by OPI

FIVE HUNDRED thirty-three new graduates were conferred their degrees and titles during the 50th Commencement Exercises of MSU-IIT that was held on Thursday (January 23) at the Institute Gymnasium.

The commencement exercises that occurred in the middle of the academic year was MSU-IIT’s 10th. It netted two magna cum laudes and 15 cum laudes.

The 2019 graduating class was led by Ms. Elah Marie M. Salamida, a Bachelor of Science in Biology (major in general biology) graduate who had a GPA of 1.30641.

Salamida, during her valedictory speech, called her fellow graduates “resilient and persistent,” and that as mid-academic year graduates, it meant that they “were never ready at most times.”

“We have to remember that being an irregular (student) does not make us any less of a graduate,” she said.

“In fact, we were honed to handle adversities that we otherwise would not have learned had we graduated on time,” Salamida said.

The other magna cum laude graduate was Donnamey R. Richardson, a Bachelor of Physical Education (School Physical Education) graduate who had a GPA of 1.36143. 

The mid-academic year graduation featured University of the Philippines (UP) professor Alex B. Brillantes, Jr., PhD, a former Commissioner of the Commission on Higher Education and the current President of the Asian Association for Public Administration (AAPA), as commencement speaker.

Brillantes, an academic specializing in public administration, surprised everyone when, a few moments into his commencement address, suddenly made use of a PowerPoint presentation – a first for MSU-IIT commencement speakers.

Brillantes assured the graduating class that he was not about to launch into a lecture but explained that he will use the PowerPoint “to help me and guide me in the speech.”

Brillantes simplified his message for the graduates into three letters, VIP: Vision, Innovation, and Phronetic Leadership. 

Brillantes said that the graduates should always remember the vision of their alma mater, as well as its core values. 

Wag natin kalimutan kung saan tayo nanggagaling, wherever you go, you are bringing with you the core values, you bring with you the interest, you bring with you the image, you bring with you the character of this great university, globally and locally,” he said. 

The former Dean of UP’s National College of Public Administration and Governance (NCPAG) then took up Letter Number 2: “I” for Innovation, which was really a nod to the graduation theme of Innovation and Sustainability Through Transformative Leadership.

“Transformative leadership is a leadership style where leaders encourage, inspire, and motivate others to innovate and create change,” Brillantes explained in the printed souvenir program. “This is also phronetic leadership where the leader is capable of finding the ‘right answer’ for the overall good (common good).”

Brillantes then reminded the graduates, whom he referred to as the “greatest asset of any university,” that things like poverty, inequality, and injustice exist in the world. 

“With you having advance education… saan po natin gagamitin ‘tong ating edukasyon?” he challenged them.

Brillantes also took care to give credit where credit was due, and requested the graduating students to applaud their teachers for educating them.

MSU-IIT Chancellor Sukarno D. Tanggol also made a similar request during his welcome address but did it to honor the efforts and sacrifices of the parents and guardians of the students.

“The readiness to show appreciation and to return kindness is a quality MSU-IIT, as a university, hopes to have instilled in you,” Tanggol told the graduating students. 

“The object of universities,” Tanggol said, quoting the British philosopher John Stuart Mill, “is not to make skillful lawyers, physicians or engineers. It is to make capable and cultivated human beings.”

MSU System President Habib W. Macaayong also attended the commencement exercises and conferred the titles and degrees on the 533 graduates.