Two Indian Salesians bagged awards for outstanding academic performance at the Salesian Pontifical University (UPS) Rome`s Inauguration of the Academic Year 2008-2009 ceremony held 15th October. Some sixty awards were given in three categories: Doctoral, Master`s and Bachelor`s. Dr Charles Maria Antonisamy (INM) and Dr Peter Gonsalves (INB) both from Social Communications Faculty doctoral programme were awarded the UPS medal and citation. Some 20 students also received Euro 500 (INR 33,000) scholarship towards their academic fees for outstanding performance in the annual exams.
Indians in the UPS Staff
Out of 251 professors teaching in the University, only nine professors come from India. Two professors who joined UPS faculty this year are Dr. Edison Fernandes (INB)and Dr Peter Gonsalves (INB). Fr Scaria Thuruthyil who started teaching in February 1989 became the first Indian dean of Philosophy Faculty. Fr Cyril DeSouza is Coordinator of the Department of Youth Pastoral and Catechetics and part of the 25 Member Academic Council. Other professors include Frs Jerome Vallabaraj, Anthony Francis Vincent, Sagayaraj Devadoss, Jesu James Pudumai, Joshtrom Kureethadam.
Solemn Inauguration of the Academic Year
Over 200 priests, about 20 deacons, some 100 religious Sisters and hundreds of students joined the Vicar of the Rector Major Fr Adriano Bregolin for the Solemn Eucharistic Celebration at the University Parish Church. There was also a delegation of the Diplomatic Corps attached to the Holy See in attendance.
Unlike last year, this year, a 50 member UPS students’ choir animated the liturgical singing. A 40 member Inter-University choir under the baton of UPS Professor Maestro Don Massimo Palombella SDB rendered three magnificent Latin renditions (Tu Es Petrus; Credo; and Esultabo) at the academic year 2008-2009 inaugural function held at UPS Paul VI Hall.
Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, gave the inaugural address on the theme of “University and Education“. In the words of Benedict XVI, the cardinal called on both the professors and students “to preserve the flame of hope.”
Fr. Bregolin on behalf of UPS Chancellor Fr Pascual Chavez the Rector Major declared open 69th Academic Year and handed over the awards. Also present at the event were the General Councillor for Formation Fr Francesco Cereda as well as the Economer General Br. Claudio Marngio. The UPS Chancellor, the RM of the Salesians Fr Pascual Chavez was absent as he is a member of the Synod of Bishops currently under way in the Vatican.
The UPS Milestones
The Don Bosco University for Youth started in Turin in 1940 as a papal Salesian Athenaeum with three faculties: Theology, Philosophy and Canon Law. Two more faculties were added (Sciences of Education, Christian and Classic Literatures) when it was transferred to Rome in 1965. In 1973, the Athenaeum was raised to Salesian Pontifical University and 15 years later the Faculty of Sciences of the Social Communications was born in 1988 to mark Don Bosco`s death centenary.
The University houses three communities of professors and three communities of students. About 2,000 students from about 100 countries including Mainland China attend the six faculties.