University of the Philippines (UP) Mindanao held its 21st Commencement Exercises on 26 June 2018 at the Administration Building Atrium in UP Mindanao, Mintal, Davao City. A total of 250 candidates were declared graduates by University President Danilo Concepcion and Chancellor Sylvia Concepcion. Class of 2018 was led by eight Magna Cum Laude followed by 59 Cum Laude.
A Conferment of the Degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, was held for Dr. Fortunato de la Peña, Secretary of the Dept. of Science and Technology. Following his Conferment, Secretary de la Peña was introduced as the Guest Speaker for the 21st Commencement.
Speaking in Filipino, Secretary de la Peña admitted to being deeply honored to be invited as Guest Speaker because it would be his first time to be a speaker in a graduation ceremony of a UP constituent university. He asked of the audience that he be allowed to deliver his message in the manner of "kwentuhan".
He narrated the beginnings of UP Mindanao wherein he served in a University Committee to study the proposed establishment of a UP in Mindanao, that was likewise pushed by UP President Emil Javier and Davao Congressman Elias Lopez. He also served in a Committee to propose the degree programs to be offered and was present in the opening of the first dormitory.
For the new graduates, he advised them to choose their preferred job and to know their measure of success early on. He admitted that he had no plans upon his own graduation but was recruited to teach in UP where he eventually completed 43 years of service in the College of Engineering. He advised the graduates to embrace challenges, be they difficult, because can only be two outcomes--success and recognition, or failure and lessons learned. He advised the importance of "work hard" over "work smart" in order to succeed. By way of example, he was invited to serve in government in 1982 and on three subsequent occasions, eventually serving under five Philippine Presidents.
As secretary of science and technology he disclosed the three directives from President Duterte to DOST: to reduce inequality; create new opportunities; expand potentials for growth. In response, the DOST is expanding support for new entrepreneurs or existing enterprises in order to reduce inequality, to increase scholarships in order to create new opportunities, and stimulate new research or expand existing research such as in pharmaceuticals, space engineering, artificial intelligence, and agriculture. (See the video here: [_1_], [_2_], [_3_])
The Commencement Exercises proceeded with the recognition of graduates, the oath-taking to the alumni associations, and the student speech on behalf of class 2018. The 21st Commencement was graced with the presence of Regent Francis Laurel, Regent Frederick Farolan, Regent Angelo Jimenez, Student Regent Ma. Shari Oliquino, Staff Regent Analiza Fulvadora, VP Elvira Zamora, VP Nestor Yunque, Mariquit de la Peña, and Atty. Gabriela Concepcion.
Message of UP President Concepcion to the UP Mindanao Class of 2018
"My warmest congratulations to the graduating class of UP Mindanao!You have come a long way since you first enrolled in UP.During your stay with us you have grown intellectually, socially, emotionally, and mentally. We are proud to have been part of your development.
UP has endeavored to provide you the genuine space where you could freely express yourself without fear of discrimination, discuss ideas in a constructive manner and with respect, explore your interests, and really begin to carve your own path to becoming the person you want to be.As graduates of UP Mindanao, this desire for self-determination is woven into your intellectual heritage. It was the collective desire, after all, of Mindanao's own people for a UP in the region that is both sensitive to its people's needs and steeped in its culture that inspired this constituent university's founding in 1995. Like UP's other campuses, UP Mindanao is an institution that is attuned to global and timeless knowledge, while having it's feet rooted in the lives and experiences of the Mindanaoans.When the independence of our students is tempered by sensitivity to the needs of the marginalized, it produces a crop of scholars that are masters at reconciling national development with local values. In a society that puts a rightful premium on growth and innovation, UP Mindanao's graduates serve as both catalyst and conscience--combining the technical acumen to engender change with a heart to recognize and rectify its excesses.As the Philippines gears up towards development in an integrated ASEAN region, the nation will need UP Mindanao's graduates more than ever. While it is true that securing the foundations of a prosperous and global society is beneficial, it should not come at the expense of ways of seeing and thinking that are uniquely ours.
Moreover, we live in a world where access to technology and basic resources is thankfully increasing. The challenge, I believe, is in welcoming this prosperity while remaining true to the identities and systems that make our lives meaningful. UP Mindanao's graduates have a lot to teach the nation in this respect, and I know each and everyone of you will rise to the challenge when your time to lead finally comes.
Earning your degree--this is an achievement of a dream. But we all know that this dream of just part of an even bigger one. Graduating signals your journey's end as a UP student and ushers in the next chapter of your life.However you wish to continue on your path, I hope that you will remain guided by our values of honor, excellence, and public service. Be brave in meeting the challenges ahead of you and use the best of your abilities--your intellect and skills--with integrity, humility, conscientiousness, and compassion."
Danilo L. Concepcion
The 21st University President
Message of Chancellor Sylvia Concepcion to the UP Mindanao Class of 2018
"Graduates, you have successfully completed a milestone in your life--your college degree from UP. This is no small feat and many will agree.
As you graduate, we in UP Mindanao are confident that you are ready. We have endeavored to mold you into critical and productive thinkers, and inculcated in you the values that will allow you to be socially aware, vigilant, and advocates of just causes. No one knows what lies ahead but know and be comforted that we have equipped you with the right knowledge, skills, and character to succeed in your chosen path.
Now as Iskolar Ng Bayan, it is your turn to pay forward through service to the Filipino people. It is your turn to provide ways and ideas that will help solve the various problems of society. While talking about the issues of a good first step, an even better step is to use your education to provide solutions. Learn to work with others around you, since you do not have the monopoly of ideas. Be humble because there will always be someone who will be better than you at something. Understand that you can be a better human being if you decide that you can learn something from everyone. And that is the ultimate goal in life--to become a better human being, to be part of the positive force that helps solve problems and make the quality of life better for everyone, especially the underprivileged and the underserved.
In this 21st Commencement Exercises, we will send off our biggest batch of graduates, to date. We have, by far, dispersed 3,072 graduates to Mindanao and beyond. You will encounter them with increasing frequency in various places you will visit and most of them are strategically placed in areas where development is taking place. As you continue on your journey, you will become one of these UP alumni, and I ask that you remember your alma mater. By your own example or exemplary practice, help strengthen the belief among fellow Mindanawons that it is in quality education that the true path to a state of empowerment can be discerned.
To the graduating class of 2018, congratulations!"