History of the Divine Word College of Urdaneta

By Diosdado Bautista

Class of 1973

The following excerpts are from the STUDENT'S MANUAL 1971-1972 of the Divine Word College, Urdaneta, Pangasinan. The Manual was given to each student and at that time the then School Director, Fr. Panfilo Gianan, insisted that its contents be remembered by heart. Indeed, this Manual contains details on about everything, from school uniform, colors, academic stuffs like dropping a subject, scholarships, grading system, to maintenance of discipline, etc.  Does anyone remember the DWCU Hymn that was composed by Fr. Gianan and Mr. Manuel Ridao, the former Principal? I plan to include the whole manual here, but I will do so in several stages as my typing skills allow me.

From Dody Bautista (Mississauga, Canada)


The Divine Word College of Urdaneta is the youngest of the Universities and Colleges owned and managed by the Society of Divine Word, popularly known as the Divine Word Missionaries.

Early in 1963, the Society of the Divine Word decided to open a seminary of its own in Urdaneta.  Later the idea of adding to it a high school and college was approved also.  Father Augustine Herbers was put in charge of the big project.  A lot consisting of since and one half hectares was bought from the Sison family in 1964.  To find funds for the building, Father Herbers went to Germany and sought the help of his generous friends.  On March 20, 1966 the Most Reverend Archbishop Mariano Madriaga, D.D, blessed the cornerstone of the building with great solemnity.  By the school year 1967-68 the modernistic three-story building was ready to open its doors to the first students. According to the records there were 8 seminarians, 165 high school and 72 college students who enrolled.  Father Herbers was the first seminary Rector and Father George Harwardt, the first college Director.  At the end of that same school year the first secretarial students graduated and the first high school graduation took place in 1970. From the very first year of its existence the Divine Word College offered High School, Secretarial, Commerce, Liberal Arts and Education degrees.

Father Harwardt was transferred to Manila in 1970 and Father Herbers became Director with Father Francis Cuylen and Father Cecil Floresca as his assistants.  Due to the very urgent need of a new building to accommodate the growing student population, Father Herbers was forced again to go to Germany to seek funds for a new construction. He left at the beginning of the school year 1972-73.  In his absence, Father Panfilo Gianan, a Filipino, became Director with Father Gregorio Fabia, also a Filipino, as Prefect of the seminarians and treasurer of the College.


The Divine Word College of Urdaneta is under the Society of the Divine Word.  The SVD (Latin for Societas Verbi Divini) is an international organization of Religious Priests and Brothers founded in 1875 by a saintly German priest, Venerable Arnold Janssen.  Its members over 6,000 strong are working in 35 different countries as missionaries and educators.  In the Philippines, the Central House of the Divine Word Missionaries is the Divine Word Seminary in E Rodriguez Boulevard, Quezon City.  In Urdaneta, a minor seminary is attached to the Divine Word College where your aspirants to the Society are studying together with the high school boys and girls.  More than 60 institutions of learning in the Philippines are owned or directed by the Divine Word Missionaries.


The main objective of the Divine Word College is the Formation of the Whole Man, the true and perfect Christian and the patriotic and democratic Filipino, by harmoniously developing the physical, intellectual, and moral capacities of its students.

This objective embodies the educational aim of the Catholic Church, namely, "To prepare a man for what he must be, and for what he must do here below, in order to obtain the sublime end for which he was created and that of the Philippine Constitution to develop moral character, personal discipline, civic conscience and vocational efficiency, and to teach the duties of citizenship".


A seal is the school emblem used for authentication, decoration and identification.  In our seal, the fortress or castle stands for the town of Urdaneta where our college is located.  According to history, Fray Andres Urdaneta, after whom this town is named, had a fortress in his coat-of-arms or seal.  The orb surmounted by a cross represents the society of the Divine Word, a missionary organization, whose members run the college.  The cross is also used to symbolize the Divine Word College itself because, being a Catholic institution of learning, it contributes to the spiritual and moral uplift of the community.

What appears as rays emanating from the cross are actually the four letter Vs of the college motto: "Verbo Veritatis, Verbo Vitae - To the Word of Truth, to the Word of Life.  This is a dedication of the school to Christ who calls Himself the Truth and the Life.  The motto is also an avowal of the aims of the school, namely, to bring the truth and the Christian way of life to its students.  The black and white which are official colors of the school stand for the Dominican Order of which St. Albert the Great was a member.  St Albert is the patron saint and model of our school.


The school uniform is intended for economy, identity, discipline, equality and esprit de corps among the students and members of the faculty.  All students and teachers from High School to College are obliged to wear daily their respective uniforms.  Exempted are those in mourning dress, pregnant women, and those who have already another uniform by reason of their job or position.  When not wearing the school uniform, our girls are expected to use dresses becoming of students of a Catholic school.  The male students are not allowed to sport girlish hairdos.  Aside from the daily school uniform there are prescribed uniforms for ROTC, PMT and PE to be worn on definite dates.  The wearing of shoes, rubber or leather, is compulsory except on rainy days or for any good reason such as wounds in the feet, etc.


Students of the high school and college departments are required to secure from the Registrar's Office an Identification Card (ID) which will entitle them to enter the campus and library to borrow athletic equipment and other things except books.  It may also be used for claiming mail and for cashing money orders and checks at the Cashier's Office.  They must have with them their ID's at all times while inside the campus.  Upon graduation or transfer, the ID must be surrendered to the School; otherwise records shall not be released.


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