FOR HIS scientific contributions and 46 years of service to the Thomasian community, UST’s top scientist was conferred the title professor emeritus in ceremonies at the Medicine Auditorium last Sept. 3.

Prof. Fortunato Sevilla was given the highest title bestowed by the University to a faculty member who has attained not only the rank of full professor, but has also achieved academic excellence and significant influence in his or her field.

Rector Fr. Herminio Dagohoy, O.P. described Sevilla as ‘‘a force to be reckoned with in the field of chemistry,’’ and commended him for being an inspiration to students as well as to other members of the academe.

“He is gently loved by students whom he inspired to commit themselves to excellence. [T]he people who have come today to witness and celebrate this milestone in his remarkable career have surely been touched by him. His name alone, when mentioned, evokes both admiration and respect,” Fr. Dagohoy said in his address of concession.

In his acceptance speech, Sevilla highlighted the importance of student-teacher relationship in research and in teaching. While new technology is prevalent in modern teaching methods, teachers still play a very important role in shaping excellent and exemplary students, he said.

“[M]aaalala ng mga estudyante ang mga guro na nagturo sa kanila, at hindi ang mga computer na kung saan sila natuto. [M]alakas at mabisa ang pakikiugnay ng mga mag-aaral at guro sa laboratoryong pananaliksik. Dito ay sabay silang nakakakita ng bagong kaalaman, natututo, nag-iisip at napapalawak ang kanilang pananaw,” said Sevilla.

Be agents of change, student leaders urged

Sevilla, an advocate of the Filipino language, also called for the use of the national language in instruction. Lectures, he said, were better understood and disseminated when the medium used was familiar to everyone.

“Sa pagtuturo ng agham tulad ng Chemistry, mas mabuti kung ito ay malapit sa araw-araw na kabuhayan. Madali at malalim ang pagtanggap ng panayam kung ang mga salita ay pamilyar. Mabilis na maiuugnay ang agham sa pang araw-araw na kabuhayan sa ganitong pamamaraan,” he said.

Sevilla has earned accolades for his work in analytical chemistry. His researches on chemical sensors and biosensors have been acknowledged locally and internationally.

Last July 9, Sevilla was named academician of the National Academy of Science and Technology, one of the scientific body’s highest distinctions. Alhex Adrea M. Peralta


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