The U.S.-based organization, whose purpose is to support UC in its initiatives and projects, met at Casa Central on May 12 and 13.
«I congratulate you for being at Universidad Católica. I went to Catholic University, graduated from the Law School, and I am proud to have studied here, and I hope you are also proud of this place that is fantastic, it is a unique university».
These words of Sava Thomas, president of Friends of Catholic University in Chile, Inc. (Friends UC), sum up well the joyful and emotional spirit that was experienced in the expected reunion of the organization with Chile, last May 12 and 13.
This, given that, after the forced virtuality imposed by the pandemic, Friends UC once again held its traditional board meeting corresponding to the first semester in person in the country. At the same time, other events were held that summoned students, academics and authorities of the campus.
The activities began on Thursday, May 12 with a colloquium entitled «Chile: the beginning of the end of the constitutional path and the scenarios that are opening up». Professors of the Law School Sebastián Soto and Patricio Zapata, and professors and researchers of the Institute of Political Science Valeria Palanza and Julieta Suárez-Cao, who under the moderation of the Provost for Institutional Managerial Affairs Patricio Donoso, shared with members of the Friends UC board, special guests and the rector Ignacio Sánchez, their view about the process of writing a new Magna Carta just at the moment when the Constitutional Convention was closing the debate.
Delivery of scholarships
Later, a meeting was held with scholarship recipients of the Leading the Way Program, which exists thanks to the support of Friends UC. This initiative, focused on students of the university from vulnerable socioeconomic contexts, seeks to consolidate the four language skills in English, expose participants to different types of leadership and broaden exposure to the socio-cultural context of an English-speaking country, for which students receive a scholarship from Friends UC that allows them to participate in a five-week trip to Drexel University in Philadelphia, have an intensive training process in English at that institution, and also visit cities like New York and Washington DC.
On the occasion, the Civil Engineering student Carlos Sáez was awarded the Leading the Way Scholarship in the name of Rand Araskog, donated by the director Juan Cappello.
A tour of MAVI-UC
The intense agenda continued with a visit to the offices of the Conecta Mayor Foundation and the Vicente Huidobro Foundation, followed by a tour of the museum MAVI-UC, which was led by its director, Amelia Saavedra.
The following day, the board meeting was held, in which both the projects of Friends UC and those led by different units of the university that have been supported by that organization in the past were analyzed. This was the case of Elige Educar, whose executive director, Joaquín Walker, discussed with the Friends UC board the work they do to ensure that Chilean children are educated by the best teachers.
The activities concluded with an emotional meeting with the students and graduates who are part of the Cristóbal Conde Scholarship. This benefit, whose donor is the director of Friends UC Cristóbal Conde, consists of a scholarship that covers the gap between the actual tuition fee and the reference fee; along with the above, there was also the Conde Maintenance Scholarship, which was given to 200 young people between 2014 and 2020.
«It is very exciting to be here and to have this meeting among all, it is one of the exciting ceremonies that one has throughout the year, basically because what we are celebrating here are some very important values for our society,» said the rector of the Catholic University, Ignacio Sánchez, during the event.
A central moment of the ceremony consisted of a moment in which the life of Cristóbal Conde’s mother, Eulalia Donoso Medina, was honored. She was a key person in his life and his motivation to establish the scholarship, which, in its two modalities, has benefited 255 people. Mrs. Eulalia passed away in March of this year, and in her honor the Conde Eulalia Donoso Medina Scholarship was awarded to the Chemistry and Pharmacy student Francisco Godoy. «She is a fantastic person, a woman who was very free, a pioneer,» expressed Sava Thomas. The award was presented by Sebastián Conde, Cristobal’s brother.
Friends UC has a decades-long relationship with the Catholic University, which began in 1989. The board of directors meets twice a year: once in Chile and once in New York. Among its directors are the rector emeritus Pedro Rosso; the prorector of Institutional Management, Patricio Donoso; the economic vice rector, Loreto Massanés, and the head professor of the School of Government, Roberto Méndez. It is also made up of renowned Chilean and foreign professionals who share a deep conviction in the importance of the university and its work.