SHINING 'SURVIVORS': The UST Open Field is illuminated with handheld candles of the about 9,000 graduating students of Batch 2022 who had their Baccalaureate Mass on Friday, June 3. (Photo by Joselle Marie B. Reyes/ The Varsitarian)

UST Rector Fr. Richard Ang, O.P. on Friday called the graduating students of Batch 2022 “survivors” who should be proud of themselves for completing their studies despite the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

In his homily during the Baccalaureate Mass for Batch 2022, Ang said the pandemic has formed resilient students.

“[Y]ou are all survivors. If you survive the pandemic, you can survive anything at all,” Ang said.

More than being survivors, the Rector said the graduating students were all “achievers.”

“You are all achievers, not just survivors. […] We tend to fit ‘achievers’ for only those who graduate with honors and awards, but definitely, no. I beg to disagree with that misconception, without, of course, prejudice to our honor students.” Ang said.

“Each and every one of you is an achiever, a victor, a high flier, and a hotshot. All of you are equally determined. All of you have worked hard for this, and now that you have attained your goal, each of you deserves to stand tall and be recognized,” he added.

The Baccalaureate Mass for Batch 2022 kicked off the University’s June-wide graduation season and was the first massive in-person UST event since the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Baccalaureate Mass was followed by send-off rites, namely the Ceremony of Light and the exit through the Arch of the Centuries.

Batch 2022 consisted mostly of the first students to finish the K-12 program in 2018.

Because of the pandemic, the majority of students from the batch spent most of the past two years in the University’s distance learning program, the enriched virtual mode of learning.

Another Baccalaureate Mass for batches 2020 and 2021 will be held on June 4 at 4 p.m.

Joys and fears of the pioneers

Outgoing UST Central Student Council (CSC) president Krizia Bricio, a graduating legal management student, said she was happy to return to campus for the Baccalaureate Mass and solemn investiture rites.

“Ito ‘yung batch ng pioneers of the K-12 program so it’s super fulfilling to finally be here again at UST to experience the Baccalaureate Mass and graduation, which we’ve all been looking forward to from the very start,” Bricio told the Varsitarian. 

Bricio’s sentiments were echoed by outgoing CSC secretary and graduating journalism student Arnet Paguirigan.

“[Dahil] galing kami sa pioneering batch and nagkapandemic pa, iba ‘yung saya at ‘yung tuwa na nararamdaman, but at the same time may halong takot kasi e-exit kami ng University from an online environment,” she told the Varsitarian.

“Hopefully, with all of the learnings from the past two years in the online setup, we can cope […] Hopefully nakatulong ‘yon with our outside of the University mga ganap ganon,” she added.

Beach volleyball player and 2019 SEA Games bronze medalist Jaron Requinton was also glad to finally meet his classmates after two years.

“Sobrang saya kasi hindi namin expect at muntik nang hindi matuloy ‘yung Baccalaureate Mass ngayon, so masaya kasi nakita ko na ‘yung mga batchmates ko ulit, and ‘yung mga co-graduates ko nakita ko na rin after two years na hindi kami nakapunta sa dito sa UST,” Requinton, a graduating sports and wellness management student, told the Varsitarian.

The University had 9,233 candidates for graduation this year.

The Faculty of Pharmacy has the biggest number of graduating students for this batch, with 1,508. It is followed by the Faculty of Arts and Letters with 1,248 and the Faculty of Engineering with 978.

The number of graduating students per faculty and college this year is as follows: Accountancy (682), Canon Law (1), Civil Law (120), Commerce (724), Education (296), Faculty of Philosophy (9), Fine Arts and Design (383), Graduate School (140), Graduate School of Law (5), College of Information and Computing Sciences (417), Institute of Physical Education and Athletics (115), Medicine and Surgery (430 with 23 clinical audiology and 75 LEAPMED graduates), Music (38), Nursing (315), Rehabilitation Sciences (376), Sacred Theology (43), Science (710) and Tourism and Hospitality Management (597).


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