Silliman University recently unveiled a marker at the Leopoldo Ruiz Administration Hall grounds to signify its status as a national historical landmark.
The University, founded in 1901, was declared a national historical landmark on June 19, 2002 when the National Historical Commission of the Philippines recognized her historical significance in the country’s development, through Res. No. 7, S. 2002.
NHCP Chairman Dr. Rene Escalante said classifying Silliman as a Level 1 national historical landmark is the “highest recognition level from the NHCP”, having been given both an official declaration, and a marker.
Silliman President Dr. Betty Cernol-McCann expressed gratitude for the NHCP recognition of the University’s status as a national historical landmark.
Chairman Escalante had initiated the installation of a historical marker at Silliman when he visited the campus pre-pandemic.
Silliman VP Dr. Earl Jude Paul Cleope, also NHCP commissioner, explained that the previous institutional marker only described a short history of the University, with no mention of its status. That marker can now be viewed at Silliman Hall.
According to NHCP’s guidelines, a national historical landmark is a “site or structure closely associated with a significant historical event, achievement, characteristic, turning point, or stage in Philippine history, or a structure made or created by a national hero.”
Part of its mandate is to protect recognized historic sites and structures.
VP Cleope recalled that NHCP’s official declaration of Silliman as a national historical landmark back in 2002 was instrumental in actually protecting the campus from threats of a reclamation project proposed by the Philippine Ports Authority that time, that was going to cover significant parts of the waterfront.
The 2002 declaration recognized that SU as the “first American private school” in the Philippines, and a “witness and participant to the unfolding Philippine history since the advent of American occupation to the present day” has contributed to the “educational, religious and social development of Negros Oriental and the Philippines.”
The declaration also recognized how buildings in the Silliman campus “exemplify Philippine architecture in its various development stages during the American colonial period,” and “stand out today as notable representatives of vintage American period or pre-war architecture.”
American pre-war architecture in the campus in Dumaguete include: Silliman Hall built in 1903 from remnants of a burned theater in New York; Katipunan Hall in 1915 which used to be the Silliman Mission Hospital; the Science Complex built in 1917; Guy Hall built in 1918 as a men’s dorm; Oriental Hall in 1921, the Amphitheater in 1921; Channon Hall in 1923 as the home of the Divinity School; the Main Library in 1927, Hibbard Hall in 1932, Scheide Chapel in 1937, and Davao Cottage. (Jameela Antoniette Mendoza/OIP)