Silliman Turns 110 Today

Silliman Turns 110 Today

The country’s oldest American university turns 110 today.

Thousands of alumni gather on the Silliman University campus for the month-long Founders Day celebration which has become a permanent tourism attraction in Dumaguete City. Activities have started as early as the last week of July, and a Sunday worship service on August 7 formally launched the celebration themed “A Mighty Fortress is our God.”

Marking Silliman’s birthday today is the Sunrise Service at the Silliman Hall grounds. Silliman President Dr. Ben S. Malayang III, who starts his second term this school year, is the speaker. This year’s venue offers a perfect view of the sunrise dancing on the Visayan sea as members of the Silliman community rekindle memories of school days, exchange smiles and hugs as they greet each other “Happy Founders Day!”, and partake of light breakfast on the lawn.

Silliman also awards today as Outstanding Sillimanians two of its alumni at the Claire Isabel McGill Luce Auditorium. Ms Beatriz Aya-ay Jackson of the Ontario Silliman University Alumni Association is recognized in the field of Nursing Leadership and Ms Edna Callejas Mijares of the Silliman University Alumni Association Metro Manila Chapter, Inc. is honored in the field of Entrepreneurship in Chemistry.

Festivities continue into the night with the annual Tipon, a gathering of alumni and friends at the East Quadrangle highlighted by singing, dancing and prizes. It is at the Tipon where members of reunioning batches share stories about their campus experiences. Laughter fills the air, and commitments to make the get-together more regular are often made.

The Parada Sillimaniana held yesterday also pumped up the mood for the remaining Founders Day activities. A large contingent of alumni, students, faculty and staff filled the streets of Dumaguete in groups, and each had a unique show of love for Silliman. Street dancing, balloons, and colorful floats got the public to experience that binding “Silliman Spirit”, a natural affinity that one Sillimanian has for another.

Capping the 110th Founders Day themed “A Mighty Fortress is our God” is the 50th Church Workers Convocation. Pastors and members of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines from around the country will gather in a prayer fellowship on August 30, also as a form of thanksgiving for the blessing that is Silliman University.

Silliman was established as Silliman Institute with 15 boys on August 28, 1901 by Presbyterian missionaries Dr. Sutherland Hibbard and wife, Laura. It was named after Dr. Horace Brinsmade Silliman, a philanthropist of Cohoes, New York who donated the initial sum of $10,000 to start the school. Silliman was granted university status in 1938. It is now home to more 8,000 students from over 20 countries around the world.