors. She earned her master’s degree in education in 1987 and pursued her doctor’s degree in educational leadership at De La Salle University. 

Dean Villenas undertook a curriculum review, streamlined college activities, emphasized faculty mentoring, and motivated the faculty to do post-graduate work, continue professional education, and challenge students to attain academic excellence. She also led the college in its bid for Level 2 reaccreditation and eventually Level 3 reaccreditation with PACUCOA. Under her term, the CAS has also been identified by the Commission on Higher Education as the Center of Development for Language and Literature. 

Dr. Carmina V. Tolentino who was director of science laboratories took over in 2018 when Dr. Villenas was appointed vice president for academics vice Dr. Buzar who already retired from service. She earned a bachelor’s degree in medical technology and finished her doctorate in science education at De La Salle University. It was during her stint that the liberal arts program made its bid for Level IV accreditation with PACUCOA. 

In June 2009, Dr. Claudia Odette J. Ayala assumed Dr. Tolentino’s position as college dean when the latter was appointed director of university laboratories. Dr. Ayala obtained a bachelor’s degree in mass communication (cum laude) and a master’s degree in English from the University. She finished her Doctor of Philosophy in Development Communication at the University of the Philippines Los Baños. Under her leadership, the College has attained its Level IV reaccreditation for the liberal arts program, the first to have been given the status in the Philippines by the PACUCOA. She spearheaded the improvement in the quality of education through the upgrading of facilities and laboratories for Psychology and Communication. ISO procedures were also introduced in the college to streamline its efforts and make them more relevant to the changing times. The College has also consistently grown in terms of enrolment demonstrating its educational excellence.

The Emerging Trends

What makes the college what it is today hinges not only on its leadership or the competence of its faculty but also on the quality of its students. Through the years, the college has produced three summa cum laude - Vladimir Nieto (1986, AB Mass Communication), Arlene Young (1988, AB Psychology), and Erliza Gramaldo (2006, AB Economics); 13 magna cum laude - Manuel Medenilla (1950), Genoveva Verdaguer (1965), Ma. Betty Baronia (1974), Melanie Elena Baldeo (1981), Mignon Tan (1979), Ceres Jaca (1984), Ma. Lourdes Bruan who was also Miss Luzonian (1985), Amador Sanchez (1988), Antoinette Abadicio and Gem Presas (1990), Conrado Abuel (1992), Ma. Pamela Racelis (1997), Lyn Zeta (2000), Natividad Natividad (2005); Mike Anthony Mogol (2010), Robinson Maac (2010), Patrick Sean Durante (2011), Anjeanette Japor (2015), Regina Carla Talaga (2016) and 71 cum laude graduates.

The college beauties who wore the Miss Luzonian and the Miss Enverga crowns were Dulce Jarviña (1950), Lourdes de Castro (1955), Rebecca San Agustin (1970), Lourdes Lagdameo (1976), Anna Guia Abeja (1977), Josephine Tan (1979), Laila Lacerna (1980), Alita Tan (1983), Ma. Lourdes Bruan (1984), Margarita Decal (1990), Gladiola Galeon (1991), and Analyn Valdez (1997). The Tan sisters were the only tandem who won the Miss Luzonian title and originated from one college. The college also made a feat with a three-consecutive win via Krisha Sanga (2011), Sundrea Rio Rubio (2012), and Zyra Cel Zoleta (2013).

The presidents of the Supreme Student Government, later Supreme Student Council, and currently the University Collegiate Student Council, who came from the college were Felicisimo Garin, Pedro Mendoza, Sancho Natividad, Robert Racelis, Jaime Buzar, Claro Talaga, Roberto Racelis Jr., Jason Ladera, Mike Anthony Mogol, Brian Zagala, Felomena Quizana. The first woman president of the UCSC from the college is Vivian Velandres who holds the distinction of being at the helm of the student government on the university's 50th year. 

Its students Jennifer Garin and Natividad Natividad were finalists in the RFM Search for Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines. Two have made it to the elite Ayala Young Leaders Congress – Natividad Natividad and Joseph Jadway Marasigan. Anjeanette Japor, Regina Carla Talaga, and Arby Lagman won as one of the Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines at the regional level. Lagman was also a finalist in the national category. Likewise, Mass Communication students bagged the gold in the EdukCircle Documentary Making Competition sponsored by the International Center for Communication Studies in 2012 and 2013 and the bronze award in 2016. Recently, John Rev Remo won the National Oratorical Competition in the PRISAA 2023 (for updating, other student awards not yet included).

Today, the College offers several programs which include majors in Biology, Communication, English Language, Economics, Environmental Science, Political Science, Psychology, and Public Administration.
Indeed, the College of Arts and Sciences has made tremendous strides from its humble beginnings in 1947. Its faculty, more than 80% of whom have either master’s or doctorate degrees and excellence-driven students are considered community resources and are frequently called upon to assist in community-based activities. It has an active research program that shares the college’s expertise in many areas. It has institutionalized the MSEUF Student Research Colloquium which has been emulated by the other colleges. Other relevant activities such as the English Festival, Buwan ng Wika, Arts Month, Literature Festival, Social Science Week, Science Week, and Psychological Fair also continue to nurture the gift of students in various fields.
Its mission of being at the forefront of educational innovation and the nurture of the arts and the humanities in this part of the country equip the college with the necessary tools to respond to and cope with the challenges of the environment. 

At present, the College continues with its vision of making the college ready to meet the challenges of the 21st century through an aggressive faculty and student development program, strong research orientation, and a relevant community outreach program.