Loyal Thomasian is top Tourism man for Metro Manila

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LOYALTY to UST would probably be an understatement for this Thomasian.

Christer James Ray Gaudiano, a 32-year-old lawyer, is the Department of Tourism’s director for the National Capital Region division. Before becoming the regional director, he served as the Legal, Policy, and Technical officer and the Head Executive Assistant and Deputy Chief of Staff in the same department. He is also a professor in the UST College of Tourism and Hotel Management teaching the subject of Obligations and Contracts.

Gaudiano spent his entire student life, from kindergarten to college in the University. Eventually, he graduated with a degree in AB Legal Management in 2004 and Law in 2009. But for him, life in UST was not limited to being a student.

In fact, his personal life also began here starting from his birth to his marriage.

Why law?

According to him, his inclination for leadership since grade school and his strong passion for service became a basis on why he chose to pursue law.

“For most in my life in UST, I am a student leader so my orientation is really towards service. The most practical way for me then to serve people is to take up law because [I believe] law is [about] reforming society [and] implementing changes,” Gaudiano said in an interview with the Varsitarian.

However, he noted that before he decided to become a lawyer, he originally aspired to be a newscaster when he was in high school. But his mother gave an advice that he can be someone else and at the same time, a newscaster. He then realized that he wanted to be a lawyer.

As a lawyer, Gaudiano believed that law is a form of social service and that justice must be given fairly and righteously to everyone.

“I have always believed that being a lawyer is all about serving other people. Being a lawyer is helping those in need [and] lending your hand, your expertise, [and] your knowledge. That is why I decided to become a lawyer [and] why I took up the best pre-law course which is legal management,” he said.

“Law is a social engineering. Law is something you use to help others and by helping others, you mean to use Law to serve other people, especially those in the lower income bracket of our society.

Thomasian legacy

As a student, Gaudiano experienced a good deal of significant events in his Thomasian life from meeting his wife to his son’s birth at the UST Hospital in 2014. His wife is currently a faculty member at the University, teaching at Civil Law.

“I also proposed at the grandstand, with students from the College of Music playing violins,” he said.

However out of all the memorable events in his life as a Thomasian, Gaudiano recounted his days as a leader in the student council, both in Arts and Letters and Civil Law (2003 to 2004 and 2008 to 2009), as the most memorable. He also fondly remembered his speech when he ran for the student council which went “I was born here in UST. I studied here and I received my sacraments at this very place: baptism, communion, maybe one day I will even die here.”

He recalled that it was not easy to juggle academics and extra-curricular work, yet he managed to do so by persevering despite the presence of constant pressure. On the other hand, Gaudiano still thanked the student council for teaching him the skills of communicating, compromising and financing because these skills helped him when he started working as a lawyer.

“It is the things that you will experience within the University that would help shape who you are as a person,” he said. “What sets us apart as Thomasians [are] the things that we learn outside the classroom. The people we meet [and] our activities that bind us together [as well as] the things we do for other people.”

With this ideal in mind, Gaudiano felt fulfilled because he was able to surpass all the hardships he endured as a Thomasian. These experiences, together with his other significant memories in the University, honed him into the person he is today.

One of Gaudiano’s legacies to the Thomasian community was the Lakas Tomasino Coalition (LTC), a political group that was established in 2005. However, he noted that maintaining the new party then was difficult. The lack of funds and lack of supporters were the primary obstacles they had to overcome. But it was also exciting because he saw how challenged the ruling party was in the elections. LTC from then on gained momentum and became a part of the leading student parties in UST up until to date.

He believed that the Thomasian hallmark of compassion and humility and the spirit of unity are what made UST a home for him, these qualities are what made him stay a devoted Thomasian all these years.

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