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1,567 New Graduates Presented at October 2016 Investitures
1,567 New Graduates Presented at October 2016 Investitures

By: Vicente Santos


By: Vicente Santos


28 October 2016, PICC, Manila -It was a day of joy, pride and love as Our Lady of Fatima University (OLFU) staged its 99th Investiture Ceremonies on a Saturday. The morning program was especially for the graduating students of the Quezon City and Antipolo campuses, while the afternoon program was earmarked for the Valenzuela, Pampanga and Nueva Ecija campuses.

Dressed in their finest and overlaid by their togas, students marched one-by-one to take their “special seat” within the Plenary Hall of the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC)— that “seat” earned after years of learning, persevering and overcoming the struggles of college life. And, even as parents and/ or guardians were seated behind the students, the air was rife with expectation and excitement from that section of the hall; they who had raised their children, working tirelessly to support the family’s needs and guiding their young to become upstanding individuals.

The third piece of the symbiotic relationship came marching in soon after— the faculty and the Deans; they who imparted knowledge, inspiration, advice, comforting presence and values to the graduating batch. This was the day, too, that the University teaching staff would have to set their students off into flight to officially “conquer the world”

The stage was set.

First, Honor Awardees were recognized. They are:

B.S. in Marine EngineeringMark Anthony P. RamosMagna Cum Laude
B.S. in Marine EngineeringRey Mark C. BarrasCum Laude
B.S. in Hotel and Restaurant ManagementJulia Nicole PizarrasMagna Cum Laude
B.S. in Hotel and Restaurant ManagementBernadeth S. VillenaMagna Cum Laude
B.S. in Hotel and Restaurant ManagementShiela Marie L. CastroCum Laude
B.S. in Hotel and Restaurant ManagementRohanna N. CubosCum Laude
B.S. in Hotel and Restaurant ManagementMichael Philip G. PalmeroCum Laude
B.S. in Hotel and Restaurant ManagementIrvin John C. WongCum Laude

Also formally recognized on stage were the recent Board Topnotchers, namely:

Jennilyn D. Yambao
June 2016 Pharmacist Licensure Examination
College of Pharmacy- Valenzuela Campus

Maria Samantha G. Mirani
August 2016 Psychometrician Licensure Examination
College of Arts and Sciences- Valenzuela Campus

Christine Joyce M. Figueroa
June 2016 Nurse Licensure Examination
College of Nursing- Valenzuela Campus

Carl Vincent R. Guiao
June 2016 Pharmacist Licensure Examination
College of Pharmacy- Antipolo Campus

Then, a formal Endorsement followed whereby the speaker presented the number of graduates coming from each of the various Colleges of OLFU.

University President, Dr. Caroline Marian S. Enriquez confirmed the endorsement through formal Authorization & Conferment, signalling the start of the actual investiture whereby each graduate was called onstage to receive the diploma and the congratulatory handshake.

The College Deans and their Program Heads, along with the University’s Campus Administrators, Officers and Board of Directors accepted the graduates onstage and conferred upon them the coveted diplomas. Gracing the affair, too, were:
Enrico John O. Santos – Vice-President, Administrative Services

Don August O. Santos – Executive Vice-President and Chief Finance Officer

Dr. Heracleo D. Lagrada – Vice-President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Graduate School

Vincent Kenneth S. Mercado – Head, Student Financial Services

Dr. Ferdinand F. Santos – University Registrar

Adding more dimension to the event were the guest speakers: Jesse Francis N. Rebustillo, President of the People Management Association of the Philippines (PMAP) and Dr. Conrado Iñigo, Jr., Vice-Chairman of the Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities Commission on Accreditation (PACUCOA) Board of Directors.

Mr. Rebustillo who spoke during the morning program cautioned the new graduates that “success is not a guarantee to everyone who has a degree”. Thus he advised to “continue to strive to be better and continue to learn new things”. He said that there are almost half a million graduates each but “job mismatch has been a perennial lament of both business and academe”. Citing the findings from a PMAP survey, he elaborated that 40% of applicants fail their job interviews, and majority of those who fail are fresh graduates. Further studies by the PMAP on finding the reasons for job mismatch reveal that three candidates fall short in competencies along critical thinking, initiative and communication skills. Therefore, if both schools and graduates focus on sharpening these competencies, employability will be greatly improved.

During the afternoon program, Dr. Iñigo narrated the scenario from 25 years ago when the Philippines, with its per capita income of USD 1,000 was way ahead of its ASEAN brothers such as Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. Today, 25 years later, that per capita income has increased only to USD 2,200— a very negligible growth considering the number of years that have passed. Moreover, the Philippines is now lagging way behind what with the finance per capita income of other Asian nations: Thailand with USD7,500, Malaysia with USD11,000 and Singapore with USD52,000. Further, he noted “with globalization and ASEAN integration, there are no more trade restrictions.” Therefore, he advised that Filipinos must compete harder. “Entrepreneurs are putting money where it is most efficient,” said Dr. Iñigo. He warned that if Filipinos keep doing things the way they do such as manufacturing in China because labor costs are cheaper, “Pretty soon, we will become a nation that buys everything and produces nothing.” With this real challenge, Dr. Iñigo reminded the graduates that the best learning outcome out of their education is to “serve your countrymen”. He declared that entrepreneurship is the answer and said, “We need young people who will find the idea, grab the opportunity, take risks and set aside comfort to set up businesses that will provide employment opportunities, that can improve government revenues through taxes and increase dollar revenues through exports— and businesses that make the country worthy players in the world market.”

The start and finish to the graduation rites were made more nostalgic through the soulful renditions of the National Anthem and the OLFU Hymn by the OLFU Chorale; the formal entrance and exit of colors courtesy of the College of Maritime Education’s Honor Guard, and a specially-produced music video featuring the graduates of October 2016.

Masters of Ceremonies were Jacquelyn Joyce G. Nicolas, MA and Jilson N. Tio.

This graduation event was also the very first to “go live” on the OLFU Facebook Page, thus, allowing relatives from here and abroad to catch a glimpse of their loved ones as they received their diplomas, and celebrate the moment with them in spirit.