(June 16)--UP Diliman rolled out the red carpet for its newest and youngest constituents at the Freshman Welcome Assembly on June 14, the first day of classes for Academic Year 2011-2012 at the University Theater.
A yearly tradition organized by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs (OVCSA), the program is a getting-to-know-you of sorts, where officials of the UP System and UP Diliman are introduced to the newest students, and deans of the degree granting units introduce their newest constituents to the administration officials. The program likewise features a number of the best cultural performers on campus.
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Ma. Corazon J. Tan opened the program by welcoming the freshmen and congratulating them for being among the 3,821 who qualified for admission at the flagship campus of the UP System. She said the UPD administration will do its best to create a nurturing and enabling environment to enable the freshmen to achieve academic excellence, to ensure their safety and promote their democratic rights as students. This is not an easy task, she noted, but the UPD administration is counting on the students’ cooperation and support.
In her brief message, she also expressed hopes that the freshmen make the Oblation the reminder of their obligation to the nation. She said the Oblation symbolizes the offering of one’s self and that along with the privilege of studying in UP is the freshmen’s responsibility to the Filipino people, who are shouldering the cost of their education.
Dr. Caesar A. Saloma, chancellor of UP Diliman, took the floor next, and began his brief message with an introduction of the officers of the UPD administration.
He welcomed the freshmen, calling them the brightest and the most promising of their generation. “You are here today because you are the country’s latest investment in what we all dream to be a better future.”
Highlighting the significance of their matriculation at UP, he said: “You are now part of a community of scholars devoted to the development and dissemination of knowledge. You are now part of a culture that thrives on healthy skepticism and rigorous critical inquiry.”
Reiterating Tan’s message, he said: “Our university values first and foremost the life of scientific inquiry and constant search for meaning and understanding of how nature works. It believes this way of life is at its most productive in an environment that encourages diversity and plurality. But the quest for academic inquiry is most meaningful when carried out not merely for personal gain, but mostly for uplifting the life of the Filipinos.
Finally, he urged them to “Always pursue excellence with honor. Play by the rules. We expect you to earn you baccalaureate degrees in four to five years, depending on your academic course. Do not fail yourself, your parents, and most of all, the Filipino people who are paying a major portion of your precious UP education.”
Following Saloma, UP President Alfredo E. Pascual welcomed and congratulated the new students.
Elaborating on UP’s tradition of excellence, Pascual said: “Through our scenic campus and the well-known UP landmarks, you will find UP’s traditions of excellence as paramount. It is a tradition of excellence that attracts students from all over the country and the world. My predecessors have worked hard to create an environment that fosters the intellectual and creative capacity of our students. I hope you make the most of this unique opportunity while upholding honor at all times. Honor goes with excellence. But remember: honor comes first, and excellence, second.”
He added: “Independence, particularly of the mind, is truly a cornerstone of a UP education. Only a mind that is free from biases and errors of the past can truly go beyond the future. Your presence here means we know you can bring us to that future—that bright future. You must not forget, however, that being a student in UP—the National University—what it truly means. Independence, like brilliance, is not always good in itself. Only when used to serve the public good shall it become relevant. My vision is to see UP support your creative endeavors that ultimately will benefit the people.”
Other speakers include Ma. Patricia R. Riego, BS Psychology freshman and Jemimah N. Garcia, chair of the University Student Council.
The UPD performing groups include the Kontra Gapi, Pep Squad, Rayadillo, ROTC Symphonic Band, Concert Chorus, and freshmen from the Varsity, Filipiniana and Dance Company.
Two programs were mounted to accommodate the total number of freshmen, both ably hosted by Prof. Jovy M. Peregrino. The morning program was staged for the new students of how many academic units, namely: the Asian Institute of Tourism, Institute of Library and Information Science, School of Economics, School of Statistics and the colleges of Arts and Letters, Business Administration, Fine Arts, Home Economics, Human Kinetics, Mass Communication, Music, Public Administration and Governance, Social Work and Community Development.
The afternoon program was held for the top three colleges in terms of freshmen admission, namely the colleges of Engineering, Science and Social Sciences and Philosophy. --CAI