Alumni Letter August 2012

Alumni Letter August 2012

Dear Fellow Sillimanian:

“This is a well-organized Founders Day! I enjoyed this a lot! It’s not just a day but a very long celebration – this day actually lasted for a month. I have been watching cultural shows and attending lectures this August. I never had somethhing like this back home. It was my first time to see the Silliman fire truck. ImageOh wow! I did not know that a school in the Philippines will have a firetruck,” expressed first year graduate student Kristel Punu while watching Parada Sillimaniana on the 111th Founders Day of Silliman University.  She was amused when she saw the Silliman tartanilla that looks more like a chariot and was launched at the Founders Day parade. Enjoying the tartanilla ride (the newly “revived” city attraction) were our loyal alumni who were home for Founders Day:  Christian B. Malahay of High School Class 1941, Fred L. Raña of High School Class 1947 and Dr. Ralph Rodriguez of High School Class of 1948.  Mr. Segundo A. Maravilla of High School Class 1939 decided to join the parade in his own airconditioned car. The “grass-powered” tartanilla (which has four wheels instead of the traditional two wheels, making it easier for the horse to pull) is a donation of wireless telecommunications company Smart Communications.  It is Silliman’s symbolic response to the UN 2012 environment call to support the International Year of Sustainable Energy. More eco-friendly 'tartanilla,' horse-drawn carriages will be donated Smart.

It was a colorful parade and the alumni contingents put up the best “gimmicks”. The jubilarian High School Class of 1962 had huge calesas mounted on moving motor vehicles, each “pulled” by giant horses made of papier- mâché.   Dumaguete folks  responded to the fiesta colors of these calesas.  The 1962 HS class won the Best Over-All Production Award for the parade.  High School class of 1982 wore glittery Amir Sali masks and shirts to win the Best Fiesta Elegance Award.  Sillimanians from the United Kingdom won the Most Symbolic Float, which had a huge crown to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth.   Featured was London Olympian and Silliman archer Mark Javier as celebrity crowd drawer.  Sillimanians from the Department of Education- Dumaguete Division led by Dr. Profetiza Lim won the biggest delegation trophy. 

 The 111th Founders Day was also flooded with gifts from alumni:  High School Class of 1962 donated a Historical Marker for the iconic building Silliman Hall; BBA Class of 1962  led by Outstanding ImageSillimanian Rod Sevilla gave their home, the College of Business Administration,  two sets of LCD Projectors with screen, and more of these multimedia classroom enhancement are coming as their golden year gift; the College of Performing  and Visual Arts received a music instrument from Mr. and Mrs. Luzvenus and Sandra Uriarte;  Mrs. Nilda Magdamo gave a coffee maker, and Ms. Betsy Aya-ay Jackson gave coffee jars for the Silliman Alumni Affairs office and the Manila Silliman Alumni Affairs office, High School Class of 1952 gave Silliman 10 framed works of classmate and internationally-acclaimed photographer Juanito Benedicto; High School Class of 1961 donated two hundred and fifty thousand pesos (Php 250,000.00) for the College of Agriculture Scholarship Fund;  High School Class 1972 added a ramp to  their high school stage donation – a renovation needed to abide with the international standards;  and High School Class of 2002 donated 10 soccer balls and 12 training cones in support of sports development program.  William Barry Thompson was here to witness the soft opening of the building he donated, a learning center for Nursing. Ms. Anita Go checked the landscape of the Achievers’ Park at the Nursing complex where the bricks of generosity will be placed. More gifts came from other High School reunioning classes:  a unique gift of talents from High School Class of 1977 –  who performed a variety show at the Luce and which featured dance genres from different eras and cultural tribes; and a career orientation for the high school seniors conducted by HS Class 1982.  

The Silliman University College of Nursing Alumni Association International, led by their president Dinah B. Peñaflorida, gave their annual gift: the Balik Talent Lectures and this year’s theme is “Global Health: An Interdisciplinary Action with the 2012 Outstanding Sillimanian Dr. Maria Christina R. Esperat as keynote speaker.  She spoke on the “Revitalized Primary Health Care: Role of the Advanced Practice Nurse.”

Other gifts were victories: Students of the Institute of Clinical Laboratory Sciences (ICLS) paraded with pride as the 2012 Medical Technologist Licensure Examination gave them 3rd place rank in over-all performance.  Class of 2012 member,  Alyssa Camille C. Ablaza, landed in the Top 10 with a 90.60 per cent rating.  Alyssa leads the 54 newly-registered medical technologists from Silliman.   

Another gift of glory from eight ICLS students was their excellent research paper which won first place during the 29th Philippine Blood Coordinating Council Annual Convention held August 22 to 24 in Quezon City. The paper, “Rapid Screening of Cytomegalovirus Antibodies from Freshly-collected Donor’s Blood in Negros Oriental Provincial Hospital Laboratory,” bested three other research project reports submitted by hospital laboratories. Silliman University was the only academic institution that participated in the research contest.

A gold for Silliman’s birthday!  This gift came from a third year student Anchelle Grace O. Ho, of the High School Department who won a gold in the recently-concluded 1st Asia International Math Olympiad in Hong Kong.

A member of Class of 2012 of Silliman University, Lovely April Camelle A. Dy, placed tenth in the Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy Licensure Examination administered August 4 and 5. The other successful examinees from the Institute of Rehabilitative Sciences include Alumni Hall work student Julliane Alolod.

Jessica Franchizca Estrellado of the College of Nursing is 9th placer in the June-July 2012 Nurse Licensure Examination, and SUCN Class of 2012 is among the top performers in the country.

Twenty graduates from the College of Agriculture are among the country’s new licensed agriculturists.   Silliman is proud to announce the results of the  Agriculturist Licensure Examination held July 29 to 31.  Silliman ranked second in over-all performance among all schools nationwide in the category of having at least 30 successful examinees.

Newly-appointed coordinator of the Edilberto and Edith Tiempo Creative Writing Center, Prof. Ian Rosales Casocot, harvested his fifth Palanca.   Casocot’s story “It Always Breaks My Heart a Little to See You Go”,  a dramatic chronicle of a mother dealing with an autistic child, won second prize in English Short Story in the 62nd Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature. He garnered first place in the same category in 2008.  Two Sillimanians, Dr.  Leoncio P. Deriada and Dr. Elsie Martinez-Coscolluela, are already in the Hall of Fame, having won first prize five times in The Palanca Awards, the Philippines’ best-known literary prize. 

Finally, in this harvest of gifts for SU on its 111th birthday is another 100 percent  passing in the Physician Licensure Examinations! The Silliman University Medical School (SUMS), maintained its excellent performance on its third year.  The first 100%  by our Doctor of Medicine graduates was achieved in 2009. 

Among the meaningful Founders Day highlights was the Outstanding Sillimanian Awards on August 28.  This year, Silliman honors four alumni achievers: Dr. Maria Christina Roble-Esperat (BSN 1968)Image for Nursing Research and Administration, Atty. Kathleen G. Heceta (LLB 1962)for Government Service in Telecommunications, Dr. Enrico C. Sobong (BS Pre Med 1967) for Medicine, and Ambassador Antonio P. Villamor (AA Pre-Law 1953) for Diplomacy.  Aside from the citations received by the honorees, they were also serenaded by the Women’s Ensemble and the Men’s Glee Club.  A very much appreciated number was the interpretation by the singers and dancers of the College of Performing Arts of the Founders Day theme song , “Empower Me”,  directed by the College Dean, Dr. Elizabeth Susan Vista-Suarez.  The Outstanding Sillimanian awardees then led in the floral offering  in honor of The Founders of Silliman University at the Silliman Hall grounds before a well-prepared lunch by the cafeteria.

Continuing the culture of gratitude, Silliman University posthumously honored 14 loyal members of the Silliman Family who had served dear Old Silliman for  20 or more years.  Their names are now included in the Heritage Builders Wall. A formal unveiling ceremony with the family members of the honorees was held on August 25.  The 2012 Heritage Builders are:Professors Emeritus Robert B. and Metta J. Silliman, for 42 years of service; Dr. Domingo T. Adriano who was Medical Director and served in the healing ministry for 31 years;  former College of Education Dean  Dr. Lino Q.  Arguiza and his wife,  Eusebia C. Arquiza,  a Grade School teacher, who served for 28 years;  Librarian Emeritus Pedro Dimaya Sr. who served the Silliman Community for 30 years and his wife  Venida C. Dimaya who taught Home Economics; a member of the Security force and Library Control Officer Mauro C. Duran who served for 30 years;  High School Filipino language teacher Benigno A. Flores who served for 27 years;  the old bell ringer and Buildings and Grounds Water Pump Operator Bernardo H. Lagarde who served 45 years;  former Dean of the College of Engineering and University OIC Teogenes V. Magdamo who served for 35 years;  Business teacher and former Vice President for Research Apolonio C. Mirafuentes who served for 35 years;   Anthropology professor and University Research Professor Dr. Timoteo S. Oracion who served for 40 years; and the former Dean of Students and University Public Relations Officer Feliciano A. Venturanza who served for 44 years.

Another expression of gratitude was the induction into the Order of Horace B. Silliman on August 25 of four women who led their families in receiving the highest honor to recognize their generosity:  Mrs. Ophelia Recla-Pantejo and family, Mrs. Anesia D. Sy and family, Mrs. Maria Consolacion T. Yap and family, and Mrs. Daisy Flores – Kirit of the family of the late Mr. Froilan Flores. Mrs. Pantejo and her family supported the establishment of the Rev. Edmundo Pantejo Garden Chapel at the Silliman University Medical Center; Mrs. Sy and her family were instrumental in the construction of the new Julio Sy grandstand at the Cimafranca Ballfield and her contributions to the scholarship program of the College of Business Administration; Mrs. Yap and her family realized the dream for a center and museum for the Reserve Officers Training Corps, named the Col. Roman T. Yap Hall; and the Froilan Flores’ property donation  was among the two original lots of Silliman that extends from Silliman Hall to Guy Hall. The Order of Horace B. Silliman is inspired by  the charitable act of Dr. Horace Brinsmade Silliman, a philanthropist of Cohoes, New York who donated the initial sum of $10,000 to establish what was then Silliman Institute on August 28, 1901. Dr. Silliman never stopped supporting the school until 1907.

ImageAn Exhibit of Fraternal Workers Historical Profiles which opened on August 23 at the Robert B. and Metta J. Silliman Library initially pays tribute to American missionaries who served the University from the time it was established in 1901. More profiles will be added as research is still going on.  “The soul of Silliman University remains with its past” –  a reminder from Silliman President Dr. Ben S. Malayang III as he expressed his gratitude to the American missionaries and their families, represented during the ceremonies by Mrs. Shelley Palmore-Teves .

Music marked the celebration of the 50th year of the Cultural Affairs Committee on Founders Day.  Two international music icons, Classical guitarist Michael Dadap came with his wife, violinist Yeou-Cheng Ma (she is the eldest sister of acclaimed cellist Yo-Yo Ma). They performed not just in concerts but also during educational sessions with students. Both are directors of the New York City Children's Orchestra Society.  Here at Silliman, Michael helped organize the country’s first Orchestra Sin Arco (orchestra without bows) launched during the Handulantaw concert on Founders Day.  Miss Ma is a pediatrician and works with children with developmental disorders.  Her visit to Silliman was as a teacher in violin, viola and chamber music.  Students were greatly inspired by their fruitful visit.

Sillimanians gathered at the amphitheater after being awakened by the Silliman Band diana for the University’s 111th Founders Day Sunrise Service on August 28,  on the theme “Empower Me – Spirit of the Living God”. This Founders Day worship has become an important part of the FD celebration. The Men’s Glee Club served as the choir, and Silliman Board of Trustees Chairperson Leonor M. Briones gave the sermon. Christian B. Malahay of High School Class 1941 offered a special prayer for Silliman.

Former Philippine Ambassador to Germany, Hon. Delia Domingo Albert, was featured as the 2012 Eminent Person Speaker on August 24 at the Luce Auditorium.  She pointed out that Silliman University, as a Center of Excellence, could serve the country beyond its present reach by continuing to provide the scientific foundations for our policy and decision makers.

ImageOther traditional events also gathered big audiences, such as the Miss Silliman beauty pageant which had a smooth flow this year. The community’s favorite, Lissa Patricia Ortiz Duch who represented the High School Department, won the crown.  She was already on top when she won the pre-pageant’s two awards, Best Speaker and Best in Talent.  Crowned Miss Silliman Cover Girl was Mary Ruth Kristine F. Risma of the School of Public Affairs and Governance, while the new Miss Campus Headline Girl is Hallona Ember Segundina Z. Jiddah of the College of Performing and Visual Arts. 

The College of Business Administration cheering team won the 2012 Cheerdance Competition. Last year’s winner, the College of Computer Studies, placed second, and the team from the College of Arts and Sciences placed third.

Booth of the Year in the Hibalag Festival was the Medical Technology Society booth which was shaped like a microscope – the booth was a functional clinic which offered free health services for Sillimanians.  Best in Display went to the Agusan Sillimanites booth, and Best in Design was the Kadugong Bol-anon booth.

An unexpected twist on Founders Day:  The Dean of Graduate Studies Program Dr. Ma. Teresita Sy-Sinda died Saturday morning, August 25.  She was still working the day before as there were graduate students doing their final defense. Her passing came as a shock to Silliman University. Many colleagues and former students of Dr. Sinda spoke of her professional and personal qualities that won their respect and endeared her to them. Facebook walls were flooded with tribute for the dynamic Nursing Educator whose Critical Thinking program was acknowledged as a distinction in her teachings.

After all the busy days of Silliman’s 111th birthday, it is always a way to peace to take a moment of silence. We would like to end this letter with lines from the sermon of Amb. Dr. MacArthur F. Corsino at Silliman University Church on Founders Day Sunday Worship Service last August 26:

“… bringing the Bible to any nation is not enough.  As a youth, in Sunday School at the Dumaguete UCCP, we thought we were fastest in finding verses in the Bible.  Name the book, chapter and verse no.  I could find it anywhere in the Bible in 10-15 seconds.  Would you understand “HoJoAOJonMiNaHaZepHaZecMa”?  Probably not. But it was the pneumonic wording I used to memorize the exact order of the 12 minor prophets of the Old Testament, from Hosea to Malachi. But that was then.  We have long realized that more than a mechanical mastery of the Bible, more than good grades in Bible classes, more than quoting Bible verses, is imbibing the meaning of the Bible into our subconscious.  The Bible is to be absorbed to transform ourselves and others to prepare for Jesus’ return.  Of the thousands of Jesus’ teachings, I say two would suffice to transform ourselves and revolutionize this planet, if applied: (1) Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you (Luke 6:27-28); (2) For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul? (Mark 8:36). The first means transforming our hearts to achieve complete peace with neighbor and the world [no hatred, conflict, wars].  The second means transforming our minds to realize that the real priority is NOT MATERIAL, BUT SPIRITUAL [no greed, theft, graft, corruption]. Love and spirituality: these are two essentials to prepare our souls for Jesus’ return.    

We are glad that in our country, the Bible is at last being freely read, without fear, by all Christians. As Sillimanians living  in this new era of Bible reading, are we ready to join with all Christians of our nation—Roman Catholics, Protestants, “born agains” and others—in helping each other imbibe the Bible to try to transform ourselves and play our role in God’s 3-act drama?  And so, I believe that throughout the past 111 years, through the trials and tribulations of running this university, from Dr. David Hibbard to Dr. Ben Malayang III, the Holy Spirit has so empowered its leaders, its Bible teachers, its Divinity-School and other alumni, and the pastors of this church—to bring Christ to our nation.”  

IN MEMORIAM: Manolo Mercado Zerna (Electrical Engineering 1986, Law 1997) on August 3, Former Vice President for Extension and External Affairs Dr. Sebellon M. Wale (Chemistry 1962), former Acting President and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Ma. Teresita Sy-Sinda   (SUHS, Nursing, MA, Ed.D and PhD Nursing 2011), and Salvacion Cansana (mother of Alumni Affairs secretary Sandra Saludar) on  August 25, 2012.  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].


The Officers and Staff of the  Alumni and External Affairs


cc: Dr. Ben S. Malayang III