Dominador “Dom” I. Ilio was known to his peers as “Mr. Beta Epsilon”, and “Mr. UPAE”. His family and his friends remember him as a quiet and simple man who loved writing , painting, and playing bridge. He was a true Renaissance man: and engineer; poet, painter, and educator. Born November 5, 1912 in Malinao, Aklan, he grew up with fourteen brothers and sisters. His father dealt in rice and livestock trading and bought parcels of land, while his mother worked as a public school teacher. It is a struggle for his parents to send him and his siblings to school, but Ilio graduated valedictorian from Capiz High School and later earned his degrees in Associate in Surveying in 1935 and geodetic Engineering and Civil Engineering in 1939.
It was during his undergraduate years that Ilio began writing poetry and short stories. He became the editor of the UP Engineer student publication; was a member of the UP Writer’s Club; and served as the literary editor of the Philippine Collegian in his senior year. While working for his MS in Hydraulics at the University of Iowa, he attended the renowned poetry workshop of Paul Engle. Apart from writing, Dom Ilio was also a painter who participated in several art shows.
His son, Dominador “Joji” Ilio, recalls that his father was a simple man and that “Material things were not so important to him. I remember the shoes that he wore were dilapidated with some speck of paint. He never had a car. It was only later that I realized with that education, talent and connection of Tatay, our family could have been better off financially, like his contemporaries. But no - he remained satisfied with the way he was - being a teacher and writer.
Dom Ilio’s dedication to the College of Engineering is evident in his years of service. From the time that he joined the faculty in 1940 until his retirement in 1978, he was a professor of hydraulics. He was a college secretary in the 1950’s and for 12 years starting 1950, chairman of the Department of Engineering Sciences. From 1954 until his death, Dom Ilio served as secretary of the UP Alumni Engineers (UPAE). In 1977, he was hailed as the Most Distinguished Engineering Alumnus. In 1994, the UPAE awarded him with a Lifetime Service Award.