Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (UC): Friends UC Board of Directors meets in Chile for the first time in three years

“I congratulate you for being at the Catholic University. I went to the Catholic University, graduated from the School of Law, and I am proud to have studied here, and I hope that you are also proud of this place, which is fantastic, it is a unique university”.

These words from Sava Thomas , president of Friends of Catholic University in Chile, Inc. (Friends UC), a philanthropic organization based in the United States that supports the Catholic University in its initiatives and projects, sum up well the joyful and emotional spirit that was experienced in the long-awaited reunion of the organization with Chile, on 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. Under the wing of this instance, other events were also held that brought together students, academics and campus authorities.

“I congratulate you for being at the Catholic University. I went to the Catholic University, graduated from the School of Law, and I am proud to have studied here, and I hope that you are also proud of this place, which is fantastic, it is a unique university” – Sava Thomas, president of Friends UC

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The activities began on Thursday, May 12, with a colloquium entitled “Chile: the beginning of the end of the constitutional road and the scenarios that are opening up.” The academics from the Sebastián Soto and Patricio Zapata School of Law , and the professors and researchers from the Institute of Political Science Valeria Palanza and Julieta Suárez-Cao, who, under the moderation of the pro-rector of Institutional Management Patricio Donoso, shared with the members of the Friends UC board of directors, special invitees and the rector Ignacio Sánchez, his view on the drafting process of a new Magna Carta just at a time when the Constitutional Convention closed the debate.

Scholarship delivery
Subsequently, a meeting was held with fellows from the Leading the Way Program, which exists thanks to the support of Friends UC. This initiative, focused on university students from vulnerable socioeconomic backgrounds, seeks to consolidate the four language skills in English, expose participants to different types of leadership, and broaden exposure to the sociocultural context of an English-speaking country, for which 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 such as New York and Washington DC.

On the occasion, the Civil Engineering student Carlos Sáez was distinguished with the Leading the Way Scholarship in the name of Rand Araskog, donated by the director Juan Cappello.

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 MAVI-UC , which was led by its director, Amelia Saavedra.

The next day, meanwhile, the board meeting was held, in which both the Friends UC projects and those led by different units of the university that have been supported by said organization in the past were analyzed. That was the case of Choose Educar, whose executive director, Joaquín Walker, commented with the Friends UC board on the work they do to ensure that Chilean boys and girls 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 fee and the reference fee; Along with the above, there was also the Count of 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 University Catholic, Ignacio Sánchez, during the event.

A central moment of the ceremony consisted of the portrayal made of Cristóbal Conde’s mother, Eulalia Donoso Medina, a key person in his life, and her motivation for establishing the scholarship, which, in its two forms, has benefited 255 people. Mrs. Eulalia passed away in March of this year, and in her honor the Count Eulalia Donoso Medina Scholarship was awarded to Chemistry and Pharmacy student Francisco Godoy. “She is a fantastic person, a woman who was very free, a pioneer,” said Sava Thomas. The recognition was delivered by Sebastián Conde, brother of Cristóbal.


Friends UC has a decades-long relationship with the Catholic University, which began in 1989. The entity’s 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 pro-rector of Institutional Management, Patricio Donoso; the Economic Vice Chancellor, Loreto Massanés, and the professor of the Roberto Méndez School of Government. Likewise, it is made up of renowned Chilean and foreign professionals who share a deep conviction for the importance of the university and its work.

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