Distinctions were conferred in honor of student achievers from the University of Santo Tomas at the Student Awards Day held on May 31, 2022, through hybrid modality at the UST Quadricentennial Pavilion Arena and live-streamed via the UST Facebook page.
UST Rector Very Rev. Fr. Richard G. Ang, O.P., Ph.D., commended the students and said, “Be proud of what you have achieved, but at the same time, keep your feet firmly planted on the ground. Give thanks to the Lord for His unending grace for you have been blessed to be an instrument of blessing to others.”
The Father Rector also emphasized the important role of the parents, guardians, and teachers of the student awardees.
Agents of Change
Serving as the guest speaker was Ar. Justin David N. Tan, an alumnus from the Class of 2014 and a topnotch examinee in the 2017 Architect Licensure Examination. Currently, he is a practicing Project Coordinator for Eanovation Inc., an all-inclusive home renovation start-up based in San Francisco, California, USA. He was a former President of the UST Architecture Student Council, and a committee chair for the Central Student Council. As a student, he received the Benavides Outstanding Achievement Award in 2012 and the Roque Ruaño Leadership Award in 2014.
Tan, who has been an achiever from a young age, underscored vital aspects of leadership, viewing it as an opportunity to be an agent of change, to be able to contribute to something greater than the self.
“Serving and making a difference – that makes you a leader, not fancy titles or positions. Devote your time in making a difference in the lives of the people around you,” said Tan.
Particularly, Tan emphasized the responsibility of leaving a legacy and maximizing the impact of leadership terms, saying that, “Your time in UST is limited. Many of you will soon graduate. You won’t always be here to fight the battles you started. You probably won’t be here to eat the fruits of the seeds you sow. So you have to inspire others to continue what you began. Because leadership is not about you, not about me, not about ourselves. It is always about all of us.”
Tan urged the students to be “Leaders that serve faithfully; leaders that communicate well, who listen when needed and speak up when it is called for; leaders that persist against all odds; and leaders that inspire others to be the same. We are at the precipice of a massive societal change. People are rediscovering their power to be a force for good. Be the leaders that will keep this flame burning.”
The top academic achievers from each of the 18 tertiary and post-baccalaureate academic units received the Rector’s Academic Award, conferred by the Father Rector Very Rev. Fr. Richard G. Ang, O.P., Ph.D., assisted by the Registrar Mr. Cesar Velasco. The valedictorian for the Class of 2022, who garnered the highest general weighted average at 1.031, was Mr. Louie Rince C. Suyo from the Faculty of Pharmacy.
Delivering the response on behalf of the student awardees, Suyo said, “We are recipients of something to be celebrated and to be shared. The talents and treasures we have must not end with medals and certificates. Let us use our knowledge, skills, and influence to make people’s lives better. If we do so, we reinforce a culture of sharing and build a healthy environment for learning.”
Thirteen exemplary officers of recognized organizations received the Quezon Leadership Award for their service, including Qjiel Giuliano Mikhl Z. Mariano from the College of Nursing who engaged collaborations for the 2021 Institute of Technical Education (ITE) College Singapore Virtual Global Education Programme to the Philippines in partnership with Dunman High School of Singapore.
Another award, the Pope Leo XIII Community Development Award, was given to three students and three organizations for their outstanding involvement in community development. Among the recipients was Charles Kevin Mina for adding a new partner community and increasing the number of scholars supported by BUTIL (Bonded University Towards Imbued Learning) to 100.
The St. Dominic de Guzman Award was given to three organizations that held activities of significance to the entire University. This included the Becarios de Santo Tomas, who initiated the Scholarship Renewal Help Desk to assist students.
Thirty-seven individuals and 24 groups received the St. Albertus Magnus Award for excelling in research. Among them were the UST COVID-19 Vaccine Awareness Team, under its research adviser Rev. Fr. Nicanor Austriaco, O.P., for their publication “Interrogating COVID-19 vaccine intent in the Philippines with a nationwide open-access online survey.”
The Benavides Outstanding Achievement Award is given to students who have academic or scientific accomplishments of national or international significance. It was granted to 14 individuals and 11 groups, including Team NeoFlorence from the College of Nursing for winning the International Telecommunications Union GenConnect Pitch Challenge.
For students who excelled in sports and the arts, the Pope John Paul II Outstanding Achievement Award was given. Twenty-seven students in the individual category and four groups received this recognition.
The Tradition of Excellence Award is given to student organizations that have shown sustained exemplary performance by having received the same award for five consecutive years. The UST Communication Arts Students’ Association was recognized for having been awardees from 2018 to 2022.