Last February 15, 2018 (Thursday), the University of Santo Tomas conferred upon entrepreneur Tony Tan Caktiong, Chairman and Founder of Jollibee Foods Corporation, the honorary degree Doctor of Business Administration at the Medicine Auditorium.

Filipino par excellence
In her address of petition, Graduate School Dean Marilu R. Madrunio, PhD enumerated Tan Caktiong’s achievements, both locally and abroad. Madrunio emphasized that Tan Caktiong has built not just a homegrown conglomerate—now the fifth largest restaurant company in the world—but also a legacy that Filipinos can be proud of.

Begins and ends with people
In his address of acceptance, Tan Caktiong emphasized that the focus on people is necessary for a business to succeed. “The businesses that are admired and built to last are those that also believe that everything ordinately begins and ends with people. Regardless of industry, taking care of your people is paramount.”

The newest member of the illustrious roster of honorary awardees likewise called on students in attendance to “dream big, and when you achieve your dreams, dream bigger. I for one can say that indeed, dreams do come true.” He likewise told students to not be afraid to fail, stating that most of his greatest lessons came from failures.

Chemical engineering and Chicken Joy
“Some of you may be wondering whether studying here figured heavily on my future,” said Dr. Tan Caktiong, acknowledging that one may wonder how an engineering degree helped him create Chicken Joy, Jolly Spaghetti, and Regular Yum with Cheese, three iconic staples of the Jollibee menu.

“I can share to you now that the answer is a resounding yes. Engineering nurtured my natural curiosity and helped develop my analytical skills,” Tan Caktiong said, as he linked these to his success in business later on.

‘My partner in success’
Dr. Tan Caktiong heaped praises on his wife, fellow Engineering graduate Grace Tan Caktiong, whom he said shared this recognition with him. Mrs. Tan Caktiong is the President of Jollibee Foundation, which allows the corporation to give back to the community apart from providing employment to the thousands of people who work in the conglomerate.

An illustrious roster
Dr. Tan Caktiong is the latest member of the illustrious list of UST’s honorary degree awardees. Among his fellow honorees are General Douglas MacArthur, former Philippine President Corazon Aquino, Mercury Drug Corporation founder Mariano Que, and UnionBank CEO and President Justo A. Ortiz.