Last June 7, UA&P bid farewell to the graduates of 2014, marking the beginning of a new chapter in the lives of the graduates. The 19th Commencement Exercises, which took place in the plenary hall of the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City, saw university faculty, staff, students, and families proudly watch the graduates receive their diplomas and their respective honors.

The ceremony began with a salutation speech offered by Ms. Rowela Aguillon, a graduate of the BS Applied Mathematics program. In her speech, Ms. Aguillon pointed out that grades did not measure a person’s worth or education as much as that person’s ability to bring out the best in others. She urged her fellow graduates to take on the challenge of alleviating the problems of other people. “Let us excel, let us lead, let us serve, and let us not forget to blaze a trail,” said Ms. Aguillon.

Ms. Aguillon’s speech was followed by the Commencement Address given by Mr. Wilfred Steven Uytengsu, Jr., the President and CEO of Alaska Milk Corporation, who was in turn introduced by UA&P trustee Dr. Antonio Torralba. Mr. Uytengsu’s speech consisted of pieces of advice to the graduates based on his experiences as a rising professional. Mr. Uytengsu told the graduates: “Regardless of what you pursue in life, do so with vigor, and more importantly, do so with integrity.”

Eunice Tan Contreras, a graduate of the MA Education, Major in Development Education program, gave the valedictory address. In her address, Ms. Contreras noted how the graduates’ efforts in their studies will later on affect their work in society: “All our seemingly small decisions have transforming spillovers into society… We study to perfect ourselves as well as to contribute effectively in the society.” This emphasis of the graduates’ role in society was underlined when Ms. Contreras reminded her fellow graduates that the perfection of man could not be sought in isolation.

Several students from both the five-year and the four-year programs were recognized for their academic excellence throughout their stay in the University. Among those in the latter category, Christel Valeen Robleza Chiu (BS Entrepreneurial Management) was awarded the honor of Magna Cum Laude. Among the five-year program graduates, Eunice Tan Contreras, Gilleane Julia Versosa Altuna (MS Industrial Economics), and Francesca Nicole Chan Torres (MS Management) received this honor.

Mrs. Anjanette Timbol-Decena (’97 AB Humanities-General Humanities) led the incorporation of the graduates into the UA&P Alumni Association.

In his closing speech, Dr. Mariano recognized the 19th batch of graduates as “The Batch of Firsts,” noting the batch’s various achievements in the last five years. He mentioned, among them, the institution of student organizations like the University Student Government from the Student Executive Board and even trending on Twitter during typhoon relief operations. He ended his address by inviting the graduates to return to the University as alumni and contribute to the University’s legacy of service to society.