FORMER Senator Victor Ziga led the batch of 13 distinguished UST alumni who were recognized in this year’s The Outstanding Thomasian Alumni (Total) Awards last March 7 at the Thomas Aquinas Research Complex.

The Total Award is conferred on UST graduates “who have excelled in their respective fields and exemplified Thomasian ideals of moral values and committed service to society.”

The categories include government service, business and management, community service, health (allied), science and technology, visual arts, architecture, education, health (medical), media, and performing arts. This year, two new categories were added—the Young Thomasian Achiever and the Special Achievement awards.

Ziga received the Total Award for government service for his continuous commitment in serving the country. Ziga graduated from the UST Faculty of Civil Law in 1974 and was appointed cabinet minister by President Corazon Aquino in 1986. He was elected Senator in 1987.

As a legislator, Ziga authored numerous laws including the Senior Citizens’ Law and the Build-Operate Transfer Law which paved the way for government projects like the Metropolitan Railway Transit and the South Luzon Expressway.

Other recipients included Joey Bermudez for business and management, Nellie Bautista-O’Santos for community service, Jose Gallardo for health (allied), Dr. Beatrice Guevarra for science and technology, Antonio Austria for visual arts, and Fr. Rodrigo Perez III, O.S.B. for architecture.

In addition, Lilian Sison was the Total Award recipient for education, Dr. Rolando Songco for health (medical), Ramon Osorio for media, and Prof. Sergio Esmilla, Sr. for the performing arts.

The Young Thomasian Achiever award was given to two UST alumni.

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Najib Ismail, an acclaimed pianist, was chosen for his achievements in the field of music. He is an alumnus of the UST Conservatory of Music.

The other recipient was Geronimo Francisco, who was selected for his academic excellence in the sciences. He graduated magna cum laude from the UST College of Science and received an academic excellence award during his post-graduate studies in the University of the Philippines.

Meanwhile, the UST Singers were awarded the Special Achievement Award for their internationally acclaimed performances and for winning numerous prizes during choir competitions throughout the globe.

“The (honorees) set the Thomasian concept of integrity and vision of excellence. They are UST’s pride from years that the University travelled and wrestled in the changes of time,” Rector Fr. Tamerlane Lana, O.P. said. Ma. Cristina S. Lavapie

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