University of the Philippines Los Baños


“We must make fear and the future our friend,” said Senator Richard J. Gordon, as he encouraged the UPLB Class of 2017 to set aside fear as they pursue a new chapter of their lives as UP graduates.

Sen. Gordon was the guest of honor and speaker at the 45th UPLB Commencement Exercises on June 24 at the DL Umali Freedom Park. A total of 2,454 students received their certificate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees at the ceremonies.

Sen. Gordon emphasized the power of using one’s mind in conquering personal and social challenges, saying that the mind has no boundaries in facing these things. He cited national hero Jose Rizal as a quintessential fearless man who stood up against the odds of colonial times. He also shared how the people of Singapore and Japan had allowed the limitless possibilities of their minds in bringing abundance to their countries.

He talked about his own experience in conquering fear when he was appointed to the helm of the Subic Bay Freeport Zone (SBFZ) and led it to succeed amid the closure of the then US Naval Base and the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the early 1990’s. Sen. Gordon was the founding chairman of SBFZ from 1992-1998. “Don’t let anybody say, ‘you can’t do it’,” he said. He also reminded the graduates that while failure is inevitable, standing up after failing is what really matters.

Sen. Gordon also urged the graduates to use their education to lead people out of the darkness. “The vulnerable needs champions like you, who will go to the forefront and speak and act for them.”

This year’s class valedictorian, Arnel B. Villancio, Jr., BS Agriculture, summa cum laude, also enjoined the graduates to take brave steps for the country. “Panahon na upang pakilusin ang karunungang ilang taon ding pinagyabong ng ating mga karanasan sa loob at labas man ng UP (It’s about time to translate into action the knowledge that our experiences have nurtured inside and outside the UP),” he said.

Simulan na nating tiyakin ang landas na tatahakin ng bawat isa sa atin upang marating natin ang iisang mithiin: isang maunlad at mapayapang Pilipinas (Let us start ensuring the path that each of us would take so that we could reach one aspiration: a progressive and peaceful Philippines),” Villancio further said.

Present during the ceremony were Chancellor Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr., who presented the graduates, and Dr. Ma. Cynthia Rose B. Bautista, UP vice president for academic affairs, who conferred the degrees to the graduates on behalf of UP President Danilo L. Concepcion. Alumni Regent Ramon M. Maronilla and For. Leo R. Ballesfin, presidents of the UP and UPLB Alumni Associations, respectively, inducted the graduates to the said alumni organizations.

Also present were Faculty Regent Patricia Arinto, Staff Regent Alexis Mejia, and Regent Francis Laurel; Dr. Teodoro Herbosa, UP executive vice president; Dr. Ruben L. Villareal, past UPLB chancellor; UPLB officials; and professor emeriti of UPLB. (Mark Jayson E. Gloria)