The University of Santo Tomas confers honorary awards on noteworthy individuals, through the conferment of Honorary Degrees and Honorary Professor ranks.
Honorary Degree Awardees
Honorary Degree Awardees
An honorary academic degree is conferred by the University as a way to honor a distinguished person’s contributions within a specific field or to society in general.
Watch the Conferment Ceremonies here.
RICARDO S. PO, SR.
Founder and Chairman Emeritus of Century Pacific Food, Inc.
Ricardo S. Po, Sr. was the founder of Century Pacific Food Inc., one of the largest branded food and beverage manufacturers in the Philippines.
An entrepreneur and scientist, Mr. Po was a pioneer and trailblazer in the Philippine food industry, setting high standards for product quality, sustainability, and affordability. Early life experiences and his humble beginnings shaped Mr. Po’s ideology of making nutritious food accessible to everyone. This belief became the inspiration behind his company philosophy of ‘Affordable Nutrition’ which translates to their goal of giving every Filipino family access to healthy and nutritious food.
To achieve this goal, Mr. Po’s manifested strong belief in the power of Science and Technology, which has driven Century Pacific to the top of its game as a company that innovates, creates, and sustains manufacturing processes that produce high-quality and affordable products and services. Science-based approaches are at the helm of Century Pacific operations, as Mr. Po emphasized the need for scientific inquiry to better serve his company’s stakeholders. His attention to the needs of the consumers enabled Century Pacific to produce products that are aligned with the taste of the Filipino people. The development of variant flavors of canned tuna, affordable canned meat, and plant-based food items are some of the many products developed through science-based approaches that are in tune with the local preference.
By strongly encouraging scientific inquiry and study, several breakthroughs were introduced by Century Pacific. Mr. Po’s technology investment led to the very first microwave thawing system for frozen meat blocks in the country, a technique much ahead of its competitors at the time of its purchase. His redesigned corned beef can filler was recognized as the fastest in the industry and 24 years after its conception, it is still the fastest in the country or possibly in the world. In the 90s, Mr. Po’s groundbreaking investment from Belgium paved the way to treat wastewater from marine manufacturing operations. Furthermore, under his dynamic leadership, Century Pacific has since expanded its portfolio with flagship brands such as Century Tuna, Argentina, 555, and Birch Tree.
The company has continued Mr. Po’s efforts in utilizing science and technology to effectively manage natural resources and minimize harmful emissions. This environmental consideration significantly lessened water consumption by 30% and led to the commissioning of a 5.2mw solar PV plant in Century Pacific’s facilities in Mindanao.
This respect for knowledge can be traced to his education in the University of Santo Tomas. As a Thomasian, he started his journey as an Industrial Chemistry student in 1952 but had to stop his studies to focus instead of making a living. He would return to the University fifty years later, by then with undeniable success in the food industry, to receive the degree of Master in Business Administration (MBA) by the UST Graduate School through the Commission on Higher Education’s Expanded Tertiary Education Equivalency Accreditation Program (ETEEAP) in 2006.
Mr. Po has proven that financial hardship is not a hindrance to achieve great things in life. His relationship with UST is a testament to this life lesson as he was instrumental in providing students with the opportunity to learn. Mr. Po and his company supported scholars of the BS Food Technology program through the UST Office of Student Affairs during the early 2000’s. Thomasians have also been able to conduct their on-the-job training sessions with Century Pacific and its subsidiaries. He was also an active member of the alumni of BS Chemistry Batch Class 1956, to which several fundraising activities and donation drives can be attributed.
Looking ahead, several initiatives, through the partnership between the UST College of Science and Century Pacific, will strengthen the relationship among the academe, industry, and alumni not just in our main campus in España, but also in our forthcoming campuses in the south.
Indeed, Mr. Po’s life’s work is worthy of praise and recognition. His legacy lives on through his family, his company, and his alma mater. An entrepreneur, a scientist, a Thomasian, Ricardo S. Po, Sr. lived a full life through his innovations that bring affordable nutrition to the Filipino home—a life worthy of emulation, admiration, and recognition.
The University confers the honorary professorship upon those who are able to demonstrate a national or international stature for innovation, publication, and teaching, supplemented by a record of research achievement or highly ranked scholarly publications.
Professor Emeritus Geoffrey A. Cordell obtained his Ph.D. in structural and synthetic natural product chemistry at the University of Manchester in 1970. After two years as a NATO postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Chemistry, Massachuse s Institute of Technology (MIT), he joined the College of Pharmacy, University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). A Professor since 1980, he served as a Department Head for 12 years and as Interim Dean of the College of Pharmacy for almost three years. From 1984-1985, he was an Associate Dean in the Graduate College and in 1986 became Assistant Vice-Chancellor for Research, responsible campus-wide for human and animal subject research, faculty seed grant funds, research policies, and reviewing all faculty promotion recommendations. From 1984-1988, he served as Chairman of the campus Animal Care Committee. He was the Co-founder of the US-Thai Consortium for Pharmacy Education, which developed and trained faculty for six existing and eight new schools of pharmacy in Thailand. He retired from the University of Illinois in 2007 to learn from and share his experience with countries around the world. Since 1983, he has served as President of Natural Products Inc., a consulting company. He was the Principal or Co-principal investigator on more than $40 million of research funding.
He is the author of about 600 research publications, book chapters, comprehensive reviews, and professional publications. He is also the author of three books, the editor of 37 books, including 29 volumes in the series “The Alkaloids: Chemistry and Biology”, and is a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of 30 international scientific journals. He has traveled very widely, particularly in Asia, and has been an invited plenary symposium speaker at over 170 major international meetings in the United States, Morocco, England, France, Germany, Poland, Austria, Hungary, Italy, Turkey, Jordan, Iran, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Myanmar, ailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Hong Kong, the Philippines, the Republic of China, the Republic of Korea, the People’s Republic of China, Japan, Fiji, Ecuador, Brazil, Peru, Chile, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, and Mexico. He is a former President of the American Society of Pharmacognosy, and is also one of sixteen Honorary Members. He was named as the Outstanding International Ethnopharmacologist for 2015 by the Society for Ethnopharmacology.
In 1981, he became an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at the University of Munich. He is an elected Fellow of the Royal Chemical Society, the Linnean Society of London, the American Society of Pharmacognosy, and the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists. In addition to assisting international organizations such as WPRO, corporations, and academic organizations in several countries around the world develop their research and academic programs, he is an Honorary Professor at Sichuan University, Chengdu, China and at Amity University, Noida, India. He is a Visiting Professor at universities in Japan, Malaysia (four universities), Colombia, Peru, Mexico, and Brasil, and was formerly an International Collaborative Partner of the UTAR Global Research Network in Malaysia in biodiversity and cancer. In 2010, he served as one of three authors of the WPRO Regional Strategy for Traditional Medicine in the Western Paci c. His research interests focused on the discovery of biologically active natural products and the application of new NMR techniques for spectral assignment and structure elucidation; they now include the chemistry and biosynthesis of alkaloids, the sustainability and quality control of medicinal agents, the remote detection of biologically active natural products, and the use of vegetables as chemical reagents. His recently (2015) published book is called “Alkaloids: A Treasury of Poisons and Medicines”. A comprehensive (2,000 pages) treatise on the “Biosynthesis of Alkaloids” and a volume on “Sustainable Medicines” are in progress. He has over 19,520 citations, an h-index of 63, and an i10-index of 404.
Professor Cordell contributed to the continuing professional development program of UST in the field of natural products chemistry on Drug Discovery and Development through seminars he conducted at UST during the period of 1992-2010. UST faculty members of the College of Science and Faculty of Pharmacy, as well as the graduate students, benefited from these seminars. He had generously shared literature materials derived from NAP LERT (NAtural PRoduct ALERT), a database on natural products researches that was managed by the University of Illinois at Chicago. He served as expert adviser/consultant and co-authors of some of the young natural product scientists of UST that allowed publications in highly reputable journals. He was likewise generous in sharing his knowledge and expertise with the Philippine chemistry and pharmacy community as plenary and invited speakers at the Philippine Chemistry Congress, Organic Chemistry Teachers’ Association, the Natural Products Society of the Philippines and the UST Philippine Pharmacy Research Congress. Prof. Cordell has served as member of the International Advisory Committee of Acta Manilana, the offcial journal of the Research Center for the Natural Science since 2002. He imparted his experience and reputation in international publications in reviewing articles on natural products research. His involvement in the Acta Manilana contributed in promoting the international character of the journal which eventually led to the recognition of the Commission on Higher Education as Category-A Research Journal.
Takashi Okamoto was born in February 21, 1953 in Anjo City, Aichi, Japan. He obtained his Doctor of Medicine degree from Keio University School of Medicine in 1977, and Doctor of Philosophy in 1983 for his pioneering work on retroviral involvement in human autoimmunity.
He immediately became a clinical associate at the Department of Internal Medicine, Keio University. He has specialized in clinical immunology of autoimmune diseases, such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) as well as infectious diseases of bacterial and viral origins. He also became the clinical chief at the infectious disease ward for tuberculosis (TB) in the same institution.
In 1983, he joined Dr. Robert C. Gallo at the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA as a Fogarty fellow until 1986, during which time he published a series of seminal studies on human T lymphotropic virus type I (HTLV-1) and human immunode ciency virus (HIV) causing Adult T-cell Leukemia (ATL) and AIDS, respectively. His pioneering research on HIV-encoded Tat virus specific transcriptional activator was published in the journal Cell in 1986. In the same year, he went back to Japan to join the National Cancer Center Research Institute in Tokyo. Dr. Okamoto later became the section head of Virology Division of the institute. One of his pioneering works at National Cancer Center Japan was the rst mathematical proof of the multi-step carcinogenesis of ATL, which was awarded the Tamiya Award of Japan in 1989.
In 1993, he became professor and chairman of the Department of Molecular Genetics, a newly established department, at the Nagoya City University Medical School in Nagoya City. He has been a professor for 25 years at NCU and has directed a number of medical and biological research projects, such as the elucidation of the HIV transcription regulation and latency maintenance, as well as the mechanisms of autoimmunity in transcriptional regulation of pathogenic genes. His work on the regulation of NF kappa B has earned Prof. Okamoto an academic prize from the Japanese Rheumatology Association in 2004.
Prof. Okamoto and his group have further deciphered that NF-kappa B also plays major roles in carcinogenesis and cancer metastasis. These multi-faceted features of NF-kappa B’s action lead him to identify seven novel interacting proteins, all of which have been published in more than two hundred leading scientific journals, including Cell, Science, Journal of Biological Chemistry, Immunity, Lancet, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in USA, and other high-impact-factor journals.
Prof. Okamoto has been a member of Science Council of Japan for a decade and acted as chairman of a number of its national committees related to his scientific expertise, such as “Dual-use problem in the scientific study of pathogenic microbiology” and the “Due literary in microbial education in Japan”.
Prof. Okamoto’s ties with the UST College of Science started in the late 1980s through collaborations on Biomedical researches with Thomasian scientists. rough the years, he has been instrumental in the acquisition of higher degrees of a number of Thomasian scientists through research collaborations and hosting of research visits of Thomasian faculty members and students. He has delivered regular lectures in various activities of the UST College of Science for more than 2 decades. In 2011, he was awarded as an honorary member of the Philippine Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in recognition of his contributions to the development of the society. He was instrumental in the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between UST and NCU in 2013 that resulted to a number of implemented activities including the holding of three Joint International Symposia on Molecular Sciences, yearly internships of Thomasian students at NCU, and the series of academic visits of administrators and faculty members from both institutions.
Dr. John L. Holdsworth obtained his doctorate degree in chemical physics from Griffth University, Australia in 1996. Currently, he is a level C senior lecturer of physics in the School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, Faculty of Science and Information Technology, University of Newcastle, Australia. He was the Assistant Dean for Teaching and Learning of the Faculty of Science and Information Technology, University of Newcastle from 2010 to 2012. He was the chairman of the Department of Physics at the Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines from 1999 – 2001, where he taught physics from 1995-2001. He was once a tutor and laboratory demonstrator in the School of Science, Faculty of Science and Technology of Gri th University. He was also a consultant and trainor in a number of industrial companies from 2013 -2015.
Prior to being part of the academe, Dr. Holdsworth was once the regional sales manager of Spectra-Physics Pty. Ltd. for Australia and New Zealand from May 1988 to January 1991. He was also a Research and Development scientist from 1980-1982, engineer from 1982-1984, sales manager from 1985-1987, and applications engineer from 1987-1988 of Quentron Optics Pty Ltd. in Australia.
Dr. Holdsworth was awarded e University of Newcastle Vice Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence in 2005. In 1999, he and his co-authors won second place, Philippine Council of Advanced Science and Technology Research and Development – Department of Science and Technology, Outstanding R&D Award in Advanced Science and Technology for the paper “Measurement of weak transmittances by stochastic resonance”.
He has been a recipient of 28 grants for research, teaching and learning, equipment, and travel. He had written a chapter on “Gratings in photonic crystal and other structured optical bres” in John Canning (Ed.), Trends in Photonics published by Transworld Research Network in Kerala, India in 2010. He has authored and co- authored a total of 28 articles published in reputable journals, like British Journal of Dermatology, Journal of Chemical Physics, Optics Letters, Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids, Nano Letters, Applied Optics, Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology, Journal of Chromatography, Physical Sensors and Journal of Physical Chemistry and Optics Express. He has presented scientific papers in both local and international conferences of prestigious organizations like International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE), American Institute of Physics, and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and has been working with 29 local and international research collaborators. His research interests include photonics, material science, and chemical physics.
Dr. Holdsworth has been a regular member of the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE) since January of 2013, an affliate member of the Institute of Physics since 2002, a member of the Australian Institute of Physics and the Australian Optical Society since 2001, and e Optical Society of America since 1999. He was the secretary of the Australian Optical Society from 2004 to 2014 and the treasurer of Samahang Pisika ng Pilipinas from 1998-2001.
Dr. Holdsworth played a significant role in the development of the BS Applied Physics Major in Instrumentation program at UST that led to its offering in 2002. He taught General Physics to the BS Accelerated class in the 1st semester of Academic Year 1999-2000 in the College of Science of UST. He has given lectures on several occasions in UST such as the 5th Rev. Fr. Ciriaco Pedrosa, O.P. Memorial Lecture in Physics on August 7, 2000; Alternative Class during Science Week 2014 on Feb. 5, 2014 and Science and Technology in Education on Feb. 6, 2014 in cooperation with the College of Engineering. He supervised two students in 2014 and one student in 2015, all enrolled in BS Applied Physics program of UST, in their research internship in the University of Newcastle.