Last September 6, 2018 (Thursday), the University of Santo Tomas conferred the Professorial Medal upon new Professor-rank faculty members, in solemn conferment rites held within the Eucharistic Celebration presided over by the Very Rev. Fr. Herminio V. Dagohoy, O.P., PhD.

The diversity of a university

In his homily, Fr. Dagohoy related the Gospel of how Jesus commanded Peter, a fisherman, to cast his net into the sea despite having failed to catch any fish. Fr. Dagohoy, who hails from the coastal town of Hagonoy, Bulacan, said that Peter must have been perplexed at the command, coming from someone who was not a fisherman, but nevertheless, Peter obeyed out of courtesy, and eventually, faith.

Fr. Dagohoy used the story to highlight the diversity of a university and how the different domains co-exist despite having several ways of doing things. The Rector said that the miracle of that day was not just the bountiful catch that Peter got, but Peter himself, for he had “a change of heart by listening to Jesus….From then on, Peter had a change of life, a new way of thinking, a new way of loving, a new of giving, a new way of living.”

Humility in light of increased achievement

“My dear Professors, today, you will start your journey into the deep. The medal that you’re going to receive now should not give you the consolation that you have to rest and live on the shallows [it’s] far from it,” the Rector said.

Highlighting the title, Fr. Dagohoy said that: “You are called ‘professor’ because you will profess something, your expertise. You have a mission….Don’t live in the shallows. Go into the deep.”

In rallying the new Professors to further heights, the Rector reminded the honorees: “Learn to be humble. It’s not because that you’re now professors that you now stop learning. Obedience is not doing something because someone told you to do it. Obedience is, first and foremost, listening. As Professors, it is the greatest challenge for us to listen. In a university, we have to stretch our patience and have enormous and massive amount of listening attitude because that is where new ideas will come in, perhaps a new way of doing things, and we’ll then remain to be learners.”

Why within a Mass?

The Rector also reflected on the need for an academic exercise to be held within the Mass. “You are Catholic educators. It is not just simply an academic accomplishment. Today, just like Peter, you will be a given a promise and a commission.

The Rector reminded the faculty members to also be “confident” because of the “mission you have been given by God. You are commissioned to do a special work. That gives you the confidence to perform your mission as Professors.”

The new Professors

Recognized during the ceremonies were the following: Prof. Patricia M. Empleo, PhD (UST-Alfredo M. Velayo College of Accountancy); Prof. Clarence M. Batan, PhD, Prof. Paolo A. Bolaños, PhD, Prof. Franz Giuseppe Cortez, PhD, Prof. Felicidad G. Pereña, EdD, Prof. Camilla J. Vizconde, PhD (Faculty of Arts and Letters); Prof. Roberto D. Ampil, Jr., PhD (College of Education); Prof. Lola Domnina B. Pestaño, PhD (Faculty of Engineering); Prof. Melinda M. Atienza, MD, Prof. Flerida Hernandez, MD, Prof. Elizabeth Angelica L. Roasa, MD (Faculty of Medicine and Surgery); Prof. Susan N. Maravilla, DNM (College of Nursing); Prof. Librado A. Santiago, PhD, Prof. Ross D. Vasquez, PhD (Faculty of Pharmacy); Prof. Cheryl R. Peralta, DrPH (College of Rehabilitation Sciences); Prof. Joan Christi T. Bagaipo, PhD (Institute of Religion); Prof. Allan Patrick G. Macabeo, Dr. rer. nat., Prof. Mary Beth B. Maningas, PhD, Prof. Rey Donne S. Papa, PhD, Prof. Marc Eric S. Reyes, PhD, Prof. Karen S. Santiago, PhD, Prof. Mario A. Tan, PhD, Prof. Bernard John V. Tongol, PhD, Prof. Marie Antoinette S. Vargas, PhD (College of Science).

The Professor rank is the highest rank one can achieve as a faculty member through the promotion system in place. There are a total of five levels, the maximum rank being Professor 5.