Silliman’s outstanding alumni for 2013
FROM THE STANDS - Domini M. Torrevillas (The Philippine Star) - August 29, 2013 - 12:00am

The search for Silliman’s Outstanding Alumni for 2013 yielded a lawyer,  a biosystems engineer,  a social entrepreneur, and a nursing entrepreneur. They received their awards yesterday, at a special program which is one of the highlights  of  Silliman’s 112th foundation anniversary. Their choice has not only dwelt on their accomplishments in their chosen fields but on how well they carried on the Silliman tradition of excellence and loyalty to the university,  and,  most important, their spirituality molded during their years of study at Silliman.

Jeoffre W. Acebido, Law, 1986,  and OSA awardee  in the field of Judicial Service,  has gained a reputation for being a no-nonsense judge.  Trial lawyers who have had professional dealings with him know too well that he does not tolerate tardiness and has no patience for incompetence.  Consequently, his court is considered to be one of the most effectively managed Regional Trial Courts of Misamis Oriental.

Acebido’s well-written court decisions are considered among the best in the Philippines. Noting his competence, effectiveness, and efficiency as a judge, the Supreme Court and the Society for Judicial Excellence conferred upon him the 2011 Chief Justice Cayetano Arellano Award for Judicial Excellence for being an Outstanding Regional Trial Court Judge in the Philippines.

Currently, Acebido is the presiding judge of Branch 41, RTC, of Misamis Oriental.

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The  recipient of the OSA award  in the field of Bisosystems Engineering is  Evangeline Ceriales-Alocilja, who graduated from Silliman in 1973 with a degree in BS Chemistry, cum laude,  then  earned a graduate degree in Soil Chemistry and Plant Physiology from the University of the Philippines, graduate and post-graduate degrees in Systems Science and Electrical Engineering, and a post-doctoral degree in Biosystems Engineering from Michigan State University (MSU).  Currently, she is a full professor at the Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering of MSU.

The OSA information program  highlights Alocilja’s accomplishments. She  was instrumental in helping her department at MSU change the academic curriculum from the traditional agricultural engineering to a biosystems program, one that applies engineering sciences to solve problems involving biological systems. Believing that biosystems has the potential for alleviating the condition of people’s lives, she has researched on the topic and has published her works in reputable journals.  As an innovator, Alcocilja’s invention has singularly been considered “revolutionary in its approach, thoughtful in its design, and a true game-changer as it relates to usefulness in the market.”  The nanoparticle-based testing platform that she initially developed and is now being commercialized by a company called nanoRETE prevents  deaths caused by food-borne pathogens.

Outside her work, Alcocilja helps  international students and their families adjust and succeed in the US.

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The OSA awardee  in the field of Social Entrepreneurship is Aurelito P. Ramos Jr. In spite of  Aurelito’s  family’s unfortunate circumstance, he dreamt of studying at Silliman,  a dream that was realized through the prodding of his English teacher, a Sillimanian graduate.  Aurelito worked  hard, and graduated with a degree in BS Mathematics, cum laude in 1973.  He pursued graduate studies at the Ateneo de Manila University and the University of the Philippines.

He established the Loyola Student Center, which to this day, offers comprehensive tutorials and review.  Not long after, he established the Berea Arts and Sciences High School, which offers a unique curriculum that integrates both the arts and the sciences.  The successes of both ventures have made Ramos not only an academician but an entrepreneur.  However, unlike most entrepreneurs whose eyes are only on  profit, Ramos considers his businesses as avenues that enable him to help others.  Thus he  offers scholarships to deserving students in his school, and  helps  students get scholarships  at Silliman, coursed through the SU Cooperative.

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In the early 1980s, Dely Po-Go, OSA  awardee  in Entrepreneurship in Nursing,  worked  as a staff nurse at St. Anne Medical Center in Cadiz and then as acting supervisor of Chong Hua Hospital Operating Room in Cebu City. In 1986, she moved to the United States.  In a short span of time, she became the assistant director of nursing of Cedar Grove Nursing Home and the resource person of St. Joseph’s Regional Hospital and Medical Center in New Jersey.

In 2000, she responded to the  nursing shortage in the US  by establishing  Nursing Network, Limited Liability Company, a health care services company.  Under  her leadership, the company flourished and was able to hire a number of health care employees.  Her contribution did not go unnoticed as two years after she began her company was given  the Philippine Nurses Association of New Jersey Nurse Entrepreneur of the Year.

 In 2007, she was selected  by the New Jersey Board of Nursing, Department of Education, and Department of Labor and Workforce to open the American Vocational Technology (AVTECH) and Allied Health, a school that aims to give students an opportunity to become part of the nursing profession.

Two years after, Dely and her friends opened Bridges to Success, a nonprofit ambulatory care services and food pantry for the poor and the needy.

Dely  graduated from Silliman with a degree in nursing in 1978.  She holds a master of science in nursing (summa cum laude) and a Doctor of Nursing Practice (summa cum laude) degrees from Fairleigh Dickinson University.

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For several years now, I’ve been attending the SU High School Class of 1950 reunion, not because I’m a member of that class, but because of my happy associations with some of the members. Last Monday’s reunion was held as usual in the grounds of the Dumaguete City  residence of Julio Sy Sr. and his irrepressible  wife Aning.  Of the original 356 class members, 19 came; a good number have passed away, among them Neg. Or. Governor Dodong Macias.  Stories were told of the pranks of naughty boys, and  who were the belles like Virginia Pinpin Elbinias,  Emma Pinpin Riego,  and Esther Magdamo Amante.

The class produced good  medical doctors who not just rendered  medical services, but free services to indigents  â€“ Araceli Bokingkito Abella,  Betty Parrenas-Flores, Tony Remoto, and Sevillano Kho.

Manuel Almagro, a renowned architect who  has done a good many  admired edifices in Washington D.C., related how much the class has done. Julio Sy, the quiet boy,  has been  sharing his good,  well-earned fortune,  among them, having  an electronic room class, complete with computers  installed in the present high school building,  financing the building of a  P25-million grandstand, and  sending the Campus Choristers to the US.

Another generous giver, Tony  Uypitching, who came with his wife Karen, was in a wheelchair, and sang love songs with gusto.  Emigdio Dakanay did remarkable electrical works for projects on the campus.   

Coming all the way from Michigan was Wayne Chang,  who brought along  his wife, Adoring, a medical doctor,  and good friends from Michigan, Dr. Lalo and Lilly Javier.  

 Norjic Tenorio recalled happy hours; he brought his biggest accomplishment — his being married to Lutz Mendiola Tenorio, one the most outstanding nursing educators in the US.

Other members were Catalino Yaptengco, Franklin Hernando, Felicima Rendal-Dornsife, Eulogia Tabuay Liboon, Lourdes Grapa, and Lolita Fontelo-Yrad.

The evening ended with some dancing and singing, and the promise to return to next year’s reunion.

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