Alumni Letter August 2011

Alumni Letter August 2011

Image“Tears can only come again. Elsewhere. In other times. Maybe whenever we recall Mom Edith’s love and grace, her words on the page or as she uttered them to our face, addressing the ever-expanding family that came to grow and roost, in her very home.

We all lay her to physical rest today — all of us, wherever we are — all her sons and daughters whom she fed and nourished as we took our little steps in that big world that is the republic of letters. We know we’ll never see her again, never hear her actual voice — that lilt of diction, articulation, emancipation for all of us whenever we were caged by too much theory or doubts, or a little less loving. And there will be more chances to pay tribute to Mom Edith even as we keep bidding her farewell, even as we keep rebirthing all her bright words that strengthened and inspired us.”  – Alfred A. Yuson, Philippine Star 

A gift of life for Silliman’s Founders Day: the celebration of the 92 years of the life and work of the National Artist Edith Lopez Tiempo. From the day she passed on at sunset, the day we celebrated the 95th year of Silliman Church on August 21; up to the the state funeral on August 29, the day after the 110th birthday of our Alma Mater, “the mother of Philippine Literature” gathered tributes from the literary luminaries of the Philipines. Some came with their poems for their Mom Edith, others made long shouts on facebook, others had essays on their blogspots and republished their works on the Tiempos. A  good number of writers flew in to be with Rowena and Maldon and Rowena’s husband, Lemuel and daughter, Rima.

The Philippine President was represented  by the country’s cultural prime movers Emily Abrera, Chairperson of the Board of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), CCP President Raul Sunico, and Felipe de Leon, Jr. Chairman of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).

A MIGHTY FORTRESS is our GOD! The theme for celebrating  the first decade into Silliman University’s Second Century, the 110th Founders Day, was perfect as it affirmed the earlier promise of the 2001 celebration of the centennial of the first American school in the Philippines.

The Silliman University Cebu Alumni Chapter in cooperation with the Silliman Alumni Association, Inc. (SAAI) spearheaded the opening salvo with the Silliman Run 2011 on  August 7. Dubbed as “Run to Educate,” the event gathered more than 2,000 participants who came as early as 5 o’clock in the morning. Proceeds of the event were donated to the University during the TIPON Dumaguete by Engr. Siegfried Sia, President of SU Cebu and Judge Rafael Crescencio Tan,Jr. National President of SAAI.

The 95th year celebration of the Silliman Church (established as a student church in 1916), echoed the same theme with the affirmation of “God’s 95 years of faithfulness.” Highlight of the celebration was a Vesper Service which featured the different choirs and campus singing groups: Children’s Choir, Campus Choristers, Covenant Choir, J2MAD, SU Gratitude & Goodwill Ambassadors, Men’s Glee Club, Sunrise Choir, Heritage Choir, Family Choir, Pilgrim Choir and Chapel of the Evangel Choir. The Church also launched its centennial celebration in 2016 with the release of butterflies and a historic walk to Silliman Hall- site of the earlier student church.

ImageCrowned Miss Silliman was dance artist Alexis Dawn Masangkay who made history by becoming the first Miss Silliman from the College of Engineering. She was also awarded the Best Speaker and Best in Talent awards.  Miss Nursing Athena Mission  was first runner-up and was adjudged Miss Silliman Cover Girl.  Miss Medical School Bianca Bulaybulay  came in next as second runner-up  and Miss Silliman Headline Girl. Miss Mass Communication Gesta Gamo was third runner-up, and Miss Business Administration Vanessa Hinoguin was fourth runner-up.  Miss Medical Technology Keziah Montebon was Best in Gown, Best in Global Professional Attire and Best in Casual Wear.

The student booth festival Hibalag 2011 had the towering Red Shield Fraternity booth as Booth of the Year which also won the Best in Display award. The SU RHOANS Fraternity and Sorority booth was awarded Best in Design with the architecture inspired by the “Mighty Fortress” theme. Aggies Booth was awarded Best in Display for Academic-related organizations, Agusan Sillimanites got the Best in Display for Regional Organizations and the HI:SAW (the foreign students booth) was awarded Best Design and Gimmick for Regional Organizations.

The Cheerdance Contest championship went to the College of Computer Studies.

The induction of the Heritage Builders, to express gratitude to the faithful Sillimanians who served the University for more than 20 years had an interesting twist this year. It was the first time that the number of staff awardees equaled the number of faculty honorees. The honorees were:   Biological Scientist, Dr. James W. Chapman and his wife, Dr. Ethel R. Chapman who taught English and Mathematics (1916-1950);  Former Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Rosito P. Macalisang who taught Mathematics from 1950 to 1986; his fellow Math teacher,  Prof. Caesar V. Cavales (1957 to 1992), and Chemistry Professor, Felicisimo L. Kiamco who served from 1939 to 1978. The staff honorees included: Chief Plumber Fausto L. Flores (1915 to 1967), Medical Center electrician Bonifacio V. Mirasol (1925 to 1967), Medical Center aide Pablo E. Moreno (1936-1969), plumber Areston K. Piñero (1925-1967), Student Nurses Home Matron Melitona T. Rodriguez (1924-1964), and the Office of the President Administrative Assistant Lorseli A. Utzurrum (1952 – 1994).

Other activities filled up the Founders Day calendar. The Eminent Persons Lecturer was Puerto Princesa City Mayor Edward S. Hagedorn on “Environmental Governance”.  Other lecturers included former Medtech professor Mrs. Florita Maslog on “Medical Technology in the Digital Age.”; Senator Teofisto Guingona III “Pinoy Solutions to Corruption”, Dr. Fabian Dayrit of Ateneo de Manila “New Paradigms on Coconut Oil”, Chemistry alumna Dr. Evangelyn C. Alocilja of Michigan State university and Lawrence Jeff Johnson, Director of ILO Country Office for the Philippines “Pathways to Education and Decent Work for the Youth”. The Engineering Class of 1986 had a successful Balik-Aral program, the Psychology Department had a fruitful harvest from their alumni through the lecture series and the Ruby reunion of SUCN Class of 1971 also had successful Balik-Talent lectures.

Books written by Silliman faculty and alumni were launched: In Samarkand by Cesar Ruiz Aquino; Beautiful Accidents  and Heartbreak and Magic, both by Ian Rosales Casocot; Whole Brain Literacy by Dr. Perla Rizalina M. Tayko; and Folk Poetry of Southern Leyte by Placido Go-Zaga

Two events further heightened the nostalgia felt by returning alumni. The first was a turnover of Dr. Pedro V. Flores Memorabilia to the Silliman Library, with special guests Mrs. Penny Rose Flores Vendiola and her family from Canada in attendance; and second was a Memorial Service for former First Lady Pearl G. Gamboa at the Udarbe Memory Chapel with children Melanie and David present.

The naming of old and new landmarks of Silliman has become part of the Founders Day celebrations as well. The main building of the Silliman University Medical Center, was named in memory of Heritage Builder in Healing Ministry, Dr. Jose “Tatang” Garcia.  His children, Drs. Florentina “Doody” Garcia Carre and Laong Laan Garcia were present at the ceremony. The Academic Building Complex of the College of Agriculture was named in memory of Dr. Quintin S. Doromal who was president from 1973 to 1982 and who was instrumental in the construction of facilities at the College of Agriculture and the faculty development program which sent Agriculture professors to Australia.  His children, Melanie and David, and grandson Endy represented the family. The Early Childhood Building near Hibbard Hall was named in honor of Dr. Paul and Mrs. Edna Lauby who were represented by daughter Jennifer. The building in front of Vernon Hall formerly New Men’s Dorm was named Agustin A. Pulido Hall in honor of Dr. Pulido who was president when this residential zone was developed. Pulido Hall currently serves as food service center now, and underway are plans to expand its use include art amenities for dormers and rooms for international students. Dr. Pulido, his wife Dorothy and their family graced the event.

The main birthday celebration on August 28 started with another tradition, the Silliman Band’s Diana at dawn which was a welcome reminder to  the Silliman community about the sunrise service held by the Gate of Opportunity facing the boulevard. The preacher was University President Dr. Ben S. Malayang III whose sermon had a strong historical perspective. The Founders Day Sunday Service was held later at the SU Church with Dr. Gideon Alegado giving the sermon, and representatives of the reunioning classes SUHS 1961 and BSN 1961 & 1962 participating as liturgists and ushers.

This year’s program for Outstanding Sillimanian Awards flowed smoothly. The awardees had their nostalgic moments as they were serenaded by singers of the College of Performing and Visual Arts who sang the song, “What a Wonderful World” was dedicated to  Outstanding Sillimanian in the Field of Nursing Leadership, Betsy Aya-ay Jackson (BSN 1977) and “Misty” to Outstanding Sillimanian in the field of Entrepreneurship in Chemistry,  Edna Callejas Mijares (BS Chem 1974). The two awardees, looking regal in their ternos, gave acceptance speeches touching on the influence of the Silliman Spirit in their careers.

The summa cum Laude graduates through the years were honored this year with the unveiling of a bronze tablet attached to the wall of the Robert B. and Metta J. Silliman Library. The tablet was donated by the family of Sixto (AB 1950 summa cum laude) and Elvira (AA 1948 with highest honors) Guanzon.

Oriental Hall as the SUACONA Student Center formally opened this Founders Day. We say thank you to the SUACONA prime movers who attended the ceremonies: Zenaida Duran Bennett, Gideon Alegado, Betsy Engle, Tonette G. Geary, Joel Pal, Rene Querubin, Jun Almiron, Paul Imperial, Miriam Luz S. de la Peña, Bennie Malayang, and many more.

The 110th Founders Day had the greatest number of reunioning groups  as it was the first time that in addition to the usual  high school and college classes, dormitory residents celebrating milestones like the Edith Carson Hallers and the Molaveans had reunions. It was also the first time that the elementary school classes had a grand alumni homecoming. Fraternities and student organizations like the LACUU also met and the Silliman Dance Company celebrated its 50th. These alumni gatherings made the 110th Founders Day distinctively fun and memorable. They have the Facebook to thank for easy communication and mobilization.

A wonderful gift on Founders Day came from the Silliman University Medical School (SUMS) which gave Silliman, for the second time, a 100% passing in the Physician Licensure Examination (the national passing rate was 75.32%). The new Sillimanian doctors are: Amatong, Bless Sygaco-Cadaved; Brillantes, Fel Aillen Grace Gargar; Caliso, Mark Gil Descallar; Centeno, Chrystal Anne Ege; Dayap, Vanessa Mae Galvez; Jamito, Allen John Nepomuceno; Muñoz, Golda May Dy; Nicolas, Darian Dalman; and  Taboloc, Juan Paulo Aguilar.

GOD bless OUR DEAR OLD SILLIMAN! To close, allow us to share these lines from Dr. Malayang’s Founders Day Sunrise Service sermon:

“The mighty fortress of Silliman is built up of small mustard seeds of faith, tiny kernels and small pebbles of faith which, because they were forged together into a common purpose of education, worship and healing, had become a mighty fortification of great strength, to make the university persist on its mission and ministry in the best and worst of times.

We can fail, and indeed many times we had failed and had fallen. We continue to be short of many peoples' expectations, even including our own. But our God sees us through despite our failures and shortcomings. God is there, real and true, always to be our rock, our refuge, and our strength.

What it would take – all it takes – is faith. For it is faith, even  as small as a mustard seed, that allows for God to be a mighty fortress for Silliman.”

IN MEMORIAM: Outstanding Sillimanian in the Field of History Professor Emeritus Caridad Aldecoa Rodriguez (AA 1946, BSE 1948, MA 1956) on August 8; Atty. Archer Baldwin Ricardo Martinez (Law 1989) on August 5; Mr. Sol Ebarle (SUHS 1970, BBA Management 1975) on August 9; National Artist and Professor Emeritus Dr. Edith Lopez Tiempo (BSE 1947) on August 21, and Judge Benjamin Gravino (Law 1959) on August 26.  If you know of any Sillimanian who is not in our memorial list, please inform us.


Thank you for always being there for dear old Silliman.    

President Ben Malayang has requested this office to update you regularly about happenings on campus. We are also interested in knowing what you and your alumni chapters are doing.

Please keep in touch and update your file with our office if you have not done so. We would truly appreciate it. You may reach the President’s Office through this email address: [email protected] You may also contact the Alumni Affairs Office through this address: [email protected]



Jocelyn “JONG” Somoza de la Cruz
Director of Alumni and External Affairs

cc: Dr. Ben S. Malayang III