UST Rector Fr. Richard Ang, O.P. delivers the homily during the Baccalaureate Mass for Batch 2023 on Tuesday, May 30, at the UST Grandstand and Open Field. The University sent off 9,473 graduates this year. (Photo by Josh Nikkolai S. Bravo/The Varsitarian)

UST Rector Fr. Richard Ang, O.P. on Tuesday told Batch 2023 to remain grounded in their Thomasian heritage as they step into professional life, during the Baccalaureate Mass at the UST Grandstand and Open Field.

In his homily, Ang stressed the importance of building a strong foundation by embracing and cherishing one’s roots.

“Before you go your separate ways and while you enjoy your last day wearing the uniform, find your roots, and stay connected with them. You need a secure foundation to thrive under all conditions, whether sunny or rainy,” he said.

“Ang pananampalatayang na ibinahagi sa inyo ng ating pamantasan ay magsisilbing inyong sandigan,” he added.

He also told the graduating batch to get ready for life ahead with “much passion, guts, and gusto.”

“There is no thing as an overnight success. It takes months, it takes years, to become a full-grown triumph. So, my dear Thomasians, you’ve got to start where you are and do what you can to maximize your talents, your skills, and your resources,” he said.

Ang said that every Thomasian graduate has great potential to bloom into an “incredible harvest,” likening them to seeds that would be scattered throughout the world.

“We have gathered you to scatter you like seeds…As Thomasian graduates, you are meant to be fruitful,” he said.

“You are designed to function in a unique and distinctive way. So, fulfill your destiny, be creative, be prolific in your chosen profession, and try to make a dent in the universe.”

The send-off rites, which included the imposition of the Thomasian Mission Cross, the Ceremony of Light, and the singing of the UST Hymn, followed the Baccalaureate Mass.

A seven-minute Voltes V and K-pop-themed pyromusical show featuring the songs “How You Like That” by BLACKPINK, “Cupid” by FIFTY-FIFTY, “FLOWER” by JISOO, “POP!” by NAYEON, and “Dynamite” by BTS followed.

The rites concluded with the graduating students’ traditional exit through the Arch of the Centuries.

A persevering batch

Nathan Agustin, the outgoing Central Student Council president and a graduating civil law student, looked back on the disrupted college experience that Batch 2023 faced due to the pandemic that broke out during their freshman year.

In his message to the graduates, Agustin said navigating the uncertainty of the pandemic gave them space for doubt but also pushed them to have more determination.

“Our batch faced the pandemic when our journey had just begun, but we persevered until we saw once again the gates of the University gradually open. The same is true in the world we will face, na sa halip ng dilim, liwanag ang mananaig,” said Agustin.

Agustin reminded the graduates to embody the Thomasian identity and be each other’s “light” to ensure no one will be left behind.

“When we cross that arch and exit the gates beyond the four corners of our University, let us devote ourselves not just to prosperity but to service,” he said.

The University sent off 9,473 graduates comprising Batch 2023.

The Faculty of Arts and Letters has the highest number of graduating students, with 1,063 candidates this year. It was followed by the Faculty of Engineering with 900 candidates and the College of Commerce and Business Administration with 763 candidates.

The number of graduating students per faculty and college is as follows: Sacred Theology (39), Philosophy (6), Canon Law (10), Civil Law (117), Medicine and Surgery (467 with 20 clinical audiology and 73 LEAPMed graduates), Pharmacy (736), Education (450), Science (717), Architecture (203), Graduate School (220), Music (55), Nursing (343), Rehabilitation Sciences (401), Arts and Design (541), Physical Education and Athletics (138), Accountancy (610), Tourism and Hospital Management (514), Information and Computing Sciences (536), and Graduate School of Law (15). H.J.V. Andaya with reports from Karis M. Tsang and Nyah Genelle C. De Leon


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