After braving their final stretch to finish their academic journey, UST-Legazpi’s College of Health Sciences Class of 2023 hailed two hundred-eleven graduates and beamed with pride for their thirty-two cum laudes at the last leg of the university’s 75th Solemn Investiture held on July 21, 2023 at the UST-Legazpi Dome bearing the theme “Vita Gratitudinis: Celebrating the Enduring Thomasian Tradition”.

CHS’ Dean, Assistant Professor Athena G. Masip, RN, MAN, proudly presented this year’s graduates from her college: sixty-three from Medical Technology, sixty-five from Pharmacy, and eighty-three from Nursing.

Justin Claire D. Dongon, Cum Laude of the Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy program delivered the college’s address of petition.

“It’s amazing how time flies that I didn’t realize that it has been a decade since I became a Legazpi Thomasian but now, I am standing with gratefulness and pride, finishing my bachelor’s degree,” said Dongon as she opened her address of petition.

As she and her fellow batchmates step into another chapter of their life, she realized that it is overwhelming to plan for the future. That’s why she concluded to follow three things to guide them into the real world.

“One, is to always be half-full; two, celebrate small wins, and; three, look and give back,” she shared with the audience.

“Our dear Alma Mater, the University of Santo Tomas-Legazpi, nurtured, guided, and molded us through study and prayer, ready for the next chapter of our lives,” Dongon added.

Meanwhile, UST-Legazpi’s 9th Rector and President, Rev. Fr. Edwin A. Lao, OP, DBA, addressed the CHS’ class of 2023 focusing on two characteristics: sipag at tiyaga as they counter the difficulty of passing their respective board exams and landing a job after.

“The days ahead of you are the hard days. These times will challenge you and will determine who you are. You will not be defined by what you achieved but how you survived,” Rev. Fr. Edwin said to the graduates.

The Rector and President also said that UST-Legazpi has honed its graduates enough to be tough yet resilient persons.

“She has nurtured your minds, formed your hearts, and enriched your spirits,” the Very Reverend Father added.

“Future Pharmacists, Medical Technologists, and Registered Nurses, challenges and difficulties will not move away but with sipag at tiyaga, you will survive them and even make them easy.”

Topping this year’s CHS graduates is Crismar O. Debil, Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy Cum Laude, who also delivered the address of thanks.

In his speech, Crismar shared how UST-Legazpi honed them to be advocates of health equity.

He took into account the inequity to health care access in his hometown Partido District of the Camarines Sur province.

“Due to limitations, some patients, especially from farther areas of our district, are compelled to travel for longer distances just to receive health services and those with life-threatening, or emergency cases tend to be referred to other higher level hospital institutions located in the metro,” Debil shared to the audience.

He encouraged his fellow graduates to join the fight in addressing these problems to uplift health for all, inspired by the enduring Thomasian tradition, to become bearers of truth while being strongly dedicated to saving and nurturing lives.

The class’ top student also took the chance to thank everyone who joined him in his journey—his professors, batchmates, family, his hometown, and the Lord almighty.

“University of Santo Tomas-Legazpi, thank you for giving us a home where we learned to be vigilant in the name of truth, love, and justice, and to live our lives out of gratitude.”

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