UST acting rector to batch 2024: Carry your values in a world of ‘shifting ethical tendencies’

UST Acting rector Fr. Isias Tiongco, O.P. leads the Baccalaureate Mass for graduates of Batch 2024 at the University’s grandstand and open field on May 31. Photo by Raymond Vince Manaloto/ THE FLAME

UST ACTING rector Fr. Isaias Tiongco, O.P. urged graduating Thomasians to face the future with courage and to carry with them the values they learned in the University as they venture into an uncertain world of “shifting ethical tendencies.”

In his homily during the Baccalaureate Mass for batch 2024, Tiongco noted that the graduating students entered UST four years ago, when the world was gripped with uncertainties and challenges brought about by the pandemic.

He said members of the graduating batch embarked on an academic adventure that is “unique, unprecedented, and unlike any other.”

“The sudden shift to online learning, the absence of traditional campus life and the need for constant adaptation tested your limits, yet you rose to the occasion,” Tiongco said during the mass held on Friday, May 31.

“Despite the overwhelming odds, you transformed your homes into classrooms, turned virtual spaces into communities and maintained your commitment to learning,” he added.

According to Tiongco, the experience has instilled in the graduates a “unique strength” and an “unwavering perseverance” that would serve them well in their future endeavors.

However, the University official reminded the graduating students that they would also be confronted with uncertainties after they leave the portals of the campus.

“Be thankful for the opportunities and guidance provided to you. The world you are entering is fraught with uncertainties and complexities, particularly those resulting from the advent of Artificial Intelligence or AI and shifting ethical tendencies attempting to redefine traditional and orthodox values,” Tiongco said.

“However, like Mary, who courageously accepted her role in God’s plan despite the unknown, you are called to face the future with courage and faith. The values of competence, commitment, and compassion, integrity and your faith in the Lord instilled in you will serve as your guiding spirit,” he added.

Tiongco encouraged the graduating Thomasians to foster a “spirit of collaboration and mutual support” in their professional and personal lives, citing the joy that the Blessed Virgin Mary brought to her cousin Elizabeth when she visited her before the birth of Jesus. He said the presence of Thomasians would bring “positive change” to the communities they serve.

‘Pioneers of a new era’

Artlets graduates participate in the imposition of the Thomasian cross during the Baccalaureate Mass on May 31. Photo by Ethan Christensen Cardaño/ THE FLAME

Tiongco also reminded the Thomasians that they are part of a centuries-old legacy of greatness that has weathered countless storms and emerged stronger each time.

“Your journey attests to the power of hope, the importance of innovation and the strength of the human spirit,” the acting rector said.

“To our graduating batch, as you step forward into the future, I urge you to carry the values instilled in you during your time here at UST. You are pioneers of a new era, you have demonstrated that education transcends physical boundaries and that the spirit of Thomasian excellence can thrive in any circumstance.”

Tiongco advised the graduating Thomasians to seek the truth, practice love and compassion, and strive for justice in everything they do.

“Carry with you the lessons learned during these challenging years. Embrace change confidently, courageously face adversity, and passionately pursue your dreams,” he said.

“As the graduating batch of this unendingly grace Catholic university, let your words, your actions and lifestyle reflect your faith and let your decisions be guided by principles of Christian ethics.”

Tiongco noted that the commencement exercise is not an end but a new beginning and graduating students are not only ambassadors of academic excellence but also “bearers of the light of Christ.”

“The world awaits your contribution, your ideas, your leadership. Remember, you will not just be a University graduate but a bearer of rich tradition that calls you to make a difference,” he said.

The University sent off 7,795 graduating students during this year’s Baccalaureate Mass, about 900 of them from the Faculty of Arts and Letters. F – B. A. Gavilan with reports from C. J. Ruga

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