Finally, nairaos din!
This was the sentiment of us graduates of the Ateneo Graduate School of Business (AGSB) of the Ateneo de Manila University at our Commencement Exercises held August 5, Sunday, at the Irwin Theater, AdMU-Loyola Campus in QC.
The activities started at 330 pm with a processional of graduates (by program) from the Grade School auditorium adjoining Irwin Theater. We trooped into the Theater as our professors waited by the doors, pride beaming on their faces.
I walked inside with Ik (Aya was waiting for Alex at UP, who was taking the UPCAT that same day) and took my seat in one of the center rows. We were arranged alphabetically and according to program (Standard, Middle Manager, Regis, Special-Allied Bank, Special-ADB, and so on).
As an honor graduate ( Silver Medalist), I was allowed two guests, with assigned seats near the stage. As I was first in line alphabetically, Ik got a good view of the proceedings and was seated near the aisle.
At 4pm, a Baccalaureate Mass was held, AdMU president Fr. Bienvenido Nebres, SJ, presiding. After the Mass, the altar was taken away and the stage curtains raised to reveal a beautiful set, all blue and gold and silver, covered with masses of real flowers – pink and red roses, yellow mums, red anthuriums, purple and blue blooms, green ferns and foliage, all in a riot of colors, almost as if we were in a garden.
The Commmencement Address was delivered by the former dean of AGSB and now dean of the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health, Dr. Alfredo RA Bengzon. It was a stirring speech that reminded all us graduates of our school’s “value proposition” – “My Business, My Country”. Wherever we are, Dr. Bengzon reminded us, we can all make a difference towards positive change and growth for nation-building.
Next came the medal awarding ceremony. Again, alphabetically, I was the first one called forward to receive my silver medal from Fr. Nebres. Since Aya and Alex were still at UP, it was Ik who went up on stage with me, and afterwards hung my medal around my neck.
After all the awards were presented, next came the awarding of diplomas, by programs. Edmar (de la Torre), who was seated behind me, passed the word that we would all yell when Regis was announced. (Pasimuno talaga sa kalokohan.)
Sure enough, when it was our turn, we let out a chorus of yells and applause when AGSB Dean (and my Strama professor) Alberto Buenviaje called on the Regis graduates. We walked down the aisle (me in front again) shouting and clapping as everyone stared. By this time, Alex and Aya had arrived and just shook their heads at our kalokohan.
As I passed the faculty seated near the stage, I shrugged and told our Quanti prof, Prof. Ralph Ante, “Sir, pasaway talaga kahit kelan!” He said, “It’s normal!” meaning he knew our batch was up to its old antics as usual. See, none of the other programs were as loud and vocal. They were staid and boring, teehee. And to think most of them were younger than us Regis students.
We received our diplomas (original, in Latin), one by one, so it took time, but we were all very happy to finally end our MBA education with such joy and laughter. We ended on a tearful note with all the graduates, faculty, and staff singing the Ateneo Graduation Hymn “Mary For You” complete with battle chop.
The whole stirring ceremony inspired Ik so much that she wants to go to Ateneo – and nowhere else – for college! Alex will be taking the exams for Ateneo soon; hopefully she will pass them and receive the Jesuit training that I am proud to have experienced.
Congratulations, 2007 MBA graduates of the AGSB! Primus inter pares!
Our barkada and batchmates – (L-R) Capt. Edmar de la Torre , Gina Matawaran (gold medal), Cynthia Jose, me, Wilma Torralba.
My MBA ring. I chose a blue sapphire (an Ateneo color) for the stone.
One side of the ring has the Ateneo Eagle; the other, St. Ignatius of Loyola at prayer, along with the year of my graduation and the degree.