In what was described as an event that brings both “pain and joy,” the University of Santo Tomas bade goodbye to 8,048 graduating students in the auspicious 2015 Baccalaureate Celebration, held on May 15, 2015 (Friday), at the historic UST Parade Grounds.

The annual tradition honored this year’s graduating class, who successfully hurdled their academic requirements en route to their earning of degrees, to be conferred later in the month during the Solemn Investitures.

When I See You Again

In his homily, the Rector, the Very Rev. Fr. Herminio V. Dagohoy, O.P., likened graduation and the acquisition of learning as the “birth,” “nakakita ng liwanag” for the soon-to-be alumni and alumnae of UST. “UST today opens its womb so that you can begin a new life,” Dagohoy said in his message.

This gift of life must not be kept to oneself, however. “Studying or learning not only makes us knowledgeable and employable; they make us fertile and able to bear fruits. The moment of fecundity happens when we share it with others for the good of society and development of humanity.”

As the Rector congratulated the graduates, he reminded them not just to be men of “ambition, but to be men of mission.” He stressed that weariness comes not from work nor problems, but from aimlessness.

Like a true father who felt the bittersweet emotion caused by parting and an attendant expectation of his children’s eventual return, the Rector quoted lines from the now-famous “When I See You Again” soundtrack of Furious 7, ending his speech by assuring the graduates of the Thomasian community’s fervent prayers for their success.

3 C’s + 1: Competence, Compassion, Commitment, and Character

In her graduation message, outgoing Central Student Council President Ina Angela Vergara thanked the University community for every memorable moment, every meaningful lesson, and every noteworthy endeavor it helped her and her fellow graduates enjoy.

Paying tribute to all the graduates from the different faculties, colleges, institutes and schools, Vergara underscored that the batch’s success must lead to a legion of Thomasians who will live out the three Thomasian core values of competence, compassion, and commitment, as well as a fourth C: character.

Bearers of Light

The traditional blessing of the UST mission cross and the lighting of the candles symbolized the sending off not just of intellectually gifted graduates, but also morally grounded individuals who will be witnesses to Christ’s example of love and service.

Upon the lighting of the graduates’ candles, a sea of tiny orange flames illuminated the otherwise dark Parade Grounds, and all the light bearers looked toward the beacon of Christianity, the Cross atop the Main Building, as the graduates sang the University Hymn with pride.