The University of the Philippines endorsed 383 students for graduation with five magna cum laude, 65 cum laude, and one Most Outstanding graduate.

Chancellor Liza D. Corro call to the graduates in her opening remarks “It is just fitting that before you start going out to the real world, you all remind yourselves that we in UP are a sui generis. Many may not understand why there are rallies in UP, even during commencement; actually, what we do here is not so much for others to know but it is more of a reminder to all of you, our dear graduates, and to us in UP, that service is what we are destined for.” by referring to UP Cebu’s slogan, Nurtured to Create, Inspired to Innovate, Destined to Serve.

Mehitabel, Inc. Executive Vice President, Maria Luisa Aboitiz Booth, also graced the occasion as the commencement speaker. She shared the four simple truths and guiding principles she learned, not from when she graduated college nor law school in the US, but during the course of her life.

The first principle is that the straight path is not always the only path or the right path. “You must give yourself room in your life to change directions, to adopt new ways of doing old things and to learn from your mistakes and your bad decisions, because trust me, you will make mistakes and you will make some bad decisions. It’s okay,”

The second principle is not to be afraid to take the road less traveled, as it might make all the difference in their lives.

The third is a quote from 19th century French novelist, Marie-Joseph “Eugène” Sue:  the hand that gives gathers. “Most of us would like to earn a good living, be rich, drive fancy cars. That is human nature after all. However, those who selfishly acquire property and goods without regard to the damage they are doing to the world and without using their gifts to improve the lives of others are destined to live unhappy lives,”

And the last piece of advice Booth gave the graduates: “Try to be a shepherd. Don’t be a wolf. Look for those who can benefit from your knowledge and experience and help to protect them and guide them. Always try to use your skills for the betterment of those around you and you will never have regrets.”

In behalf of the graduates, magna cum laude, BS Computer Science, and UP Cebu Class of 2019 valedictorian, Juan Carlos Roldan, offers his valedictory speech during the 82nd Commencement Exercises. “…all contributions from any one graduate of this university, regardless of whether one becomes an artist or a scientist, will be viewed from the societal lens that our experiences in this university has gifted us.” He said.

Further, he urged his fellow graduates to always keep in mind that the choices we make are not our own. To work and fight for the poor, the marginalized, and the oppressed; that the correct choice would be to fight against that struggle, and fight alongside that struggle. “We have been asked so many times to make the profitable choice, to choose the degree program that will help us earn more, but the logic in the gears of the iskolar ng bayan is not predicated upon the blind search for more. The algorithm or blueprint for being iskolar ng bayan does not dictate making choices simply towards seeking prestige in the fields of industry or in the academe. Being iskolar ng bayan is in the realization that the struggle in here is a part of the struggle out there and making the correct choice to fight alongside it.”

Roldan offered a minute of silence for one of the 383 graduates as she stood out from the rest with her absence. Kis Tryvl Cabasag Ramos, who would have graduated with a degree in Psychology, was fatally shot on 11 April 2019 at a coffee shop she worked in on F. Ramos St. Cebu City. Her parents, Elvira Ramos and Juan Reynaldo Ramos, marched onto the stage to receive the diploma on their daughter’s behalf amid bittersweet cheers and applause.