Thai alumnus speaks on the importance of a strong int’l alumni network

A discussion focusing on UPLB’s international alumni on Oct. 7 sealed the five-part webinar series that was held in celebration of the 2020 Loyalty Day.

The webinar featured Dr. Weerapon Thongma, 2019 UPLB Outstanding Alumnus and a faculty-administrator at Maejo University, Thailand, who talked about sustaining the alliance between UPLB and its international alumni.

Dr. Thongma, who earned his PhD Extension from UPLB, highlighted the growth of the UPLB Alumni Association of Thailand, which he currently leads as its president, noting that its membership has expanded to over 200.

He stressed the importance of strong and open lines of communication between UPLB and its international alumni. This connection, he said, begins with engagement to its international students while they are still enrolled in the university, and this shall be maintained even after they graduated and became alumni.

Dr. Thongma advocated for personalized communication of UPLB to the alumni, such as giving them updates about the university. Engaging the alumni on the university’s projects and programs, he said, will encourage the former to give back to the university.

“If they (the alumni) are part of the planning, they will be the ones to see the need for funding or other items, and they, especially the older alumni, will donate the funding voluntarily,” Dr. Thongma stressed.

He also offered his vision for UPLBAA-Thailand, which was to develop each member into “professional in globalizing agriculture and society innovation network” – a vision which webinar reactor Dr. Maria Corazon “Kuku” Lopez of the Development Academy of the Philippines cast into a comprehensive framework for operationalization.

Like Dr. Thongma, Dr. Lopez is also a graduate of the College of Public Affairs and Development (CPAf), where they were both previously awarded as outstanding college alumni.

Dr. Lopez identified the vision’s outcomes based on values as a “unified group of professionals who are leaders producing brilliant ideas towards relevant and responsive actions supported by the alumni association to achieve transformation.”

She also praised Dr. Thongma for his idea of “engaging the alumni before they become alumni” and cited studies that highlighted the importance of alumni relations in building one’s social identity and sense of belonging to a group.

Gracing the webinar was Dr. Jose V. Camacho Jr., dean of the Graduate School and incoming chancellor of UPLB, who assured support for stronger alumni relations with UPLB’s international and graduate alumni.

Joining Dr. Camacho was Rolando Bello, dean of CPAf and incoming vice chancellor for administration, who hosted the webinar that was organized by his college. The webinar was livestreamed on Zoom and YouTube.

The Loyalty Day webinar series, which ran from Sept. 23 to Oct. 7, talked about UPLB’s accomplishments; the experiences of a past national agriculture program; the bond of the university and its local alumni; and the possible partnership among UPLB, the Department of Agriculture, and the alumni. (Albert Geoffred B. Peralta)


Outstanding UPLB alumni recognized at virtual Loyalty Day awarding ceremony

Attendees in the 102nd UPLB Loyalty Day Recognition Program for Outstanding Alumni may have missed the warmth of handshakes and embraces that symbolize felicitations and gratitude among fellow alumni. But with it being held virtually and streamed via Facebook and YouTube, more UPLB alumni in various time zones and places were able to root for their former classmates and peers as they received their trophies.

More than  80 alumni were honored under different awards categories at this year’s Loyalty Day, which was held entirely online in conjunction with the limitations imposed by the on-going COVID-19 pandemic.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar, (PhD Horticulture ’80), led the awardees as the recipient of the UPLB Alumni Association (UPLBAA) Presidential Award.

“This award holds a special meaning for me, as it comes from an institution that helped mold me into a public servant that I am today, one who strives to live by the example of excellent, faithful, honorable servant leadership,” Dr. Dar said in his message of acceptance.

He went on to say how the recognition has imbued him with a greater sense of purpose as he leads the country’s agriculture sector in its new strategies to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on food production and distribution systems.

Meanwhile, eight were recognized as The Outstanding UPLB Alumni Awardees (TOUAA). They were Fabian G. Espiritu (BSA ’59), for agribusiness and food processing; Dr. Manuel L. Logroño, (MS Agro ’84), for innovative management and social entrepreneurship; and Hon. Isidro T. Ungab (BSAECO ’83), for public sector governance.

Also hailed as TOUAA were Roel Z. Castro (BSAB ’88), for corporate governance; Engr. Romeo E. Capuno, Jr.  (BSChE ’95), for global corporate management; Dr. Juan M. Pulhin (BSF ’81, MSF ’87), for exemplary accomplishments in forestry and forest governance; and Atty. Rommel A. Gecolea (MPAf 2013), for good governance and public service.

The eighth TOUAA was Ambassador Bernardita L. Catalla (BACA ’79), who was recognized posthumously for her contributions in foreign service and diplomatic relations.

Meanwhile, seven were named as Outstanding Golden Jubilarians from Class 1970 for their outstanding professional achievements.

They were entrepreneurs and business executives  Dr. Isaias G. Lumanta Jr. (BSA); UP Regent Francis C. Laurel (BSA); Capt. Mauro W. Barradas (BSA); and Nilo A. FlorCruz (BSAgChem); and public service and international development leaders Dr. Ida F. Dalmacio (BSA, MS Plant Path ’72); Dr. Cristino M. Collado (BSA); and Dr. Teresa H. Stuart Guida (BSHT, MS DC ’79, PhD DC ’85).

This year’s Nelia Gonzalez Alumni Service Awardee was Dr. Florendo C. Quebral (BSA ’55, MS Plant Path ’63).

Outstanding Golden Jubilarians Capt. Barradas and Regent Laurel, as well as Crisanto S. Gualberto II (BSA ’62) were given Special Awards for spearheading the annual Prelude to Loyalty Day festivity since 2001, except this year because of the pandemic.

The ceremony also recognized 46 College Distinguished Alumni awardees across 10 colleges and school alumni associations. They were from the College of Agriculture and Food Science, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Development Communication, College of Economics and Management, College of Engineering and Agro-Industrial Technology, College of Forestry and Natural Resources, College of Human Ecology, College of Public Affairs and Development, College of Veterinary Medicine, and the School of Environmental Science and Management.

The Aguiero-Panopio Family with 5 UPLB alumni among them; Catahan Family with 7; Lawas Family with 4; Platon Family with 6; Robles-Sundo Family with 5; and Laurel Family with 4 were given the Multi-Generation UPLB Alumni recognition for producing at least three generations of UPLB graduates in their families.

In his inspirational message, Chancellor Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr. expressed his appreciation for the generosity that the alumni have demonstrated to UPLB and called upon them for their continued support amidst the changes and challenges of the new normal.

“As we face fresh and more complex challenges of the new normal, I would like to stress the need for mutual assistance and support. I am confident that just as we have done in the past, we will overcome these challenges given the history of respect and commitment to public service we have consistently shared,” Chancellor Sanchez ended. (Jessa Jael S. Arana)