History of the UP Medical Alumni Society
The history of UPMAS is closely intertwined with that of the College of Medicine and of course with the Philippine General Hospital as well.
Early History. During the first decade, the graduates of the College averaged just ten students a year. It was only during the 1930’s that the student population reached 225. The devastation brought about by the war to the College and the Hospital was enough reason for the alumni to be formally organized. Thus, in 1946, The UP Medical Alumni Society (UPMAS) was born with Dr. Juan Salcedo, Jr. (class ’29) as the first president. During the ensuing year the UPMAS dug deep into their meager resources and helped in the academic and physical rehabilitation of the postwar College of Medicine and PGH. And when they had completely exhausted themselves, they started looking foreign sources for funding. Changes in the landscape of the UP College of Medicine became evident. In 1953, the statue of Medicine triumphing over death was donated by Class ’33 and was installed in front of the College. Concurrently the UP Medical History Museum organized under the dynamic leadership of Dr. Geminiano de Ocampo (Class ’32) started collecting memorabilia such as oil portraits of founders, pioneers, educators and other outstanding men and women of the college.
In the sixties and seventies, The UPCM alumni had assumed significant roles in almost every aspect of the medical profession. They held numerous top positions in the government, were elected leaders of medical associations, had been recipients of national and international awards, and distinguished themselves as private practitioners, medical scientist and top-rate professors in UP and other medical schools. But the concern of the alumni for the College was not lost in their effort to excel. The alumni did not hesitate to share their material success though philanthropic assistance to the Alma Mater, as exemplified by the Eusebio S. Garcia – UP Medicine Class ’36 Foundation. This foundation has from 1976, provided student scholarships, student loans, wards to graduating students and professorial chairs. Since plans for improvements in the College were hampered by financial constraints, fund-raising mechanism were initiated by the UPMAS in 1979, the alumni from both the government and private sectors organized the UP Medical Foundation, a non-stock, non-profit organization which helps provide research grants, purchase equipment and supplies for basic science departments as well as improve and maintain the audiovisual capabilities of the College. In 1985, Dean Alberto G. Romualdez (class ’65) approved the establishment of the Section of Alumni Affairs “to develop a well-organized coordination mechanism to deal with the expected expansion of involvement of U.P. Medical Alumni in the affairs of the College.”
Recent History. Eventually in 1986, the Board was restructured wherein six directors are being elected for a term of two years and another six directors for a term of only one year. The reorganization likewise assured the participation of the incoming celebrating classes and assured the continuity of ongoing projects despite changes in the officers of the board. The changes also involved the creation of constitutional and permanent committees working under a board not necessarily controlled by the incumbent president of the UPMAS. Permanent committees created were the following: constitutional amendments and by-laws, planning, finance, alumni welfare and college assistance.
Life Membership and Benefits
To promote community service among the UPCM alumni and to support those who are already doing community work, the UPMAS Fellowship Program was established in 1988 during the presidency of Dr. Florencio Pineda (Class ’63). The program provided fellowship grant for further training of alumni from the rural area. In 1989, the “Alay sa Guro” fund was initiated by Dr. Hawthorne Bañez (Class ’64) and was soon adopted by the UPMAS Board. Its goal is to provide financial aid to deserving UPCM faculty members during times of illness or disability arising form catastrophic decease, and to extend assistance to the family at the time of death. By unanimous decision of the 1996 Board, the “Alay sa Guro” fund was merged with another special project – the Fellowship Fund – to become the Alumni Benefit Fund (ABF). This common fund offers similar benefits to alumni and faculty for (1) death, (2) sickness (3) fellowship grants and (4) scholarships for dependents of disabled and deceased alumni.
Through the years, there were numerous class projects that transformed the college to what it was today. A few of these class projects were the construction and furbishing of classrooms, installation of covered walks, acquisition of teaching aids, establishment of an alumni hall and office, and giving out professorial chairs, research grants and awards to achievers. All these are reflections of the love and affection the alumni, past and present, have towards the Alma Mater. For without her, we would not be what we are today.