Norberto Quisumbing Jr. Dr. of Humanities, Honoris Causa
- Jad Conde () - August 21, 2005 - 12:00am
His brilliant insights and analyses moved me so that I silently hoped that Cebu would not end up as fragmented as other places. I admire his astute use of the admirable qualities of Cebuanos that I consistently apply in asserting contemporary debates on youth ideology.

He told me that the Cebuano is a unique individual. He said that whatever ethnic group comes over will eventually be transformed into a Cebuano. Cebuano is a personality, a character of its own. "Cebuanos never change in character," NQ said. "They remain charming, intelligent, friendly, and humble." I listened attentively as he enumerated these traits, evaluating myself of the same, conscious of the Cebuano blood that runs through my veins. Dismayed by the result of my own evaluation, I asked him what Cebuano quality did he find most admirable. "Humility," he replied. "It is an honorable trait that Cebuanos should maintain."

I was astounded by his gentlemanly affirmation to a disposition that has become largely adulterated. He recalled the value of equality, which Cebuanos give a premium on, no matter their status in life. He interpreted the symbolisms of riding a tartanilla where Cebuanos in diverse situations were united. I knew that he was quite inspired at the sight of an egalitarian unity.

He humbly recalled that in 1954, his father asked him to help mend a family-owned match factory. "Being the eldest, I could not disappoint my father. I stopped my apprenticeship in a law office and suspended my studies so I could serve him," NQ reminisced.

Later, he returned to Cebu, along with his wife and two children. "I started defining my being Cebuano when I came back," he concluded. His father sold the match factory and NQ started his own business - Norkis - which has withstood the political turmoils of our country. A symbiotic relationship with his employees has bonded the stable foundation of the company.

Norberto Quisumbing Jr. or NQ spent his elementary years at the De La Salle College, his high-school years at the Ateneo University, and his college years at the University of the Philippines- Diliman. His post-graduate study was at the London School of Economics.

Honoris Causa, a Latin term meaning "for the sake of honor", is the highest academic recognition given to a worthy and valuable person. This designation is added when a university grants an honorary degree, usually Ph.D.

"It is the highest award that a university can bestow on a person based on his/her achievements, character, and commitment to the community. It will not happen easily, you will have to be a person of note; at the same time, you are acknowledged by the majority of the people as one who has touched the lives of many," Dr. Mila Espina elucidated.

On August 26, the University of San Jose Recoletos will recognize the 75 years of distinction of Mr. Norberto Quisumbing Jr. This wise man's conferment of the citation and diploma - Doctor of Humanities, Honoris Causa - is a very important occasion in his life.

It is true that there will always be a line-up of possible people for the honor, but the choice of Mr. Quisumbing was unanimous. When Dr. Espina revealed this, I was not surprised. Aside from his being active in the business community, he has done numerous works that are worthy of recognition.

At the USJ-R, for instance, thousands of scholars have benefited from the assistance of Mr. Quisumbing. He puts so much attention on PUNLA that aims to develop poor but deserving young people through scholarships. The program is also an opportunity to acquire quality high-school education.

"Most of the scholars graduated with flying colors. I am very glad to hear that many of them graduated with honors. It is very satisfying to understand that they have finished college, too," NQ volunteered. This man of worth used to travel a lot, yet traveling to him is synonymous to working. Most of his travels were connected to business. I was curious of his workaholic lifestyle and of his breathing space. So, I asked him about his usual day as a busy businessman. "I work" he quickly replied. Why so? "I get bored by not doing anything," he concluded with a smile.

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