Maribel Nonato, Lilian Sison and William Belo

THE UNIVERSITY is set to honor long-time chemistry professors Maribel Nonato and Lilian Sison as well as the founder of the Wilcon Depot chain in a series of ceremonies.

Nonato, previously the vice rector for research and innovation and dean of the College of Science, will be named Professor Emerita during an investiture ceremony at the Medicine Auditorium on Aug. 31, while Sison, who became dean of the Graduate School and vice rector for academic affairs and research, will be bestowed the title Dean Emerita in October, the Office of the Secretary General announced in a circular dated Aug. 18.

William Belo, an electronics and communications engineering alumnus who founded the country’s largest distributor of homebuilding essentials, will receive an honorary doctorate in commerce in September.

‘Pandan Queen’

Prior to taking on administrative roles, Nonato taught chemistry at the College of Science and the Graduate School.

Nonato earned the moniker “Pandan Queen” for her pioneering work on the pandanus species, locally known as pandan. In 2020, she was named academician by the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST).

Her research won the 2006 National Research Council of the Philippines Achievement Award in Chemical Sciences, the 2016 Philippine Association for the Advancement of Science and Technology Gregorio Zara Award for Basic Science Research, and the 2017 Philippine Federation of Chemistry Societies Shimadzu Achievement Award for Chemical Research.

After earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemistry at the University, Nonato obtained her doctorate degree in the chemistry of natural products at the University of Wollongong in Australia.

As assistant to the Rector for UST GenSan, she is tasked to develop the Mindanao campus into an integrated agri-tech institution.

The title Professor Emerita recognizes a faculty member’s “outstanding achievements and distinction in teaching, scholarship and research; distinguished service; and unwavering support and loyalty to the ideals of the University,” according to the Office of the Secretary General.

Lilian Sison

Sison, who will receive the title Dean Emerita on Oct. 13 at the Medicine Auditorium, served as dean of the UST Graduate School from 2000 to 2013 and once oversaw academic affairs and research as vice rector.

Sison broadened the program offerings of the Graduate School to encompass fields such as cultural heritage studies, food science, health professions, and rehabilitation science.

She received The Outstanding Thomasian Alumni Award (TOTAL) in 2023, an academic leadership award from the UST Graduate School in 2015, the “Woman of Faith” recognition from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines and the Vatican following the meeting of Pope Francis and other religious leaders during the 2015 papal visit, and a special citation for outstanding contribution to the chemistry profession awarded by the Professional Regulation Commission and the Integrated Chemists of the Philippines in 2015.

The title of Dean Emerita is bestowed upon deans who have devoted a minimum of nine cumulative years to an academic unit. This honor is a tribute to “excellent and pioneering leadership, exemplary scholarship, meaningful and dedicated service to the University [and] legacy…established throughout an administrative career,” according to the Office of the Vice Rector for Academic Affairs.

William Belo

UST will confer upon businessman Wiliam Belo the title Doctor of Commerce, honoris causa, at the Medicine Auditorium on Sept. 28.

“He is one of the most successful entrepreneurs and iconic business leaders in the country, making his company the largest and leading distributor of homebuilding essentials in the country,” UST Secretary General Fr. Louie Coronel, O.P. said in his Aug. 18 circular.

In 2018, Belo was inducted into the UST Engineering Hall of Fame for his outstanding achievements. He was also given the TOTAL Award in 2022. 

Coronel said of the three honorees: “They have exemplified the virtues of faith, hope, and love, not only individually but also collectively with the academic community.”

“These three honorees have enriched our University and positively influenced the Thomasian and global community,” he added. Fernando Pierre Marcel dela Cruz


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