As part of the university’s mission of providing spiritual formation, the Class of 2023, before their much-awaited graduation, attended this year’s Baccalaureate Mass on June 15, 2023, at the UST-Legazpi Dome with Most Rev. Joel Z. Baylon, D.D., Bishop of Legazpi as presider together with the university’s Dominican Fathers and Diocesan Priests.

The annual Baccalaureate Mass is a tradition of every educational institution as a rite of blessing to the graduates before they reap their awards for a fruitful academic year.

In his inspiring homily, Bishop Baylon centered his message on gratitude, one of the core values of the university. He inspired the graduates to carry it as they exit the portals of the university with the hopes of changing the world into a better place.

“Finally, here you are at the end of your college education. Another blessed journey with its share of challenges, problems, and difficulties that now seemingly vanish to thin air as you relish the joy of triumph and chase the sweet wine of success. It is therefore right to express your gratitude,” the head of the Diocese of Legazpi said.

“My dear graduates, through the years of your educational transformation at UST-Legazpi, you have been polished clean. Shine your light to the world and make it a brighter, happier, and more peaceful place to live.”

“As the motto of this noble institution conceived so well, live a life of truth and of love out of gratitude,” Bishop Baylon said as he ended his homily.

As also traditionally practiced, Most. Rev. Baylon led the blessing of the university diplomas and medals to be distributed at the solemn investiture the next day while the Dominican Fathers blessed the St. Thomas Aquinas mini-statue distributed by the university as one of its souvenirs.

Meanwhile, speeches of gratitude were delivered right after the said Eucharistic celebration. Two members of the Legazpi Thomasian community proudly shared their journey at the university to inspire others to persevere in life.

Mr. Roberto L. Quiamno, a parent of one of the student assistants in the university who belongs to this year’s graduating class.

Mr. Roberto said that he would leave the house to work in the wee hours of a dark morning and will return to their home during night time. Exhausted and sleep deprived, he would continuously work hard to support his family. He would always pray to God to help him survive especially when he and his family are being challenged by financial liabilities but with the grace of God, in those difficult situations, Mr. Quiamno was able to uplift his family with the unselfish helping hands of everyone around them.

He also took his child, Georgette, one of the student assistants at the university, as an example to everyone of how hard work can propel a person to greater possibilities.

“Proud ako sa anak ko na magtatapos nang kursong Financial Management, ito po ay si Georgette. Saludo ako sa batang ito dahil pagkatapos niya ng grade 12 ay nagtrabaho muna siya ng isang taon bilang call center agent upang makatulong sa kanyang kuya, na naunang grumaduate dito sa UST-Legazpi,” told by Mr. Quiamno.

“Pagkatapos ng isang taon ay nagpursige na siya ulit na magbalik sa pag-aaral at nag apply bilang Student Assistant at malaki ang aming pagpapasalamat na mag-asawa at pinagpala siyang makapasok sa scholarship dito kaya taos puso akong nagpapasalamat sa eskwelahan na ito,” he added.

On the other hand, Patricia Mae B. Benid, a Business Administration Major in Financial Management and a former student assistant in the university also shared her story.

“Four years ago, after failing a college entrance exam, I just found myself taking another exam at UST-Legazpi, and luckily, I passed,” as Patricia begins to tell her story.

“Pero bago magsimula ang school year, alam ko na hindi kaya ng magulang ko ang tuition fee, kaya nag apply ako for scholarship — nag apply akong student assistant,” she said.

As a student assistant, Patricia is obliged to work and study at the same time which she found exhausting yet worth it at the same time. Several times she would wonder how it would feel like if she has a lot of free time to spend studying or resting than dedicating it to her SA duty.

“However, this envious feeling made me appreciate the things I have and value time and money. Mas naging motivated pa akong magpatuloy, hanggang sa makaabot ako sa aldaw na ini,” she continued.

Patricia did not forget to thank everyone with whom she has worked especially those from the Office of Academic Affairs where she was assigned. She also thanked other individuals who helped her finish her studies including, of course, her parents whom she has promised to help in the future.

Lastly, Patricia also congratulated her fellow scholars in the university who shared the same journey as hers.

“To my fellow scholars, our hard work, perseverance, determination, and discipline led us to where we are now. We did it! All our sacrifices have paid off.”

Copyright 2019. University of Santo Tomas - Legazpi