Tears of joy on graduation day


THERE is probably a news story about it somewhere else in today’s issue. If there isn’t it will come out on Monday. I began doing my work for this issue late because I was at The Manila Times College graduation of class 2014-2015. Twenty-two of our students received their BA in Journalism degrees at a function room of the Philippine International Convention Center.

Before I go on, a disclosure to readers who don’t know–I am also the Dean of TMTC.

As with all graduations, some parents and graduates cried with joy. I was myself so touched by emotion to see four of those who were students in some of the classes I taught not only graduate, but did so with academic distinctions (cum laude and magna cum laude).

But the highest honors went to our Dual Degree program graduates–summa cum laudes. In the nine years of The Manila Times College’s existence this is the first graduation in which we granted summas. And this is also the first graduation for Dual Degree students.

These are students of our partner colleges and universities who are taking other degree programs there and have cross-enrolled for BA in Journalism in TMTC. They do all the journalism classes (including the core course requirements) and graded fieldwork as BA Journalism majors here at TMTC. All the basic courses required for a BA, they take in their original college or university.

TMTC President Dr. Isagani R. Cruz, Chairman of The Manila Times Dr. Dante A. Ang, President and CEO of The Manila Times Dante Francis “Klink” Ang II and I had messages published in the Commencement Exercises program.

It will make this Sunday Read column too long if I print all the wonderful and inspiring words they wrote for the graduates. So I’ll only share mine and Klink Ang’s with you.

Here is mine:
Those of you who were in any of my classes should remember throughout your lives two things I asked you to make a part of your philosophy of Life:

1.) That you should always be logical and never illogical because that is the essential thing in being a success in whatever you wish to do with your life. Logic grounds you on true facts and reality. Even in being a man or woman who believes in God and adheres to a religion and follows its practices, you must be logical and coherent. If you are a Christian and seriously reflect on the teachings of Christianity and Jesus Christ you will realize the deep and unassailable logic of its doctrines and tenets.

2) That you should never forget that you are not alone. God and your angel are always watching you. And that the bad angels — Lucifer, Satan and whoever else — are also watching and eager to be your silent companion instead of the good spirits.

But aside from the supernatural beings that are always there, you must also not forget that you are not alone, for you are a part of mankind–and as John Donne wrote “Everyman’s death diminishes you.” And diminishes each one of us. Death does not just mean physical departure from this Earth. But also another person’s loss of prestige, honor and common dignity, or the loss of a job and his means to feed and sustain his or her family, or the loss of the capacity to love others and be of assistance, service, and a source of kindness and comfort to them.

You cannot accept these two philosophical guidelines and live by them if you are not, as a good journalist must, always be devoted to the Truth.

But these two guidelines will always serve you well whether you decide to pursue a career other than journalism and the communications arts.

* * *

The following is the message to the graduates of Dante Francis “Klink” Ang II, president and CEO as well as executive editor of The Manila Times:

In behalf of The Manila Times, congratulations to the graduating class of 2015. Best of luck to all as you start your professional careers in media.

Today more than ever, we need good journalists. In the Philippines, we need good journalists to keep corruption and injustice in check. In our industry, we need good journalists to steer us through the turbulent changes brought about by the threat of obsolescence in the Information Age. In the vast world of cyberspace, we need good journalists to provide context and perspective to the flood of information. And even in the small sphere occupied by individuals, we need good journalists, as Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenthal have said, to make people free and self-governing.

As you begin your professional careers, we shall be looking to you – Are you among those good journalists whom we need? We shall be following your careers with both pride and anticipation.

Also, allow me to recognize the first batch of graduates from the dual-degree program of The Manila Times College and partner schools Emilio Aguinaldo College, Baliuag University, and National College of Science and Technology. As with all our alumni, we consider you family. That means we expect equally great things from you.

Great things are expected, because the responsibilities and challenges that face our profession are also considerable. But you have us to help you fight the great battles. Enjoy today. Tomorrow, we shall welcome you in the trenches.


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1 Comment

  1. Dominador D. Canastra on

    Congratulations, Manila Times. And congratulations also, and really BIGGER CONGRATULATIOS, to the graduates and the parents of your 2014-2015 batch.