Tablet for Summa Cum Laude Honors Unveiled
A tablet containing the names of at least 24 summa cum laude graduates of Silliman University was unveiled during the recent celebration of the 110th Founders Day.
The tablet, which recognizes the highest academic achievement of its students, is now ensconced on a wall before one enters the Robert B. and Metta J. Silliman Library. It now also serves as an inspiration to all students for them to attain the same honors through sheer hard work and determination.
Attended by University officials, the unveiling ceremony served as a precursor to the naming ceremony for the Sixto and Elvira Guanzon Conference Room at the College of Law and the Dr. Jovito R. Salonga Center for Law and Development at Villareal Hall-Anastacia Yu Cang Uy Hall.
Leading the honorees was Henry C. Nicolas, Bachelor of Arts, who graduated on April 22, 1947 who later became a lawyer and professor at Silliman University. The oldest living honoree is Judge Sixto R. Guanzon, Bachelor of Arts, who graduated on April 4, 1950 together with a fellow summa cum laude, Dr. Agaton P. Pal, Bachelor of Science in Education, who resides in the US. They were followed by Elnora S. Estacion, Bachelor of Arts; Samuel Partosa, Bachelor of Business Administration and Expidito S. Fernandez, Bachelor of Laws on March 17, 1954; Benjamin L. Camins, Bachelor of Arts, May 29, 1954; Teodoro V. Cortes, Bachelor of Arts; Bee Tuan O. Uy, Bachelor of Arts; Esther J. Takahara, Bachelor of Science in Education, March 23, 1955; Lina Mendoza Cortes, Bachelor of Business Administration, March 21, 1956; Luisa Arrieta Villegas, Bachelor of Arts, March 28, 1958; Winfred C. Casiple, Bachelor of Theology, March 18, 1959; T. Valentino S. Sitoy Jr., Bachelor of Theology, March 19, 1963; Nathan G. Alford, Bachelor of Arts, April 23, 1967; Jurgette A. Honculada, Bachelor of Journalism; Leonora Flores Udarbe, Bachelor of Divinity, April 21, 1968; Dorothy L. Wickler, Bachelor of Arts, April 18, 1971; Evelyn J. Caballero, Bachelor of Arts, April 15, 1973; Corazon D. de los Santos, Bachelor of Science, March 18, 1979; Maria Margaret Bernadette C. Austria, Bachelor of Arts, March 25, 1984; Stacy Danika S. Alcantara, Bachelor of Mass Communication; Marvin M. Flores, Bachelor of Science in Physics, March 22, 2009; and, Hector Bailey G. Calumpiano, Bachelor of Arts, March 20, 2011.
The names were culled by the Registrar and Admissions Office as early as between 1938 and 1947 and onwards — 1938 being the year when Silliman Institute attained university status. As the years progress and as the list may become longer, names will be added to the tablet.
The ceremony was made possible through the initiative and efforts of Atty. Rowena Guanzon, one of the daughters of Judge Sixto and Elvira Guanzon; the College of Law through its dean, Atty. M. Mikhail Lee Maxino; Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Betsy Joy Tan; Vice President for Finance and Administration Prof. Cleonico Fontelo; and Outstanding Sillimanian awardee Architect Manuel Almagro.
Formally presenting the honorees who came with their families or who were represented by their families was Ms Annabelle Pa-a, University Registrar, whose records on file as basis for the summa cum laude graduates, was attested by Silliman President Dr. Ben Malayang III.
Ms Honculada, in her testimony on the wisdom of excellence, said that three factors guided her through the years, and these are having to achieve depth, focus, and balance. Excellence, she said, needs rigor, discipline, grace, mercy, and compassion. In her work as a staunch advocate of women’s rights and welfare, Honculada knows whereof she speaks. She added that you cannot achieve excellence if you shortchange your family. Ms Honculada, who hails from Butuan, gave a workshop at the Divinity School during the 50th anniversary of the Church Workers Convocation on August 29. She was accompanied by her mother.
On the other hand, Dr. Sitoy, who continues to teach part-time in local universities, shared that life is not monolithic, drawing inspiration from the wisdom of Aristotle, who was a student of Plato who, in turn, was a student of Socrates – and who all epitomize the wisdom of excellence. He said that one is truly excellent if one experiences a diarrhea of words, raising your level of performance as you go up the rung.
In his response on behalf of the honorees, Judge Guanzon opined that excellence is simply just doing common things commonly well, a dictum handed down to him by his own father, and which he hopes to convey to the youths – that life is meaningless if you do not bring meaning in the lives of others. (Dr. Cecile M. Genove)