Alejandro Melchor BE’29
Alejandro Melchor provided invaluable service to the Philippine government's secretary of National Defense in 1935, member of President Manuel Quezon's cabinet in exile during the war, military advisor to the Philippine from 1939 to 1945, a colonel in the Philippine army and as an educator and administrator in UP and the Philippine Military Academy.
He was an engineering alumnus, former member of the engineering faculty College of Engineering, secretary from 1926 to 1940, and a member of the UP Board of Regents. The College of Engineering building, which is named Melchor Hall in his honor, broadly stands as a monument to his exemplary service and lifetime achievements to both UP and the country in times of peace in times of war.
Alejandro Melchor came from Ibajay, Aklan. He graduated with highest honors with a degree in civil engineering in 1924. He was a brilliant mathematician and later became the head of the Mathematics Department of the Philippine Military Academy in Baguio. Just before World War II, he was sent to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston where he earned a master’s degree in civil engineering in 1941. During the war, he served as the Secretary of National Defense and President Manuel Quezon’s Philippine cabinet in exile. He was also responsible for designing the pontoon bridge, the result of one of his research projects. He said that these bridges became invaluable to the allied forces and significantly contributed to their success in the war.
During the 1963 homecoming of the UP Alumni Engineers, the Engineering building was named Melchor Hall in honor of the late Col. Alejandro Melchor. Dedication ceremonies were held, and a plaque was unveiled at the portico of the edifice with then President Romulo as guest speaker and the family of Alejandro Melchor as guest of honor.
In the 1964 homecoming, the cornerstone of the UP Alumni Engineers building - a project funded by contributions from engineering alumni and friends, was laid at the corner of Magsaysay Avenue and Apacible Street in UP Diliman. The portrait of Alejandro Melchor was likewise unveiled at the Engineering Alumni Center.
Melchor received numerous awards and citations, among them, the Legion of Merit from the US government in 1945, the Distinguished Service Star in 1948, and a Distinguished Alumnus award from UP in 1949. He was also given a Beta Epsilon Service award in 1969.