WITH AN unprecedented four out of its every 10 graduates given medals this year, the College of Tourism and Hospitality Management (CTHM) is this year’s top producer of honor graduates, displacing the Faculty of Arts and Letters, which had dominated the University honor roll in the past three years.

The youngest college in the University recorded the highest percentage of honor recipients to graduates since its foundation in 2006, with a skyrocketing 40.51 percent, or 158 of 390 CTHM students graduating with Latin honors this year.

The figure was way beyond the University-wide ratio of just one in 10 graduates getting a medal this year.

In the college’s Tourism program alone, three of five graduates obtained honors. A total of 122 out of 205 graduates were given medals, three of them summa cum laude, including Batch 2011 valedictorian Raphael Alfonso Acabado, who had a 1.122 general weighted average.

In 2007, the then Institute of Tourism and Hospitality Management gave honors to 15.44 percent of its graduates. The ratio was 20.21 percent in 2008, 15.74 percent in 2009, and 17.31 percent last year.

CTHM Dean Ma. Cecilia Tio Cuison said the college itself was “surprised” with this year’s figures.

“The figure shown is a manifestation that the college is doing its best, that we are a dynamic college,” Tio Cuison said.

She said motivation among students was the “baseline.”

“Our regent gives incentives like free tuition to top students, and in our State of the College Address, we announce the names of achievers. These things motivate them,” Tio Cuison said.

She also justified the figures by noting that the college was selective of its students, and requires a higher score in the entrance examination.

“The cut-off score of the college is higher than the University’s cut-off. Applicants also undergo an interview. Most of the applicants are honor students in their respective high schools,” she added.

Not a victim of time

Commenting on the perception that CTHM courses are easy, Tio Cuison said most of the subjects in the college are skill courses.

“The college may not have medical or higher mathematics courses, but we have a lot of professional courses, and most of those courses are skilled courses. Students do not rely on paper and pen only, but rather, on application of the courses,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Conservatory of Music emerged as the second top producer of honor graduates, as 12 of its 46 graduates (26.09 percent) received honors.

Landing on third place was the Faculty of Pharmacy with 16.93 percent as 121 of 715 graduates got medals. This was higher than last year’s nine percent and 2009’s 12 percent.

Pharmacy Dean Priscilla Torres attributed the rise in the number of honor graduates to the Clinical Pharmacy program of the faculty. The program is a more “patient-focused” five-year BS Pharmacy, introduced in 2006, she said.

The program had 50 pioneer graduates, 27 of them honor graduates. Six got magna cum laude.

“We have [a] better quality [of] students, especially freshmen. We also enhanced our curriculum, and we have competent faculty members,” Torres said.

At fourth place was the Faculty of Arts and Letters (Artlets), the chief producer of UST’s honor graduates from 2008 to 2010.

Artlets produced 111 honor graduates this year out of 716 graduates, or 15.5 percent. The figure was down from last year’s 17 percent.

Dean Michael Anthony Vasco said the faculty’s lower percentage was “good,” as Artlets implemented stricter rules on academic requirements like homework, exams, and research projects.

“If the number of honor graduates is overwhelming, the honor diminishes. The idea of an honor is rarity, given to the exceptional few,” Vasco said.

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The College of Fine Arts and Design (CFAD), meanwhile, increased its honor graduates this year. CFAD gave honors to 47 students out of 365 graduates, translating to 12.88 percent. Last year, the CFAD had 50 honor students out of 446 graduates, or 11 percent.

This year, the College of Science produced 62 honor students out of 540 graduates, or 11.48 percent, higher than last year’s eight percent when 41 out of 489 graduates received honors.

The College of Education, meanwhile, experienced a decline in the percentage of honor students to graduates. The college had 42 “laudes” out of 436 graduates, or 9.63 percent, lower than last year’s 14 percent when there were 28 achievers out of 196 graduates.

The College of Nursing took eighth spot with 39 honors out of 485 graduates, or 8.04 percent, higher than last year’s six percent when it had only 27 honors out of 466 graduates.

The Faculty of Engineering—for the fourth time since 2007—registered a single-digit percentage. Engineering had 63 honor students out of 914 graduates, good for a 6.89-percent ratio. This was higher than the five percent recorded in the last three years.

The College of Rehabilitation Sciences (CRS), which recorded a ratio of seven percent in 2010, went down to 5.08 percent this year. CRS produced just 9 honor graduates out of 177 students, while in 2010, it gave recognition to 10 students out of 146 graduates.

Lowest score and biggest drop

The College of Commerce and Business Administration had the lowest ratio of honor students to graduates, with 4.33 percent, or 37 honors out of 854 graduates.

Sought for comment, Commerce Dean Ma. Soccoro Calara noted that the courses in the college are mathematical, and professors are strict in implementing the grading system.

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Moreover, the college accepts freshmen students who are “average.” The college will take measures to etch a better performance in the coming years, she said.

“We will coach students to study better. As we see the loss of students’ interest in reading, we will encourage them to read diligently and seriously. We will also give them more assignments and activities to enhance their abilities,” Calara said.

The College of Architecture, which was in fourth place last year, experienced the biggest drop in the percentage of honor students to total graduates, with only 23 honor students out of 304 graduates, or 7.57 percent this year. Last year, the college gave honors to 50 students out of 314 graduates, or 16 percent.

Architecture college secretary Warren Maneja attributed the lower percentage and number of honor graduates to the college’s “returning” students.

“Many students in Architecture return just to finish their degree. The returning students are those who want to be a part of the Quadricentennial batch,” Maneja said.

However, the college boasts of four magna cum laude graduates this year, compared with none last year.

“It only shows that the college has maintained its good teaching methodologies,” said Maneja.

Records from the University Registrar showed that the Quadricentennial batch had a total of 626 cum laude, 93 magna cum laude, and five summa cum laude from 12 undergraduate units. There were 724 achievers out of 5,942 graduates, or 12.18 percent.

This Varsitarian report excluded UST-Alfredo M. Velayo College of Accountancy, which will hold its commencement exercises in June. Colleges offering post-graduate courses, such as the faculties of Civil Law, Medicine and Surgery, the Graduate School, and the Ecclesiastical Faculties were also not included.


  1. Given that Commerce is the largest college in UST and offers programs with no licensure examinations, it gives the largest room for UST to generate income. It implements the poorest admission requirements for applicants – giving highest regards to IQ test in USTET. I remember then, some college professors were proposing to offer Entrepreneurship program which then would require students to significant amount of money needed for starting up a business. But the administrators wouldn’t want to impose such requirement because “it will loose prospective students.” How on earth would someone open a business without money involved?

    In this industry, an MBA degree is becoming a basis for someone to be called a legit businessman. Otherwise, you are a mere employee. There was a plan in Commerce to offer a straight-to-MBA program that would involve a 5-year course. But, again, the administrators think the other way: expense for the students. They do not want students to cash-out more money as it would translate reduction of enrollees. Grabe, more students the better. Quesejodang mababa na ang standards.

  2. I recall one of my professors back in then saying that the Dominican priests are great business men! Years later, I say AMEN to that!


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