The Manila Times’ President, CEO, and concurrent Executive Editor Dante Ang 2nd was honored on Sunday by his alma mater, Texas A&M University-Commerce, as one of six Distinguished Alumnus awardees.
The Texas A&M University System is the state’s first public institution of higher learning and research. In its impressive 127-year history, it has only granted the Distinguished Alumnus Award to 146 individuals.
Ang, 48, received the recognition on Saturday evening [Sunday morning in Manila] at the Alumni Awards Gala held at the Commerce campus’ Rayburn Student Center (RSC).
It was at Texas A&M University that Ang made true his inherited passion for news writing from his father, Dr. Dante Arevalo Ang, publisher of the defunct Filipino broadsheet Kabayan.
The younger Ang, who was a scholar throughout his secondary education at Sharpstown High School in Houston, chose to study at Texas A&M University-Commerce specifically for its Journalism program.
“Klink [his father’s endearing nickname for his junior]was actually offered two scholarships for college, but one of the universities did not offer Journalism among its courses,” the senior Ang once proudly shared at a Manila Times event.
Ang 2nd pursued a bachelor’s degree in Journalism with a minor in Marketing in Commerce, without costing his father much for his education as a Ray Holbrook scholar [a grant from the Dallas Press Club for promising young journalists]. Even his college housing was free because he worked as a resident assistant in one of the dorms in exchange for lodging.
A true newsman from the onset of college, Ang was twice named editor of the university newspaper [The East Texan], and one time as editor of the college magazine [The Special].
Graduating in 1990, he first gained work experience as a reporter for the Tulsa Tribune in Oklahoma, where he covered state and local politics until 1992, after which he became Vice President for Marketing of the Bell Publishing Corp., where he was responsible for opening distribution outlets in Rome for Diwalian, a monthly magazine for overseas Filipino workers.
He returned to the Philippines in 1993, and in the years that ensued gained varied related media experience in Kabayan; as public relations consultant for several high profile politicians for a time; and a Foreign Service stint as information officer at the Philippine Consulate General in Toronto.
In 2001, Ang’s family acquired the nation’s first and oldest English language broadsheet, The Manila Times.
In a letter sent to The Manila Times, Texas A&M University-Commerce President Ray Keck 3rd congratulated Ang on being named as a Distinguished Alumnus for the latter’s “contributions to journalism and to society as a whole, [which]have reflected great honor upon [our]institution.”
Forced to sit down for an interview before he left for the US early last week, Ang shared his memories of studying in the state university.
“I have so many fond memories of school, which was called East Texas State University [Estu] when I was there a long time ago,” he chuckled. “After I graduated, Estu was absorbed by the Texas A&M System.”
“I made so many friends there, and they were like family, especially because I was so far away from home. But if I had to pick, the most influential experiences in college, it would be my time at the university paper where I started my freshman year, and my membership in Delta Tau Delta fraternity, which helps young men develop leadership and other life skills.”
Asked how he felt upon learning he had been given what the university president described to be “among the highest honors conferred by the 127-year old institution,” Ang replied: “I was surprised, mainly because I feel that we have much more to do at The Manila Times. But I am proud of the hard work and teamwork at The Times, which has risen from the bottom of the heap 16 years ago to being named ‘Newspaper of the Year’ by the VACC [Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption] for two years running, and being No. 1 in opinion today. That said I feel that the best has yet to come.”
“This award is a recognition for everyone at The Manila Times. I cannot take full credit, because it has been a team effort—a family effort. I hope that this award will boost everyone’s morale as we continue to strive for even higher goals. I also hope that our achievements and continuing effort will inspire young people to join our ranks and work toward excellence in journalism. I think that for any democratic society to prosper, it should have a free and active press,” he added.
Ang, who also teaches Journalism subjects at The Manila Times College and the Pamantasan Ng Lungsod ng Maynila, holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) from De La Salle University and is currently a candidate for a Ph.D. in Economics at the University of Santo Tomas.
He was given Texas A&M University-Commerce’s Distinguished Alumnus Award along with Peggy Leeman Ramirez, Major General John Speigel, Chester McKinney [posthumously], Bill Nicholson, Mark Von Schwartz, and Charles Wilson.
His sister Anna Marie Ang-Thompson who is based in Plano, Texas, along with her husband Ken and son Dante, witnessed the awarding ceremony. Delta Tau Delta fraternity brothers Jim Barto and Brian Weast, along with friend Cyndi Brown, and Ang’s college roommate RW Raabe also attended the event to personally give their congratulations.