Skip to main content

UCAM pays tribute to its ‘founding students’

Today at the Los Jerónimos Monastery the reunion of the first alumni of the Universidad Católica de Murcia was held. The students who, in 1997, began their studies at this institution – which already has 100,000 graduates and in which 7,000 foreigners of more than 100 nationalities have studied this academic year.

UCAM pays tribute to its ‘founding students’
Family photo following the tribute to the UCAM founding students

José Luis Mendoza, UCAM Founder and President until his death last January, called them ‘founding students’. He was well aware that the decision they and their families made in 1997 to enrol in the fledgling University was crucial to the very creation of the institution. For this reason, he wanted to pay tribute to them as part of the celebration of the 25th anniversary of UCAM. But his illness postponed the event and his loss made it impossible for him to be reunited with them. However, his wife and current UCAM President, María Dolores García, has fulfilled that wish, and the longed-for and emotional tribute took place today.

Alumni 97 Templo

More than 200 of those first 600 students gathered at the Los Jerónimos Monastery, to which many of them had not returned since that first graduation ceremony. Now professionals in a wide variety of fields, they have returned to their transformed campus accompanied by their families.

Emotions, memories, surprises, hugs, selfies... It has been a very special morning, remembering those exciting times and appreciating the tremendous evolution of the institution in these more than two decades since it began its activity first-hand. All this joy and excitement about the reunion was reflected in the speeches and interventions.

Alumni97 UCAM

María Dolores García, UCAM President, presided over this emotional ceremony, in which she recalled the many obstacles that its founder, José Luis Mendoza, had to deal with to get the Universidad Católica de Murcia up and running, and how ‘you, the “founding students”, trusted the institution and have been key to making this great project possible’. She also asked them not to lose contact with each other, reminding them that ‘this is your university, your home’. During her speech, she emphasised the idea that the Holy Spirit has always accompanied this institution in overcoming the hard trials that have been put in its path.

Alumni 97 UCAM

Antonio Montoro, Honorary Rector and Rector of this first UCAM promotion, relived the origin of the University and his long conversations with José Luis Mendoza, for whom ‘there was no such word as “impossible”, at most “improbable”, which transformed into “project” and ended up being a “reality”. He was undoubtedly a strong man, but his real strength came from his faith’.

The Rector of the University, Josefina García, emotionally remembered the professors, students and staff who have passed away during these 25 years, ‘all of whom we carry in our hearts, and who have left a great mark on us’, placing special emphasis on the founder, José Luis Mendoza, and on his great wisdom in leaving the presidency of the institution in the hands of María Dolores García.

Alumni 97 UCAM

Representatives of each of the ten degrees with which UCAM began its academic activity in 1997, have expressed their appreciation for ‘the excellent training received, but above all, the human quality that we received’. They also expressed the honour of having studied at UCAM, ‘which we will always carry in our hearts’. They all agreed in their appreciation of José Luis Mendoza, who ‘always encouraged us to move forward in those first moments’, describing him as ‘a good man’, ‘approachable’ and ‘with very clear ideas of what he wanted UCAM to be’.

Alumni UCAM

Luis Emilio Pascual, Senior Chaplain of the Universidad Católica de Murcia, stated that ‘we have had both hard and happy times, and we have always lived them as a family; for we are a family’.

The event was attended by members of the Board of Trustees of the Fundación Universitaria San Antonio, members of the UCAM University Council, Deans, Vice-Deans, professors and administrative and service staff, who have supported this beautiful event with their presence. This ceremony has reflected the great fruits of José Luis Mendoza's project, the Universidad Católica de Murcia San Antonio, which the alumni will always carry in their hearts.