The University of Santo Tomas in partnership with the UST Faculty Union, recognized faculty members, librarians, and guidance counsellors for their service to the University in the annual Dangal ng UST (Honor of UST) Awards held on May 10, 2019, at the UST Medicine Auditorium.

Now in its 20th year, the theme for the celebration was, “Dalawang Dekadang Pagpapala, Pasasalamat, at Pagdiririwang sa Tagumpay ng Gurong Tomasino.” (Two Decades of Blessing, Gratitude, and Celebration of the Success of Thomasian Teachers)

In his message, UST Rector Very Rev. Fr. Herminio V. Dagohoy, O.P., commended the appropriateness of the theme, “…sapagkat sa nakaraang dalawang dekada ay maraming Tomasinong guro ang naglaan ng oras at panahon sa pagtuturo ng mahusay, sa patuloy na pagsasaliksik at paglikha, sa pagtulong sa pamayanan at paglilingkod nang tapat sa Unibersidad.” (…because in the last 20 years, many Thomasian mentors have dedicated their time to excellent teaching, continued research and innovation, and being active in the community and loyal service to the University.)

However, the Father Rector also emphasized that the true success of teachers lie not in the number of years of service, and cannot be measured by the number of awards received or research works produced.

Kung susuriing mabuti, malaking bahagi ng kanyang tagumpay ay mamamalas sa kinalalagyan, o kalidad at antas ng pamumuhay ng mga magaaral na dumaan sa kanyang masusing pagtitistis at pagtatasa, at matiyagang paghuhubog sa kanilang mga kamalayan, upang maayos na matimbang ang katuwiran laban sa kamalian, matutuhan ang tamang paraan kung paano umiwas sa mga panlilinlang, at magkaroon ng lakas ng loob na manindigan sa katotohanan,” Fr. Dagohoy explained. (If we would contemplate it, a large part of [a teacher’s] success is manifested in the status or quality and level of living of students passing through their thorough scrutiny and assessment, and patiently molding their consciousness, in order to properly weigh out righteousness against error, to learn the right way to avoid deceptions, and to have the courage to stand up for the truth.)

Quoting the philosopher George Steiner, the Father Rector reminded the faculty of their mission, “To awaken in another human being powers, dreams beyond one’s own; to induce in others a love for that which one loves; to make of one’s inward present their future; that is a threefold adventure like no other.”

Former University Rector and former Chairman of the Commission on Higher Education Rev. Fr. Rolando V. Dela Rosa, O.P., was the guest speaker. In his address, he challenged faculty members to remember that teaching is not merely a profession, but also a profound vocation.  He discussed, “[As God’s call,] a vocation is a fundamental decision in life, defines the person’s presence in the world, expresses one’s deepest identity, and orients one’s actions towards destiny.”

Following the address was the awarding of the Gawad Benavides or the service awards for milestone years. Thirty-seven faculty members received the Gawad Benavides for 20 years, while 38 mentors were awarded for 25 years of service. Twenty received the award for 30 years of service, and 23 were lauded for 35 years of service.

For 40 years of service in the University, eight were recognized, namely: Prof. Marilyn Mabini, ASEAN Eng., from the Faculty of Engineering; Asst. Prof. Carmelita Cardona and Assoc. Prof. Rodolfo Rabor from the Faculty of Pharmacy; Prof. Ma. Corazon Zaida Gamilla, M.D., Prof. Josephine Lumitao, M.D., and Assoc. Prof. Edgardo Orlina, M.D., from the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery; Assoc. Prof. Ma. Rebecca Penafiel from the College of Architecture; and Assoc. Prof. Evangeline Timbang from the College of Tourism and Hospitality Management. Dr. Gamilla gave the response on behalf of all awardees.  

The Gawad San Alberto Magno, a special award for outstanding published research, was given to Mr. Leonardo A. Guevarra, Jr., Ph.D., of the Faculty of Pharmacy under the Health Sciences category (Immunology of a Fap2 peptide mimotope of Fusobacterium nucleatum and its potential use in the diagnosis of colorectal cancer); Asst. Prof. Andrea G. Vargas, Ph.D., of the Faculty of Pharmacy under the Science and Technology category (Cloning molecular analysis, and developmental expression of 3 oleosin cDNA isoforms in coconut [Cocos nucifera L.]); and Assoc. Prof. Moises Norman Z. Garcia, Ph.D., and Assoc. Prof. Maria Rosario Virginia C. Garcia, Ph.D., of the College of Science under the Social Sciences and Education category (The Environmental Literacy of Elementary School Teachers based in the City of Manila and Nueva Ecija Province). Asst. Prof. Chuckberry J. Pascual, Ph.D., of the Faculty of Arts and Letters under the Humanities and Cultural Studies category and for outstanding publication, namely, for his research work “Ang Tagalabas sa Panitikan” while his book “Ang Nawawala” earned him the Outstanding Book award under the Humanities and Cultural Studies category.    

The Gawad San Lorenzo Ruiz is given to those with outstanding achievements or are recognized in the national or international scene. The awardees were: College of Science mentors Prof. Allan Patrick G. Macabeo, Dr.rer.nat., who received the Alexander von Humboldt Research Award and Prof. Mario A. Tan, Ph.D., who was named  2018 Outstanding Young Scientist in Pharmaceutical Sciences by the National Academy of Science and Technology Philippines, and Novartis Next Generation Scientist by the Novartis Pharma Switzerland; Faculty of Arts and Letters mentor Mr. Paul A. Castillo who won the third place in the Talaang Ginto Makata ng Taon 2018 given by the Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino; College of Education faculty member and Educational Technology Center Director Asst. Prof. Anna Cherylle M. Ramos who was named Greatest Individual for Education Inclusion in the 2017 Edu Tech Asia Awards by the EduTech Asia / Terrapin; Faculty of Pharmacy Dean Prof. Aleth Therese L. Dacanay, Ph.D., who was named ‘Outstanding Pharmacist’ in the 2018 Outstanding Professional of the Year Award by the Professional Regulation Commission; and College of Accountancy Dean Prof. Patricia M. Empleo, Ph.D.,  who was named to the Global Accounting ‘Hall of Fame’ by the Institute of Certified Management Accountant.

The board of judges was composed of academics in the various disciplines, and literary writers:  Arnold V. Hallare, Dr. rer nat., Hope Sabanpan-Yu, Amaryllis T. Torres, Alfred A. Yuson, Galileo S. Zafra, Ph.D., Maricar W. Ching, Ph.D., Evelyn A. Songco, Ph.D., Edilberto P. Manahan, Ph.D., Junie B. Billones, Ph.D., Mark Anthony D. Abenir, DSD, and Esperanza C. Cabrera, Ph.D.