Holy Angel University (HAU) is a Catholic university established by a layperson in 1933. It opened in the old convent of the Holy Rosary Parish Church in the then-town of Angeles, guided by the vision of Don Juan Nepomuceno, who, with parish priest Fr. Pedro Santos, sought to bring affordable quality Catholic education to the area’s less privileged students. Now, the modern, sprawling HAU campus stands across from its original site at the heart of the city’s historic district.
The University’s character education journey started from its founding and continued through the various HAU programs, projects, and activities that grew and evolved over the years.
As part of its continuing efforts to pursue its mission of forming students to be persons of conscience, competence, and compassion, HAU applied with Character Education Partnership Philippines (CEP Philippines) in 2017 for shared expectations, standards, ownership, and accountability as a School of Character.
In December, HAU became the first University in the Philippines to secure recognition. CEP founder Dr. Thomas Lickona officially awarded the distinction to the University when he came to the Philippines in 2019. In April 2023, The University received its recertification as a School of Character awarded by Dr. Michelle Borba of CEP USA.
Character education has been integrated into University-wide strategic initiatives and translated into specific activities in the yearly operational plans. One of the features highly commended and consistent for its recognition in 2017 and 2023 is HAU being a Caring Community.
By being a Caring Community, Holy Angel University was commended at the CEP International Conference in the USA in 2019 for its NO STUDENT LEFT BEHIND (NSLB) program by the Office of Student Affairs with SHARE A MEAL as a best practice component. Recognizing that no student should ever go hungry, employees, alums, and even students pooled resources to provide meals for financially challenged students.
With the challenges posed by the COVID pandemic in 2020, all the more the University expressed its commitment to care for students by expanding its support services under the ANGEL CARES umbrella program. Under this program is “HAU@weconnect,” which provides connectivity assistance to students for their online mode of classes; “In Their Shoes,” a community pantry that will bridge needs for meals by students, especially student assistants; “Solemates” for those in need of school shoes; “Project 1.1.1” that engages alumni to support scholarship and other support services to students; and “Walk with an Angel,” that extends pastoral services. Other than these are learning, caring, and listening conversations for students and employees.
The University expands its critical leadership commitment to character education by establishing the Character Education Program Desk (CEP Desk) and appointing an administrator for the program’s management and development and engagement of CEP Champions as conduits at the department level. A significant outreach activity by the University’s CEP Program is the annual conduct of values formation to parents and public school teachers in Angeles City and Pampanga, given their critical role as character formators.
Being a School of Character is neither a path to righteousness nor a metric indicative of a school being better than the rest. Instead, the University views character through the lens of trying to actualize the core values into campus life and into each university community member’s life beyond the University’s walls – including among partner communities and sectors. Imbuing character into our lives is why the CEP’s advocacy and program should be shared with parents, partner communities, and other schools. Each stakeholder becomes a character formator inspired to form children, youth, and support groups while striving for personal improvement. It is about building each school community member’s core – goodness and rootedness to the foundations of good character.