By Kirstin Jello Bernabe and Nikki Careen Palacios
Palma Hall was designed by architect Cesar Concio and was built in 1951. It was named after the fourth UP president, Rafael Palma, who advocated liberalism and freedom of expression, as he was a politician, a journalist and a lawyer. He was the first Filipino to be given the position, which he held from 1923 to 1933. He fought for the autonomy of the University of the Philippines and was called the “father of academic freedom.”
Palma Hall was one of the first buildings to be constructed in the Diliman Campus after the University of the Philippines administration decided to move its flagship campus from the Manila campus in 1939.
Palma hall initially housed the College of Liberal Arts which was separated into three units in 1959; (1) the University College, which taught general education courses; (2) the College of Arts and Sciences , which offered undergraduate courses as fields of specialization and (3) the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, which served those who would pursue their Masters and Doctorates after graduation from the university.
In that same year, College of Liberal Arts was officially named as College of Arts and Sciences (CAS); hence, Palma Hall became more commonly known as the A.S. building.
Further, on October 26, 1983, the UP Board of Regents issued Administrative Order No. 170, which created three new colleges from the former College of Arts and Sciences: (1) the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy (CSSP), (2) the College of Arts and Letters (CAL), and (3) the College of Science, according to the CSSP history posted on its official website.
Palma Hall eventually became the home of Anthropology, Geography History, Linguistics, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology and Population Institute – departments which were collectively known as the CSSP.
The Third World Studies Program and the Folklore and Philippine Studies Program were also under the same roof.
While new buildings were constructed for the CAL and CS some classes under these colleges were still held at A.S. The Biology, Physics and Chemistry Pavilions remained behind A.S. building, facing Quirino Avenue.