Alumni Letter December 2011

Alumni Letter December 2011

“… ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for ME….” Matthew 25:40 (NIV)

It was Charles Schulz who said, “Christmas is doing little something extra for someone.” And there were a lot of opportunities for “something extra” in Christmas 2011; many Sillimanians led to give the season these meaningful expressions: 

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The picture of BANICA RIVER that went wild, taken on December 17 by Clark Amante, and that of the ship M/V Ever Transport III battered by big waves with the rescue drama documented in pictures by Melissa Alexandra Pal at 4AM also on December 17, uploaded on Facebook on the same day, called the attention of so many Sillimanians. And these Sillimanians have not stopped extending help to the victims of the unexpected impact of the non-stop rains and strong winds of Typhoon Sendong.  Dumaguete, Cagayan de Oro and Iligan Sillimanians were kept busy extending their own aid and receiving so many more from all over the country, US, Australia, UK, Singapore and other parts of Asia.


Around Php 190,000 was generated from donations from members and friends of the Silliman community, as of December 27; and relief items that kept coming in reached “mountain-high” as they were being readied at the gymnasium and Silliman Hall for distribution. Relief efforts were coordinated by the Silliman University Church, led by Minister to the Parish Rev. Jonathan Pia, in close partnership with the SU Extension Program (headed by Director Dr. Nichol Elman), Institutional Advancement Office (headed by Mr. Jose Mari Jonathan Antonio) and Buildings and Grounds Department (headed by Superintended Engr. Edgar Ygnalaga). Silliman President expressed being overwhelmed by the SU church members and the Dumaguete community’s response to appeal issued by the University on the Silliman website to help the victims. Donations poured in and many enlisted themselves as volunteers.

 Alumni from high school classes also had their own “operation tabang” with their own relief items solicited from their former classmates. Some ROTC cadets postponed their trips home for the Christmas vacation and served as anchor for volunteers. A medical mission was also conducted in partnership with ABS-CBN and our very own doctors at the Silliman University Medical Center. SU also sent Ps 40,000 to Cagayan de Oro and Iligan City – the use of the donation was coordinated by SU Trustee Bishop Melzar Labuntog of UCCP Mindanao.

How Silliman was in service to those affected, President Malayang aptly described in his New Year’s message titled “Heroes”: 

Capping the year 2011 was a tragedy brought by Typhoon Sendong. It left thousands homeless and grieving. It was a tragedy that made the celebration of Christmas more difficult to a lot of us. It cast doubt over prospects of a better life ahead. But that same tragedy brought out something positive: It united us as one Filipino nation to help, and so brought simple smiles on the faces of thousands badly hit.

A lot can be said about Typhoon Sendong from both scientific and non-academic perspectives. But however it unfolded, whatever it brought about, we can still see the greatness of the Lord in the millions who unselfishly dedicated their lives to give hope for brighter times ahead to the families affected. It painted pictures of heroes in ordinary people in our midst. Pictures of people from different ages and socio-economic backgrounds joining hands, swimming against the floodwater to save lives, tirelessly trekking in knee-deep mud to deliver relief goods, shoveling out debris to put children back to school, and making caring for people whom you just met for the first time a family and community affair.

We have our own heroes in Silliman University. From our teachers, students, alumni, drivers, security guards, and friends in the community – even those who themselves had lost properties during the typhoon… everybody pitched in. It was the time when, indeed, Silliman education showed how it is a ministry. Our relief efforts, for which we are grateful to the many who supported (updates on the University website), saw deployment of our fire and rescue and Silliman Water teams to communities. And all throughout, the source of fulfillment among us has always been the simplest of smiles, of “salamat kaayo”, of handshakes and hugs, of children waving goodbye, of teary-eyed mothers receiving free medicines, and of people like you who never tire to remind us that we are all in this together.

With our unwavering faith in the Lord, 2012 can only be a better year for us. I wish that it will open more doors of opportunities for many of us to make our lives matter to those in need. Let this year bring more meaning to our existence as individuals, as a family, as a community, and as God’s people.”

(More on Silliman’s relief efforts can be found on:

On Rizal Day in Baguio City, Silliman University's Mark Anthony Amparado was among the 20 students interviewed for final consideration in the search for the Ten Outstanding Jose Rizal Model Students of the Philippines. A good number of Sillimanians have received the same award in the past but Amparado's harvest came on a very special time, the 100th year of Rizal's birth. Amparado, a senior Mathematics student, is the president of the Math Society and served as a Philippine Student Ambassador to Japan under Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Student and Youths (JENESYS) in his junior year. The Ten Outstanding Jose Rizal Model Students of the Philippines is organized by the Order of the Knights of Rizal.

TWO BRILLIANT TEACHERS Dr. Thelma Maxino Bueno and Prof. Evelyn Romano Aldecoa joined our Creator peacefully last Christmas season. The news came as a shock to the Silliman community. 

Dr. Bueno, who died on December 18, was the sunshine angel of the College of Business Administration. Her sense of humor was always a delight every faculty meeting.  Her jolly nature was put to work with her leadership of the annual faculty variety show where she would lead co-teachers to a series of wacky production numbers. She was also noted for her being a disciplinarian, and this was evident in the decisions she made as Chairperson of the College Admission and Retention Committee.  

Prof. Evelyn Aldecoa died in her sleep on December 29.  One of our wards at Alumni Affairs who was a Theater student expressed that Evelyn is one teacher that she will forever treasure with love and respect. Aldecoa was there to save Silliman theater from total silence. The revival of great productions and her support to student directors made Silliman theater a bankable avenue for campus talents to shine and experience excellent mentorship. She helped develop within them confidence – a lifetime armor in their career challenges.  

ImageWe are so proud of our alumnus Wilson Mendoza, who graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry degree in 1999, for being the only Filipino scientist in the 2011 United States expedition to Antarctica, a 68-day mission. Mendoza was the 2009 recipient of the Mary Roche Prize for scientific research. He is currently a doctoral candidate in Marine and Atmospheric Chemistry at the University of Miami Rosentiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. 

SU College of Nursing alumna Mylene Freires (Class of 1992) was also the first Filipino to receive the Mary Seacole Development Award, an honor for healthcare practitioners in United Kingdom. Ms Freires was recognized for her pioneering work on “the development of nurse-led Port-a-Cath insertion service for patients with sickle cell disease on red cell exchange program”. Part of the award was a grant of 6,250 British pounds.

IN MEMORIAM: Rev. Salvador  M. Dime (BTH 1954) December 7; Paul del Carmen Tapaya (Elem. ’65) December 8;  Rodrigo C. Flores (former student) December 15; Joseph Rey S. Valencia (BSA’91, LLB ’95) December 13; Dr. Thelma M. Bueno (BBA 98); Ma. Theresa F. Dinopol (Elem. ’85, HS’80, BSN’94)  December 18; Silverio P. Cuevas (HS’ 49, AB’56) December 25; Teresita N. Nonaillada (HS’65, BSN’80) December 25; Evelyn R. Aldecoa (Elem, HS’ 72, AB ’75; LLB “84) on December 29. 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