A FACULTY of Arts and Letters senior received this year's St. Thomas Aquinas Award, the University's highest and most prestigious recognition for a student.

For bagging two other individual awards aside from the Rector's Academic Award during her stay in UST, Legal Management major Ma. Ninna Roem Bonsol was conferred the Aquinas award during the Student Awards Day at the Quadricentennial Pavilion last March 14.

The Aquinas award is given to students "who received the Rector’s Academic Award and any two other personal awards,” which include the Quezon Leadership Award, the Benavides Award, and the Pope Leo XIII Community Service Award, “either during the same year or within the duration of their program.”

The Rector’s Academic Award, which Bonsol also received during the awarding ceremonies, is given to graduating students who have garnered the highest general weighted average (GWA) in their respective faculties or colleges. Bonsol is the Batch 2014 valedictorian of Arts and Letters after getting a GWA of 1.228. She received the Pope Leo XIII Community Development Award last year and the Benavides Outstanding Achievement Award this year and in Academic Year 2011-2012.

Bonsol, who has been studying in UST for eight years since she enrolled in the Education High School in 2006, said in her speech that receiving the Aquinas Award was “one of her college dreams.”

Bonsol graduated magna cum laude last March 28.

In his welcome remarks, Rector Fr. Rector Herminio Dagohoy, O.P. said a “herculean effort” is needed to become the best of the best in the academe.

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“Life is much bigger than the academe but with your Thomasian education, we are confident that you can do just fine,” Dagohoy said.

Meanwhile, a student of the College of Tourism and Hospitality Management, the college which produces the most honor graduates in UST, garnered the highest GWA in the graduating batch.

Travel Management senior Jeanie Tan recorded a GWA of 1.089, beating Hanna Clementine Tan of the Faculty of Pharmacy who obtained the second highest grade of 1.143, and all other valedictorians from other colleges.

Tan said receiving such recognition should not become students' primary goal in studying.

“Hindi naman mahalaga na ma-recognize ka pero at least alam mo sa sarili mo na binigay mo lahat ng best mo,” Tan said.

Aside from Tan and Bonsol, other Rector's Academic Award recipients were Seminarian Jose Maria Buenagua of the Faculty of Philosophy (1.318), Seminarian Jacob Sucio of the Faculty of Sacred Theology (1.267), Anna Vanessa Gan of the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery (1.25), Tan of Pharmacy (1.143), Rocel Pioquinto of the Faculty of Engineering (1.197), Gianna Marlee Gaddi of the College of Education (1.430), Matthew Audric Sazon of the College of Science (1.218), Jym Manuel of the College of Architecture (1.422), Charlston Joseph Sagaran of the College of Commerce and Business Administration (1.255), Jeniva Ezra Bien of the Conservatory of Music (1.390), Dominique Rosali Cesa of the College of Nursing (1.543), Jonathan Gerona of the College of Rehabilitation Sciences (1.493), Claudine Dela Cruz of the College of Fine Arts and Design (1.396), and Azalea Daria of the AMV-College of Accountancy (1.698).

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Other individual awards given to students were the Pope Leo XIII Community Development Award for “outstanding involvement in community development programs or services,” the Quezon Leadership Award for a deserving student “who has shown exceptional leadership in organizations outside the university,” the Benavides Outstanding Achievement Award for students with exemplary performance in regional, national, or international competitions, conferences, or congresses, and the St. Dominic De Guzman Award for a student organization for its “outstanding performance in organizing activities that are of significance to the University.” Jon Christoffer Obice

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