What the Ateneo stands for—what shapes it, where it comes from, where it wishes to go, and where it can take the rest of the world—may be better understood through its motto, Lux in Domino: “Light in the Lord.” This is not the school’s original motto. The Escuela Municipal’s 1859 motto was Al merito y a la virtud: “In Merit and in Virtue.” This motto persisted through the school’s renaming in 1865 and in 1901.
The motto Lux in Domino first appeared as part of the Ateneo seal introduced by Father Rector Joaquin Añon, S.J. for the 1909 Golden Jubilee. It comes from the letter of Paul to the Ephesians, 5.8: “For you were once in darkness, now you are light in the lord. Live as children of light, for light produces every kind of goodness, righteousness, and truth.”
This break from the original signifies a more profound appreciation of what the Ateneo de Manila stands for. Beyond mere merit and virtue, the Ateneo’s aim is to bring light, the Lord’s Light, into this dark and broken world.
Life at the Ateneo is a journey into God’s light, and more than that, learning to understand how to keep that light burning brightly for others. In the pursuit of illuminating truth, living as children of light calls for an insistent moving towards God as the center of a person’s life, and then moving out into the world to effect change rooted in love and truth.