Felices Centenario Ateneo! The Jesuit University in Western Mindanao –Ateneo de Zamboanga –celebrated its 100th founding anniversary on the eve of the feast day of its founder, Saint Ignatius of Loyola. It gathered as one community in celebration and thanksgiving for the past one hundred years in its continuing history. With the theme: “Living 100 Years of Excellence, Spirituality and Citizenship,” the University culminated a historic event that was three years in the making.
July 30 began with an opening ceremony featuring the unveiling of a historical marker to place the site of the original campus of the Ateneo, known before as Escuela Catolica. This was held at the Plaza Pershing, which used to be the parade grounds of the old Ateneo. AdZU President Fr. Antonio F. Moreno, SJ and City Mayor Celso L. Lobregat lead in the unveiling and blessing of the Old Ateneo Marker. The assembly then made its way to the Fr. Eusebio Salvador, SJ Campus (La Purisima Campus).
The Jesuit Fathers, whose labors and sacrifices sow the first seeds of an Atenean education in this part of the country, held a Thanksgiving Centennial Mass in the Multi-Purpose Covered Courts. A wreath-laying ceremony followed, that included the naming of the main campus in honor of its first Filipino school director and the first Zamboangueño Jesuit priest, Fr. Eusebio Salvador, SJ. The Ateneo Centennial Square, a plaza featuring twelve wooden panels with carvings that depict significant highlights in Ateneo’s history and life-size letters that spell AdZU 100, was also inaugurated.
In a communal fashion, the Ateneo had a Lunch for All in the backfield. This was also the site of an exciting portion of the day’s event –the human formation of the AdZU seal! Administrators, faculty, staff and students formed the colors and symbols that make the Ateneo seal. Communication Arts students jumpstarted this fun and unique activity with a flash mob.
Guests and alumni of the Ateneo de Zamboanga University capped the day with a dinner and socialization at the Grand Astoria Regency Convention Center. Past Ateneo school directors, Fr. Ernesto Carretero, SJ and Fr. Ramon Mores, SJ came out from their retirement to make a rare public appearance and to grace this occasion and celebrated this moment together with those who have contributed immensely to what is Ateneo de Zamboanga today.
The Ateneo de Zamboanga Centennial Jubilee is truly the coming together of the Ateneo community to be thankful of the past, to be grateful of the present and to be faithful for the next one hundred years of excellence, spirituality and citizenship.