Silliman honors
FROM THE STANDS - Domini M. Torrevillas () - August 30, 2008 - 12:00am

DUMAGUETE CITY — Silliman’s 107th Founders Day celebration came to a close the other day with a “tipon-tipon” at the quadrangle ‑ where reunited classmates of long ago kissed and hugged, alumni chapters were recognized for their programs, and the stout-hearted and still-able, danced. It’s not far-fetched to suspect that happiest among the celebrators is the university president, Ben S. Malayang, who in the two years of his appointment, with the help of the Silliman community, is seeing the realization of the “vision and mission” he first set out for the first university. Today, there are more enriched programs, more buildings, and happier relationships among the faculty, union and students. I expect more changes taking place in the coming days.

Happy too are the Oustanding Sillimanian Awardees (OSA) for 2008, whose excellent work in their endeavors were recognized. These are Francisco Beltran, for specialized ministry; Efren Bede A. Cordura Sr., for package engineering; Ester Ponce de Leon Timbancaya Elphick, for education; Marjorie M. Evasco, creative writing; Alfredo F. Tadiar, law; and Romulo G. Villanueva, community health service. With the exception of Attorney Tadiar and Ms. Evasco, the awardees live and work in the United States.

At the OSA awards program, the recipients expressed gratitude for mentors and values they learned while students in the university. The university also recognized lasting “influences” on the lives of students such as that of the late American instructor Metta Silliman. Very touching is the establishing in 2007 of The Heritage Builders tradition — in dedication to the “iconic and pioneering spirit” of founders David and Laura Hibbard. Heritage honors “the memory of those Sillimanians — outstanding all of them in their own small or big ways — who have passed on to the glory of God’s home, but whose lives have nevertheless touched many of us.” This year’s honors go to Evangelina N. Bokingo, Raymundo R. Dato, Severina S. Dionio, Charles A. and Henrietta H. Glunz, Natividad C. Ongcog, Venancio B. Rendal, Gil R. Severino Sr., and Abraham R. Villamac.

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The international symposium in nursing, sponsored by the Silliman University College of Nursing classes of 1958 and 1968 was a great success. A good many of these classes’ members came, most of them from the US, and nursing and other health professionals attended the two-day symposium whose course content is possibly the first of its kind in the country.

The symposium keynote speaker, Jean Yan, Class 1968, is currently chief nurse scientist of nursing and midwifery at the World Health Organization headquarters in Geneva. She was a presenter on the topic, “Innovative Leadership and Policy for Better Health,” which held the attention of more than 300 participants. Jean, after all, has received many awards for her role in innovative and leadership policy.

Among her accomplishments for which she is well known among health practitioners is her having introduced a “management migration” program which is being adopted in most of the 16 Caribbean countries. In addition, she worked out a program that institutionalizes the free movement of health professionals within the Caribbean countries.

An OSA herself, Dr. Luz Sobong Porter, Class 1958, symposium resource person, said that the symposium was a success as it met its objective, which was “primarily to invite Silliman nursing alumni who are abroad to come and share their experience, and to keep the students and nurses here on the path of current trends and issues in nursing education, research, and health care development.” Porter, the first Filipina to earn a doctorate degree in nursing, is director of the PhD nursing program at Florida International University in Miami. She graduated magna cum laude at UCLA for her MSN and benemeritus for the PhD at New York University.

The symposium was a big success on account of the work of the executive committee members Ethel Sucgang Apuzen, Dinah Penaflorida, Fely Macion Gonzales, Becky Ganaban, Abigail Evarretta Maco, and Evangeline Ho Kho. I can’t put out all the names of alumni who helped put the program together, but I will be remiss if I don’t mention SUCA dean Maria Teresita Sy-Sinda and Elsie Utzurrum-Tan.

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One of the buildings turned over to the university during the Founders Day celebration is the coffee shop between Silliman Hall and the administration building, which is a donation of High School Class of 1950. The class, led by tycoon Julio O. Sy Sr., who is a Silliman trustee, has been making substantial contributions to the university. Meeting every year during Founders Day in the residence of Julio and his wife Aning, the active members are the famous architect Manuel Almagro (who designed the coffee shop structure and redesigned other buildings on the campus), Saetin Uy, Ebnigdio Dacanay, Gov. Dodo Macias, Tony Ramas Uypitaching, Norgio Tenorio and Estela Romero.

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 Fred Tadiar’s being the 2008 Outstanding Sillimanian Award (OSA) recipient for law was good enough reason for his older sisters to travel long distances to be able to attend the awards program held Thursday at the Luce Auditorium. I met them at the Dumaguete home of Dr. Puring Florendo, 88, who is a resident of Baltimore, Maryland. Puring brought with her a 10” bronze statuette of Lady Justice which she had bought in Baltimore in June, when she learned of Fred’s award. At the dinner was Manang Josefa (Asperilla), 93, who moves about slowly, but surely, and without help as she goes up and down the stairs in her home in Manila “many times a day.” Fred’s other sister, Vicenta (Flores), 85, came up from Malaybalay, Bukidnon, with her son, Mayor Florencio Flores.

Fred’s own family came for the rites — wife Florence, and their children, Metro Home and Metro Him editor Carlo, architect and gourmand Isha and artist Thea and her two daughters. Florence’s sister Josie came with husband Leo from Bacolod.

As if Fred’s credentials as “father of alternative dispute resolution in the Philippines,” peace advocate and supporter of reproductive health and rights were not enough, Fred has earned more credits — with his recent election to the board of advisers of the International Development Law Organization, an assembly of 18 nations interested in strengthening the rule of law and improving the governance of developing countries and emerging economies, and a member of the “green” international court of justice.

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Dr. Puring Florendo and her late husband, Dr. Fred, had served at the Silliman Mission Hospital for many years. Puring is, in fact, the first, if not one of the first family planning practitioners in the country, teaching family planning methods as early as in the ’50s, not only in Dumaguete, but also in sugar plantations in Negros. She had been sent by international health organizations for training and conferences in New York and Singapore.

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Also at the dinner held in Dr. Florendo’s home in Dumaguete were nephew Val Rabor and wife Bulelang. I had written about Val’s father, the late scientist Dioscoro Rabor, two weeks ago, as the “father of conservation” in this country. The other day, Nenita Pareno Tayko, Silliman College of Nursing alumna and now head of Foundation College’s school of nursing, told me that since my column came out, there has been an interest among alumni to request Silliman president Malayang and the board of trustees to name the science building after Dr. Rabor. This will be the best act of recognition the university can give this unsurpassed ornithologist who devoted much of his professional life to making Silliman’s science department one of the country’s best.

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