By ALI IAN MARCELINO V. BIONG
THE FACULTY of Arts and Letters (AB) once again beat its own record after producing 298 graduates with Latin honors this year—the highest number that it has recorded in 122 years—during the Solemn Investiture held Monday.
AB is on its third year of consistently increasing the number of Latin honorees produced, with Batch 2018 yielding three summa cum laudes, 40 magna cum laudes, and 255 cum laudes.
Batch 2017 previously held the record of having the most number of graduates with Latin honors with 214 Latin honorees after beating Batch 2016 which had 149.
Batch 2018 is also the biggest graduating batch AB has ever produced with 1,249 graduates.
During the Baccalaureate Mass, the number of graduates was announced to be 1,187 only because some graduating students’ statuses were not yet final at the time, Artlets Student Council president Rafael Arellano said.
Leading this year’s graduates is English Language Studies (ELS) major Fermina Vergara who received the Rector’s Academic Award for attaining a general weighted average (GWA) of 1.129.
ELS major Jeff Roxas and Economics major Elijen Love Saez were the two other summa cum laudes of Batch 2018.
Batch valedictorian Vergara said although AB is looked down upon by others, what separates the humanities from other disciplines is that it molds students “to be great individuals who sustain the essence of humanity.”
“What they do not know is that there is beauty and importance in liberal arts […] We are taught and influenced by our professors to analyze and think critically of the issues surrounding our society, making us the voices of truth and justice,” Vergara stressed.
“Liberal arts is a discipline that embraces differences for it allows us to understand the world in multiple perspectives. As AB students, we are shaped to have an open mind that invites scholarly and fruitful discourses from different brilliant minds, because in AB, there is no single correct answer obtained from a singular solution,” she added.
Vergara also urged her fellow graduates to use their Thomasian education to help others and not just for their own good.
“All of the lessons that we have gained during our stay in UST, use and apply them wisely and cautiously in life […] Utilize and apply them to empower and inspire the people who need them the most in our society,” she said.
“In doing so, I hope we keep within us the Thomasian Artlet values that our University has inculcated in us,” she added.
Before this year, the last time AB produced a summa cum laude was in 2016. Behavioral Science alumna Zheanne Amira Dantis was awarded the Latin honor after attaining a GWA of 1.149.
The Solemn Investiture was held at the Quadricentennial Pavilion on June 5. F