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2013 UPD graduates urged to be a hero in their own way
SEJA receives honorary degree at UPD graduation.

(April 30)— “Kung katulad natin si Andres Bonifacio sa mga karaniwang bagay, kaya rin kaya nating tularan ang kanyang kabayanihan?” 

This was the question posed by Vincent A. Yu, summa cum laude, to his fellow graduates as he spoke on behalf of the graduating class during the 102nd General Commencement Exercises held on April 28 at the University Amphitheater.

Yu believes the Iskolar ng Bayan can  also be a hero in his or her own way. He said “Hindi lamang sa pamamagitan ng mga mababaw na gawain gaya ng pagdorm sa Katipunan o ng pagtaguyod ng sariling org, kundi sa pamamagitan ng ating angking kakayahan, hangarin, at pagpupunyagi. At gamit ang mga ito, kaya nating maging mga bayani.”

He compared his fellow UP students to the national heroes and said “Sa UP, nakita ko si Jose Rizal sa mga gabi-gabing nagpupuyat sa paglalathala ng sanaysay o sa pag-aaral para sa pagsusulit hindi lamang para sa sariling kapakanan, kundi para sa kanilang mga minamahal. Sa UP, nakita ko si Melchora Aquino sa mga bukas-loob na nagsasakripisyo para makatulong sa libu-libong nakikinabang sa mga libreng UPCAT tutorials, scholarship funds, at outreach programs na kada-semestreng isinasagawa ng mga organisasyon. At sa UP, nakita ko si Andres Bonifacio sa mga araw-araw na naglalakad mula bahay hanggang AS dahil sa kakulangan ng pamasahe; sa mga buong-pusong nangangampanya para sa kanilang mga paninindigan; at sa mga walang-takot na nakikipaglaban at nakikibaka para sa kanilang mga prinsipyo’t  adhikain.”

Although transforming the nation is easier said than done, Yu said he is hopeful. He shared that he had been recruiting scholars to teach in the most undeserved public schools in the country and managed to recruit 18 from UP.

 “In the next two years, these 18 heroes will be touching the lives of at least 2,000 children. But changing 2,000 lives is insignificant relative to the millions in need in our country today. Changing 8 million lives, however, isn’t. If we 4,000 graduates, help touch the lives of 2,000 Filipinos each in the next few years, I have no doubt that this nation will be a much better place,”he said.

Lastly, he urged his fellow graduates to follow the steps of Jose Rizal, Tandang Sora and Andres Bonifacio and respond to the challenges attributed to being a hero.

At the ceremony, Senator Edgardo J. Angara was conferred an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by the University of the Philippines Diliman.

He was recognized for his “resolute advocacy and contributions to the cause of education in the country” and for his “distinguished service at the helm of the University, his Alma Mater, championing its tradition of academic excellence and advocating fiscal autonomy and securing its future as the country’s premier institution of higher learning.”

UP confers the honorary Doctor of Laws degree upon individuals who have “distinguished themselves in service to the state, to learning and to humankind.”
In his acceptance speech, Angara congratulated the graduates of Class 2013 and said he is also  a proud and grateful product of the university as he was once a student like them.  

He informed the students that being  in UP “is in itself a success: nay a privilege. Only a handful of Filipinos—15 out of every 100—manage to obtain a college diploma. That makes all 4,355 graduates of you an elite group. You may very well be our country’s new generation of ilustrados—the enlightened Filipino middle class.”

He regarded the enlightened middle class as the force of change. He said having a strong middle class “is the backbone of civil society; the bulwark against democratic decay; and the motive power of our people’s progress.  A strong middle class is the voice of reason that moderates vested interest; the force of change that compels societies to invest in their own future.”

Moreover, he reminded the UP graduates “You hail from an institution of leaders and game-changers, with a proud tradition of excellence and service. You must be nothing less, achieve nothing less.”

Lastly, he said “I have laid before you a vision of the future—a future that is your generation’s opportunity to seize. Regard this as not a burden, but as a mission. Remember that the only way you will justify the hard work you’ve accomplished, and be worthy of your country’s investment, is to live a life of purpose—a purpose greater than yourselves.

Fifteen summa cum laude led the 4,355 graduates*, where 3,446 received their undergraduate degrees, 718 their Master’s and 79 their doctoral degrees.

UP awards the highest academic honors of summa cum laude to graduates who earned a weighted average grade (WAG) of 1.20 or better.

Charles Michael T. Herrera, BS Biology (BS Bio) with a WAG of 1.065 led the top honors, followed by Julian David P. Cabrera, BS Psychology (BS Psych, 1.084); Jann Adriel C. Sy, BS Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (BS MBB, 1.087). The other top honors are: Jasper Powell S. Esguerra, BS Chemical Engineering (1.089);  Andrew Vincent S. Yap, BS Industrial Engineering (1.104);  Vincent A. Yu, BS Business Administration (1.112), and Jonel Nicole A. Jao, BA Linguistics (1.119).

The remaining top honors include: Angel E. Jaurigue Jr., BS Civil Engineering (1.123); Antonette Mariama R. Bilog, BS Psych (1.143);  Krista Carmina B. Arellano, BA European Languages (1.151);  Jane Melissa D.L. Lim, BS MBB (1.175); Melvin Floyd E. See, BS MBB (1.175); Michelle Ann S. Lao, BS Bio (1.175);  Joshua Vincent H. Baroña, BS Psych (1.186); and Louie Arielle A. Dado, BS Psych (1.196).

UPD Chancellor Caesar A. Saloma delivered the welcome remarks. He informed the graduates that they will join the 400,000 or so new college graduates produced annually by the Philippine higher education system in competing for the good jobs.

However, he reminded the graduates that “bilang gradweyt ng UP, may katatangi-tangi kayong bentahe. Hindi lang kayo tinuruan ng UP ng kritikal na pag-iisip, kundi maging kung papaano kumilos ng nararapat.”
Saloma also urged the UP graduates to excel as leaders in their own chosen fields of discipline or specialization. Moreover, he said “inaasahan na kayo ay maging mabuting halimbawa, maging inspirasyon sa iba sa pamamagitan ng inyong etika sa trabaho; at pinakamahalaga sa lahat, ay kumilos ng may dangal.”

Meanwhile, in a message to the 2013 graduates, UP President Alfredo E. Pascual said “Kayong mga magsisipagtapos ngayon—isa lang ang hiling sa inyo ng Unibersidad: huwag iwawaglit sa inyong kamalayan ang bayang tinubuan na nagbigay sa inyo ng muni at pagkatao, saan man kayo mapunta. Alalahanin ang mga naunang nagsipagtapos sa Unibersidad na nag-alay ng kanilang sarili para sa bayan. Alalahanin din ang mga bayaning nagpunyagi sa ikatitindig ng bayan at sa inyong pagkamulat.”

In addition to the top honors, UPD produced 218 magna cum laude and 813 cum laude. The Latin honors are awarded to graduates who obtained a WAG of up to 1.45 and 1.75, respectively.

* As of April 29, 2013 according to the data from the OUR.


2013 UPD General Commencement photo gallery

Vincent A. Yu's speech

Chancellor Caesar A. Saloma's speech

Senator Edgardo J. Angara's biography