by JOHN JOSHUA AZUCENA
Christian Jirard Custodio, BS Biology magna cum laude, led this year’s UPLB graduates in the 44th Commencement Exercises held this June 25 at the DL Umali Freedom Park Grounds, UPLB.
Among the 2,245 graduates from the undergraduate and graduate degrees, 177 graduated with honors with 20 magna cum laude, and 157 cum laude. College of Arts and Sciences registered the most number of honor graduates with a total of 9 magna cum laude and 59 cum laude. Among these honor graduates is Christian Custodio, BS Biology major in Molecular Biology with a general weighted average of 1.28, leading this year’s graduation as the batch 2016 valedictorian.
On his valedictory address, Custodio tackled how the University of the Philippines binded the diverse views and aspirations of its students leading to the realization of our identity. In his opening statements, he remarked “Class of 2016, we cannot deny this diversity, for this is what has determined the choices we have made; whichever GE course or elective to take up in our plan of study; which groupmates to pick and trust for our projects; whether we would stay up all night to finish a requirement or sleep for the night and obtain the energy we need to finish it in the morning.” He also asked the graduates, “Has the University of the Philippines equipped us with what we need so that we could survive the reality outside that is constantly becoming something that has not been expected?” In his closing remarks, he left a challenge to this year’s graduates as he remarked, “Let someone lead the battle. Let it be you.”
This year’s commencement speaker was University of the Philippines President Alfredo E. Pascual. In his welcoming remarks, he highlighted the characteristics which make UP graduates extraordinary, that is placing the country above self. He further reminded the graduating class to do no forget honor in UP’s motto as this according to him will be the one to define their integrity. He also remarked, “We take our slogan seriously, “UP: Shaping the Minds that Shape the Nation”. He then left a challenge to this year’s graduates as he emphasize that from their point of graduation, they will need more than just intellect, and that is to connect: to connect to the Filipinos.
The commencement exercises formally started at 6:00 A.M and ended at 1:00 P.M., 10 hours earlier than the traditional 4:00 P.M. – 11:00 PM commencement exercises.