Myrna Aquitana_LighthouseThe University of the Philippines Alumni Association of Greater Los Angeles (UPAAGLA) headed by its president, Vicky Achacoso-Gancayco had a reception for UP College of Engineering Dean Dr. Aura Castillo-Matias at the Malburg Atrium of Woodbury University in Burbank recently..

Woodbury University, whose current president, Dr. Luis Ma. Calingo, a UP alumnus himself, provided the perfect venue for the visiting Dean’s presentation on the current status of the UP College of Engineering and an update on significant infrastructure developments of the college.

The program started with an invocation by Ray Reyes, followed by the collective singing of the “Star Spangled Banner” and “Lupang Hinirang” led by Annie Nepomuceno and a welcome address by venue host, Dr. Luis Ma. Calingo.

The guest speaker was introduced by Arnel Joaquin, M.D. (UPAAGLA President-elect) in the absence of President, Vicky Achacoso-Gancayco.

In a powerpoint presentation entitled “Towards a National Center of Excellence in Engineering & Technology Innovation,” Aura C. Matias, Dean of the UP College of Engineering (UPCOE) discussed topics such as: the role of the UP Colllege of Engineering under the new UP charter, the state of the College of Engineering and its role in S & T Education and National Development, its long-term development goals and invitation for support.

“The UP System was established on June 18, 1908. Currently, it has 7 constituent universities throughout the Philippines and 1 autonomous  college in 15 campuses. The new UP charter declares it as the national university and Diliman is its main campus and the College of Engineering is the largest unit in UP Diliman.”

Under the new UP charter, the role of the UP College of Engineering defines its vision as “a global leader in engineering education, research, technology innovation and service and it has the following mission: knowledge, to nurture honorable & excellent engineers and future leaders with global perspectives and aspirations for the nation; progress, to generate knowledge and produce innovations that address challenges in sustainability, safety and security, health and quality of life; service, to serve the evolving needs of society through proactive interdisciplinary and multi-sectoral initiatives.”

Dr. Matias, further informed us that the UP College of Engineering promotes further education as a graduate university, having established the National Graduate School of Engineering (NGSE), which currently have 15 Master of Science Programs and 7 Doctor of Philosophy Programs. For students who wish to further their studies in their particular field of interest, the masters programs include: Master of Engineering in IE, Master of Engineering in EE and Doctor of Philosophy in EE.

In 2012, the UP COE was awarded the “outstanding institution of the year” by the National Regulatory Commission of the Philippines (NRCP) designating it as a research university , particularly in engineering – it promotes multi-disciplinary research programs geared toward the manufacturing sector which influences  the areas of” energy, semi-conductor and electronics as well as environmental infrastructure.

Its research development programs become instrumental in establishing government regulatory groups such as the National Hydraulics Research Center (NHRC), the National Center for Transportation Services (NCTS), and the National Center for Hybrid Geodesy & Photogrammetry (TCAGP) Board.

With UPCOE Dean Aura Matias and Dr. Luis Calingo Woodbury University President (right).

With UPCOE Dean Aura Matias and Dr. Luis Calingo Woodbury University President (right).

Currently, the UP College of Engineering is the largest college within the UP system with around 5,000 undergraduate and 800 graduate students and 255 faculty members. The areas of engineering education includes: Chemical Engineering, Institute of Civil Engineering, Computer Science, Electrical and Electronics Institute, Geodetic Engineering, Industrial & Operations Research, Mechanical Engineering and Mining, Metallurgical & Materials Engineering.

Though the UPCOE stresses academic excellence,  it promotes school activities and various student particpation such as: Indakan, Jammeng’g, Awitan, Lantern Parade, Arbor Day or Tree Planting, dorm painting, etc. They also compete in International competitions such as the Bosch Kart Competition where they have won 2nd place in 2011 in Kuala Lumpur.

In an effort to assist assist students in enrolling in the UP COE, the UP system has established a socialized tuition and financial assistance program, where they now have 140 COE scholarships available.

The UPCOE has also established partnerships with various government agencies and fortune 500 companies to assist their students upon graduation. Local and international fortune 500 companies include:Oracle, Bechtel, Chevron, Motolite, Samsung, Telus, Monrovis/Cat, Petron, etc.

Various buildings have also been built recently to assist in UPCOE’s ongoing infrastructure development such as the Electrical and Electronics (EEEI) annex building, Information Technology & Development building, Dept. of Chemical Engineering building and Center for Energy & Environmental Engineering building.

According to Dr. Matias, the UPCOE’s long-term development goals include: increase undergraduate intake by 50%; increase graduate population by 100%; produce approx. 1,000-1,300 engineering graduates per year, 300-400 MS and PHD’s per year; produce at least 100 scientific publications and 10 patent applications per year; international accreditation of all engineering programs in the UP system; upgrade UP’s ranking in engineering education in Asia and the world and finally, to substantially contribute to the improvement of Philippine Competitiveness Index in the areas of Science & Technology Infrastructure, Technological Readiness and Innovation.

Finally, Dr. Matias appealed to all of us and all UP alumni inviting us to support UPCOE’s programs in: scholarships, student research & internships, faculty exposure programs, professorial chairs, classroom or laboratory upgrades and teaching & research grants. Those interested to support may send their information to: acmatias@up.edu.ph.

The comprehensive presentation of Dr. Aura C. Matias ended with an overwhelming applause, followed by the singing of “UP Naming Mahal” led by Annie Nepomuceno with the following phrase: “UP naming mahal, pamantasang hirang!.”