Seated (L-R): Dr. Carmencita D. Padilla, President Danilo L. Concepcion, Mr. David Zuellig, Dr. Hazel P. Zuellig. Standing (L-R): Dr. Emerito Jose A. Faraon, Dean Vicente Y. Belizario, Jr., Vice Chancellor Michael L. Tee, Mr. Ernesto D. Garilao, Mr. Austere A. Panadero, Dr. Fernando B. Garcia, Jr.
“On behalf of the family of the late Dr. Stephen Zuellig, it is my honor to turn over this gift to the University of the Philippines Manila, his last personal gift to an institution,” David Zuellig said during the turnover ceremony held on Dec. 20, 2021.
The gift was a US$4.8 million donation to the UP Manila College of Public Health (CPH) for the construction of a new 10-story Dr. Stephen Zuellig Hall next to the existing 94 year-old CPH Lara Hall.
“Those knowledgeable about public health know that the improvement of the health indicators in the Philippines has been incremental. My family and I sincerely hope that this gift will leave an indelible mark in the country’s public health landscape through the University of the Philippines. May this gift produce meaningful changes in the health outcomes of our fellowmen,” David stated.
The ceremonial turnover was a remarkable and moving event for UP Manila as it commemorated the legacy and philanthropy of the late Dr. Stephen Zuellig.
As an advocate of good governance and health equity, Dr. Stephen Zuellig chose to support CPH’s vision to lead in public health education, research, and public service. The donation also included the establishment of the Dr. Stephen Zuellig Program for Health Leadership and Governance and the Dr. Stephen Zuellig Program for Health Equity.
“The only way we can create sustainable, equitable, and inclusive solutions to persistent societal ills, including ensuring healthy lives and well-being, is through a partnership among the different sectors, from universities to industry to national and transnational institutions. Through this donation and future research and health programs, the University will help carry on Dr. Zuellig’s advocacy and legacy, UP President Danilo Concepcion said.
It was on November 29, 2016 that the groundbreaking ceremony for the building was held. In attendance were Mr. David Zuellig, then UP President Alfredo Pascual, former CPH Dean Romeo Quizon (who together with National Scientist Ernesto Domingo proposed this building to house projects being coordinated with the Zuellig Family Foundation), UP Manila officials, faculty and staff, and Dr. Stephen Zuellig himself witnessed the event remotely from his home in Switzerland.
UP Manila Chancellor Carmencita Padilla recalled that the plans, design, and specifications of the building were being prepared that time for construction to begin in May 2017 which is the birth month of Dr. Stephen Zuellig. It was planned that Dr. Zuellig will visit the country and personally jumpstart the construction to coincide with his 100th birthday celebration.
His demise in January 2017 put on hold all the activities related to this project but were resumed in late 2020.
“We are grateful to the Zuellig family for its recognition and appreciation of the role and impact of the College of Public Health in the country’s progress and development. This building will likewise greatly contribute to UP Manila’s fulfillment of its lofty mandate towards education, research, and service. But equally important, this edifice will rise as a fitting tribute and a lasting legacy of the great man that was Dr. Stephen Zuellig,” the UP Manila Chancellor stated.
She thanked the Zuellig family, on behalf of the university and the Filipino people who will ultimately benefit from this worthy endeavor.
Francis Nicole Maga
Published in the UP Manila Healthscape (Special COVID-19 Issue No. 34, December 2021)