A SOLEMN blessing and formal inauguration was recently held for the University of Santo Tomas-Tony Tan Caktiong Innovation Center (UST-TTCIC) at the institution’s 40-hectare campus in Santa Rosa City, Laguna.
The rites coincided with UST’s 412th foundation anniversary on April 28, 2023.
The innovation center is named after its donor Dr. Tony Tan Caktiong who is chair and founder of Jollibee Foods Corporation (JFC). He graduated from UST in 1975 with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering. He also received a doctorate in Business Administration, honoris causa, from the university in 2018.
In his message, Tan Caktiong expressed his joy over the completion and inauguration of the innovation center and its significance to the UST community, as well as to the future of the Philippines: “This state-of-the-art innovation center in the midst of the UST community is intended to champion innovation and entrepreneurship with [the aim] to benefit not only the university, but also the country and society as a whole.”
He added: “This center can serve as a catalyst for promoting innovation that fosters connection, empathy and compassion…I am very excited to see the impact it can have on many people’s lives and well-being.”
Innovation for a better future
TAN CAKTIONG has always been passionate on innovation and continuous learning, evident in the way he steered JFC from a single-brand firm into one of the world’s largest restaurant companies, with 16 brands operating over 6,500 stores across 34 countries.
“I am very thrilled of how this center perfectly aligns with my ardent belief in the incessant thirst for continuous learning and dreaming big—all the more so, as the pace of change in the world is increasingly becoming more rapid,” the JFC founder remarked. “Being unable to adapt can put in question one’s relevance and render one’s knowledge, skills, and even entire businesses obsolete.”
He continued: “Innovation is not only an engine for economic growth, but also a tool for social transformation. As we build back better from the pandemic, this center is in a remarkable position to harness the power of science and entrepreneurship in developing products and processes that can promote food security and improve livelihoods, especially in…rural areas.”
Partnership for nation-building
IN his message, UST rector Very Rev. Fr. Richard G. Ang OP, Ph.D shared that “the UST-TTCIC is designed to foster creativity and collaboration. It will be a place for researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs to exchange ideas, share knowledge and work together toward a common goal [of] creating a better future.”
Fr. Ang furthered: “The various laboratories, workshops, and workspaces in this building have been carefully planned to support a wide range of research and innovation activities, whether you’re a scientist working on a breakthrough discovery, an engineer developing a new technology, or an entrepreneur launching a startup. This center will provide you with resources and support our stakeholders need to succeed.”
UST held the UST-TTCIC groundbreaking ceremony in December 2020. In September 2022, UST laid down its 15-year road map for the center.
“The innovation center is a tangible manifestation of our shared commitment, common values and vision,” Tan Caktiong said of the partnership with UST. “We get an opportunity to nurture the next generation of leaders, thinkers and entrepreneurs…In so doing, we will continue to shape the future of our country.”