Despite the heat of the midyear sun and the celebration falling on the same day as the Eid’l Adha, one of the two main holidays celebrated in Islam, a jubilant community of students, alumni, faculty, staff, family, and friends gathered at the College of Development Management (CDM) Gymnasium of the University of Southeastern Philippines (USeP)- Mintal Campus, Davao City on June 28, 2023, for the 44th USeP Commencement Exercises.
A colorful yet solemn academic procession kicked off the event, participated in by the candidates for graduation donned with their academic togas and their respective parents/escorts; faculty and staff of CDM; distinguished University officials led by Dr. Lourdes C. Generalao, University President; guests; and, Mr. Bonifacio S. Belonio, Jr., commencement speaker.
Dr. Aristeo C. Salapa, Dean of CDM, presented 197 candidates for graduation for the Class of 2023 for conferment of degrees by Dr. Generalao; nine (9) Doctor of Philosophy major in Development Research and Administration; two (2) Doctor of Philosophy major in Development Administration; five (5) Master of Public Administration major in Organization Studies; 11 Master of Public Administration major in Local Governance and Administration; two (2) Master of Public Administration major in Fiscal Administration; one (1) Master of Public Administration major in Public Policy and Program Administration; two (2) Master of Public Administration major in Public Safety Administration; four (4) Master of Science in Development Administration; four (4) Master of Science in Development Communication Management; one (1) Master of Business Administration; 28 Bachelor of Public Administration; 18 Bachelor of Science in Community Development; 11 Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Economics; 12 Bachelor of Science in Development Anthropology; 85 Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Business; and two (2) Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Business under the College Education Behind Bars (CEBB).
In her inspirational message, Dr. Generalao expressed her jubilation to the graduating class of 2023 as well as to the attending graduates of the class of 2020 and 2021. “As your president, I share in the pride and satisfaction of recognizing the hard work and dedication each of you has demonstrated on your academic journey,” she said.
Dr. Generalao later emphasized the role education can play in the attainment of the University’s vision of transforming communities. She has challenged the graduates to use the acquired knowledge and critical thinking skills to create a positive impact on society.
“As you forge your paths beyond this campus, remember that success is not solely measured by titles or material wealth but by your ability to impact lives positively and create an enduring legacy. Your education at USeP has provided you with an exceptional ethical foundation that will guide you as future leaders in your respective fields. We trust that you will uphold integrity, empathy, and an unwavering commitment to the greater good,” she added.
Another highlight of the ceremony was the Commencement message of Mr. Belonio, a USeP alumnus and a graduate of CDM. Mr. Belonio, being an environment and youth advocate, pose a challenge to the attendees of the event to be more participative in the endeavors of the community of which they are a part, especially in the area of environmental preservation and development, and climate change.
Re-affirming the message of Dr. Generalao, Mr. Belonio expressed the importance of one’s graduation; the essence being that every graduation is a chance to create transformed communities- as graduates can now return to the communities where they came from to test and put their education in action.
Ms. Marielle Kay Elcullada, a distinguished graduate of the Bachelor of Science in Community Development, delivered the valedictory speech. Ms. Elcullada shared her personal experiences and expressed thanks to the University, noting that at the onset of her learning at USeP, she is grateful to be part of the ‘lucky applicants’ to be accepted to the University, as USeP- in her own words is ‘ang University sa mga bright lang’.
She reminded her fellow graduates to never settle for less, persevere through the challenges, express gratitude to those who supported them, and recognize their own hard work.
The singing of the University Hymn officially wrapped up the commencement exercises. The event signify an important culmination of the education journey of the graduates and hope for the attainment of the vision and embodiment of the University’s commitment to inclusive growth and sustainable development.
Indeed, at USeP, we build dreams without limits.