On June 20, the College of Arts and Sciences held its Recognition Ceremony for the Class of 2017. A total of 423 students from ten degree granting programs were honored at the UP Theater, University of the Philippines Diliman.

This year’s graduation theme was ‘‘Iskolar ng Bayan; Manindigan para sa Katotohahanan, Karapatan at Kararungan.” Of the total graduates, 354 received their undergraduate degrees and 69 their graduate degrees. 36 were recognized as magna cum laude and 102 cum laude. This reveals that 33% of this year’s students graduated with honors. Magna cum laude graduates have a GWA of up to 1.45 and cum laude, up to 1.75. This year’s top graduate was Scott Dean P. De Sagon (BS Biology, GWA 1.29). He graduated magna cum laude and delivered the valedictory address.

In his welcome message, Dr. Leonardo R. Estacio, Jr, CAS Dean congratulated the graduates and told them that the ceremony was the culmination of a long and challenging yet rewarding journey. “Mahirap makapasok sa UP pero mas mahirap lumabas. Ngayon ay isa na kayong Iskolar ng Bayan at puwede na ninyong isuot ang sablay na taas noo at buong dangal,” he said. He extended his congratulations and salutations to the parents and encouraged the CAS faculty to continue to inspire and share their knowledge and expertise. He encouraged them to instill the Tatak UP, that of honor and excellence to the next generation of Iskolar ng Bayan.

Dean Estacio reminded the graduates that they have a country to serve and to prove that investing in UP education was indeed the right thing to do for the country. “You belong to a special breed of scholars - Iskolar ng Bayan. Therefore, always remember that blood, sweat and tears of the Filipino masses supported your education and studies at the best university in the country. It is both just and fair to serve our people first, no matter where life takes you,” Dean Estacio emphasized.

In her message to the graduates, Chancellor Carmencita D. Padilla stressed the importance of continuing education and to become leaders in shaping the nation. “Ang pag-aaral ay hindi lang dapat magtatapos sa inyong napiling kurso. Ang pag-aaral ay patuloy, kahit magtrabaho man kayo. Ano man ang natapos ninyo malaki ang inyong responsabilidad - responsabilidad na maging lider,” Chancellor Padilla said. The Chancellor stated that a UP education does not only ensure that students graduate but prepares them to become future leaders. “Hindi kayo nagtapos para maging empleyado lang ng opisina kundi para maging isang lider.

The Chancellor encouraged the graduates to come back and visit UP Manila as alumni. She mentioned the ongoing renovations and construction at UP Manila infrastructure aimed to provide improved campus life and quality service. Projects include a new gym, affordable dormitory inside the campus, and state-of-the-art University Library, among others.’ “We hope to have many surprises on your return,” Chancellor Padilla said. She urged the graduates to return and give back to the University. “Sa inyong pagtatapos sabihin ninyo na mahal ko ang UP at ako ay babalik at tutulong.”

The final message to the graduates that Chancellor Padilla considered very important was love of country. She reminded them work in service of Filipino people and improving their lives is the best way to express their gratitude. “Sa araw na eto tatlong mensahe lang ang iiwan ko sa inyo at ang pinakamahalaga sa lahat ay mahalin ang Pilipinas. Pag nindi ninyo natangal sa inyong puso, lahat ay susunod na. Mahalin ang ating bansa.”

DSWD Sec. Judy M. Taguiwalo addressed the graduates as Guest Speaker. Special awards were presented to outstanding graduates in various categories. Miguel Rivera, third year BS Biology student, delivered the response on behalf of the juniors during the symbolic turnover ceremony. The ceremony culminated with the graduates’ taking their Oath of Loyalty to CAS led by Mr. Vicente V. Que, Jr, President UP Manila CAS Alumni Society. Several CAS graduates rushed in front of the ceremonial stage with streamers and placards after their induction into the CAS Alumni Society for the traditional lighting rally.

Prof. Carol S. Pulumbarit emceed the Recognition Ceremony. (Dina A. Estanislao)