Thirty six (36) of 4,610 students graduated summa cum laude (with highest honors) from the schools and colleges of the University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD) Diliman campus during the 106th General Commencement Exercises on 25th June 2017.
This is the highest number of topnotchers since the university was founded in 1908. To earn the summa distinction, a student must earn a weighted average grade (WAG) between 1.0 and 1.20.
In his opening remarks, UP Diliman Chancellor Michael Tan recalled his year's in the university when there one or two or none at all who graduated with this highest honors, although there were those who earned the distinction of magna cum laude or cum laude.
Alumni wonder how easy it seems now to graduate summa. Could it be that there are no more 'terror' professors who can kill aspirations to get grades better than 1.5 in one's subjects? The most plausible is that the wealth of information available to students is within reach of the fingers from the world wide web unlike before when they had to dig into books in the library. Information technology has boosted chances to get to the top of one's classes.
Getting a 1.0 in a subject then was a great struggle. Thus, one gets awed by students who graduate with a weighted grade average (WAG) of just a bit close to that magic number like Williard Joshua D. Jose and Rangel DG. Daroya, who both graduated with Bachelor of Science in Electronics and Communications Engineering (BS ECE) degree from the College of Engineering: WAGs of 1.058 and 1.074, respectively.
Arman Ali Ghodsinia, who delivered the valedictory address, graduated BS Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (BS MBB) from the College of Science, earned a WAG of 1.173.
The 36 top honors came from 10 degree-granting units of the university’s four clusters: science and technology (S&T), social sciences and law (SS&L), management and economics (M&E), and arts and letters (A&L).
The S&T cluster topped the number of summas with 17 (COE: 9, CS: 6, SS: 2).
- Following the cited topnotchers Jose and Daroya were these seven others from the College of Engineering (COE): John Ian V. Baytamo (WAG 1.115, BS Mechanical Engineering), Jeynald Jeyromme L. Endaya (1.133, BS Computer Science/CS), Johntee T. Tantuco (1.152, BS Industrial Engineering/IE), Quirby Angelo S. Alberto (1.154, BS IE), Marco Angelo DP. Samonte, 1.166 (BS ECE), Clare Feliz S. Tan (1.166, BS CS), and Ian Christian B. Fernandez (1.177, BS Computer Engineering).
- Aside from Ghodsinia, there were five others from College of Science (CS): Philip Christopher S. Cruz (1.163, BS Physics), Christian Cariño (1.169, BS Chemistry/Chem), Kristine Larissa B. Yu (1.169, BS Chem), Jan Patrick C. Tan (1.174, BS MBB), and Ryan Timothy D. Yu (1.179, BS MBB).
- The two from the School of Statistics (SS): Paollo Deo R. Reyes (1.102, BS Statistics/Stat,) and Teod Carlo C. Cabili (1.196, BS Stat),
|The two summas from SS with university officials.|
This was followed by eight from the SS&L cluster, all coming from the College of Social Science and Philosophy (CSSP).
- Patricia S. Sy (1.089, Bachelor of Arts/BA in Sociology), Victor Carlo G. Irene (1.101, BA Philosophy), Stephanie Ann B. Lopez, (1.102, BA Psychology/Psych), Angelica Cielo B. Gozar (1.157, BA Psych), Arla Mae Nicole T. Salcedo (1.159, BA Psych). Krizzia Elyse B. Mañago (1.163, BA Linguistics), Corinna Victoria C. Martinez (1.177, BS Psych), and Marly Vea Clarisse L. Elli (1.182, BA Lingguistics).
|It was almost all-women summas except for one from CSSP.|
There were six from the M&E cluster (VSB: 4, AIT: 1, SE: 1):
- The four from the Cesar E.A. Virata School of Business (VSB): John Alexander O. Soriano (1.131, BS Business Administration and Accountancy/BAA), Christine Darla A. Bautista (1.171, BS Business Administration/BA), Marco G. Del Valle (1.173, BS BA) and Erica Camille U. Lau (1.193, BS BAA).
- From the Asian Institute of Tourism (AIT): Jennifer B. Rucio (1.173, BS Tourism). She is the first summa graduate of the institute.
|Ms Rucio (inset, photo from UPD Information Office).|
- From the School of Economics (SE): Angelo Rafael E. Arcilla (1.183, BS Business Economics)
|The sole summa from SE with university officials.|
The A&L cluster had five (CAL: 3, CHK: 1, CFA: 1).
- The four from the College of Arts and Letters (CAL): Martin Anthony M. Salud (1.104, BA European Languages), Jose Monfred C. Sy (1.166, BA Comparative Literature), and Mary Anne Balane (1.183, BA English Studies).
|Sulud (top left), Sy (bottom left) and Balane. [The men's photos from UPD Information Office.]|
- From the College of Human Kinetics/CHK): Katherine Adrielle R. Bersola (1.180, Bachelor of Sports Science). She is the first summa in the history of the college.
- From the College of Fine Arts (CFA): Kamille Anne U. Areopagita (1.197, Bachelor of Fine Arts [Visual Communication]).
|The sole summa from the College of Fine Arts with university officials.|
In addition to the cited 36 summas, 337 received the Latin distinction of magna cum laude while 1,016 graduated with the honor of cum laude.
In our own recollection, it used to be that the magna cum laude graduates, like the few summas, were honored on stage during the general commencement exercises.
With the growing number of summas, there may come a time when their acclamation will be confined in the recognition rites of schools and colleges.
I attended a graduation event in the New Hampshire in the US five years ago, and I noted the big number of summa graduates. They were not called on stage; it sufficed that their names in the program were followed by that Latin phrase of distinction.
Note: Unless credited to the UP Diliman Information Office, all the photos are from the author.