More than 2,000 NEU graduates attend 42nd commencement at 55,000-seater PHL Arena
(Eagle News) — “Onwards to Further Victories in Serving Humanity.”
This was the theme of the 42nd commencement exercises of the New Era University held on Tuesday, April 18, at the Philippine Arena where more than 2,000 graduates of its baccaleaureate, masteral and doctoral courses walked up the huge stage of the Philippine Arena.
The 55,000-seater engineering and architectural marvel in the heart of Bocaue, Bulacan was the fitting venue for the occasion.
Excited, expectant and exuberant faces of the graduates, their parents, relatives and friends filled the complex, as well as their teachers, school officials and some local officials.
For almost of the graduates, it was the fulfillment of their life-long dream, as well as that of their parents who first had that vision to see their sons and daughters walk up the stage with a diploma in hand.
“Ngayong hapon pong ito, ay sobrang saya ko po kasi natupad na ang aking pangarap sa buhay — ang makagraduate. Kung anong meron po ako ngayon ay dahil sa awa at tulong ng ating Panginoong Diyos (This afternoon, I am so happy because I fulfilled my life’s dream — to graduate. Whatever I have now is because of God’s mercy and help),” said Zhateau Daraman who graduated with a doctoral degree in bilingual education.
“Habang nag-aaral din po kami, nagwo-working student din po kami. Siyempre, ramdam po namin lahat ng sakripisiyo, hirap, pagod, puyat (While we were studying, we were also working. Of course, we feel all the sacrifices, the difficulties, fatigue, sleeplessness),” said another graduate.
Hard work pays off, says NEU’s successful graduates, parents
Arnold Faigmani, one of the parents of the graduates, recognized the sacrifices and hard work that the successful graduates had to go through just to reach that happy day.
“Nakita rin naman namin yung pursige nila sa kanilang mga pag-aaral, unang-una, salamat din sa Ama na tumulong sa kanila, pati na sa amin (We also saw their effort to strive in their studies. First of all, we thank God Who helped them, and also us),” he said.
Another parent, Maribel Bautista, recalls what she always tells her son who also graduated that day.
“Lagi kong ipinapayo sa kaniya na magpanata. Anuman ang pagsubok na dumating sa kaniya, manalangin ka lang. Kaya mo iyan… Saka yung tungkulin mo, huwag na huwag mong kakalimutan. (We always advise him to have devotional prayers. Whatever trials would come, just pray. You can do it. And your Church duties, never forget them),” Bautista said.
Another graduate, Chester Dave Canedo, who finished Bachelor of Science in Education major in English, recalled the sacrifices of his father, a vegetable vendor, just so that he and his other siblings can get a good education. Because of poverty and his dream to get a good education, Canedo got a scholarship from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).
“Scholar po ako ng CHED at ang father ko po ay isang vegetable vendor. Naglalako po siya ng gulay and proud po ko kami kasi alam ko po kung gaano kahirap yung sakripisyo niya para sa’ming magkakapatid (I am a CHED scholar and my father is a vegetable vendor. He sells vegetables and we are proud because we know how hard his sacrifice was for us, his children),” he said.
“Alam ko po na sobrang hirap mag-trabaho nang ganun. Sobrang babad na babad sa sinag ng araw, plus may mga gastusin sa school, pero awa ng Diyos at sa rami ng mga tumulong naabot ko ‘yong pangarap ko na maging part ako ng graduation and maging Magna Cum Laude (I know, it is very difficult to have that kind of work. You are always under the heat of the sun, and then there are the various school expenses [to think of]. But with God’s mercy and the many people who helped us, I was able to reach my dream to be part of this graduation and to be Magna Cum Laude),” he added.
Indeed, Canedo got one of the highest honors, graduating Magna Cum Laude that day to the delight and pride of his parents and family.
A son of an overseas Filipino worker, Lemuel Joshua Toribio, was this year’s class valedictorian. He graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Electronics Engineering.
Although his father was not able to attend his graduation, Toribio said he knew how his father had to sacrifice a lot so he could finish his studies. And now he is very proud of him.
“The feeling is surreal po, because we were able to graduate na po after five years of intensive study po namin sa Electronics Engineering. Dad po is not here right now with me, but, nakausap ko po siya nung isang araw and he’s very happy naman po sa lahat po ng mga achievements na nakuha ko po ngayon (I was able to talk to him the other day, and he’s very happy about all of the achievements that I got today),” Toribio said.
“It all starts with vision,” says Senator Gordon in keynote speech
Senator Richard Gordon said the sacrifices made by both the parents and their children made the graduation event itself a victory.
The senator, who chairs the Philippine Senate Justice and Human Rights Committee, was the keynote speaker in last Tuesday’s graduation ceremonies.
“It all starts with vision,” Gordon said as he stressed that it was the parents who at the start had that dream to have their children finish school and lead successful lives.
Now the dream is fulfilled, but he stressed that the NEU graduates are just at the beginning of their lives when they should have that will to succeed and become trailblazers in their chosen fields.
“Face the crowd, your parents, and give them a very, very big hand for all their efforts,” he told the NEU graduates.
He encouraged them to become visionaries, who can rise above criticism and challenges.
Senator Gordon extols vision of INC executive minister
One visionary he admired, said Gordon, is the Iglesia Ni Cristo Executive Minister himself, Brother Eduardo V. Manalo.
“Let me give my special greeting to our chief executive minister Ka Eduardo Manalo, a worthy son, a great father, a great grandfather and certainly a visionary if I ever saw one,” Gordon said.
He thanked Ka Eduardo for his vision which not only made the Church of Christ stand out in the world for its magnificent and numerous worship buildings, but also made the Philippines proud because of the Philippine Arena.
“That is why I say that Ka Eduardo is one of the few visionaries of this country. We are in a great arena, one of the biggest in the world, if not the biggest,” he noted.
He likened the Philippine Arena in Bulacan to the Araneta Center in Cubao which was constructed from 1957 to 1959 in the middle of nothing. It was then dubbed as the biggest indoor arena in Asia, a record to be broken later in 2001 by the Oita Stadium in Japan.
So too was the Philippine Arena. It was built in the middle of fields in Bulacan and inaugurated in July 2014, in time for the INC’s Centennial on July 27 that year.
“So when Ka Eduardo dreamt of building this magnificent facility, he is building it like Araneta Coliseum,” Gordon noted.
Amid the risks and discouragement by critics, he said Ka Eduardo built a great edifice that has been dubbed as the world’s largest domed arena, the largest mixed-use indoor theater, and the most amazing earthquake proof structure on earth.
“Can you imagine the risks?” Gordon said of building the Philippine Arena which has a dome over 9,000 square meters.
The roof of the Arena alone spans some 170 meters (560 feet) and contains 9,000 tons of steel work. It is 65 meters (213 ft) in height, or about 15 stories high.
This architectural marvel was also a dream of the late INC Executive Minister, Brother Erano G. Manalo, Ka Eduardo’s father.
Senator Gordon noted how the present INC leader made this dream — this vision — a reality despite the challenges.
“That’s what real life is. When your try to risk…when you have innovation in your mind, be prepared to get criticized,” he said.
But he said a great leader “can withstand all the slings and arrows that will be presented before you, to discourage you.”
“Because they (the Church’s critics) cannot do it themselves, they don’t want other people to do it,” the senator noted.
Gordon noted the Philippine Arena is more than just a great arena.
“It is a statement by the Church, that we are also going to partner in the development of this country,” Gordon observed.
“And Bocaue, look at it today, it is filled with business opportunities,” he said.
With the building of the Philippine Arena, great business opportunities around it are also created, he said.
It is also a way of decongesting Metro Manila as more opportunities are created outside the very congested Philippine capital, Gordon said.
And Manila right now is so crippled by traffic which is hampering economic opportunities, he said.
“Yes, when you look at Manila, it is terribly congested, I didn’t want to be late here, so I took a helicopter. I borrowed a helicopter to be here on time. I don’t want New Era to say Gordon was late because of the traffic. But traffic means loss of revenue, loss of precious hours,” the senator explained.
Senator Gordon urges NEU graduates to be visionaries
Gordon advised the NEU graduates to see the commencement exercises as their way of creating opportunities, and become leaders with a vision who would “care for the vulnerable” and help the country prosper.
“So therefore you should be fillled with great confidence and exhilaration. You were one of those who were fortunate enough to get a great education,” he said.
“Vision, values, volunteerism equals victory,” stressed the senator who once served as the chairman of the Philippine Red Cross, and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA).
He advised the graduates to have a “can do” attitude, to be leaders with “a persona that is not afraid of the challenges”, and of the future, “a persona that will go beyond the borders.”
Care for the vulnerable, not the poor who are lazy, says Gordon
“You should aim high. Make sure that your are earlier by way of a work ethic, as I say in Olongapo: ‘Hindi masama mag-ambisyon pero kailangan bawal ang tamad. Lalong bawal ang tanga’ (It is not bad to have an ambition. But laziness should be banned. And the stupid, more so),” he said.
Gordon also cited the story of Mariano Que, a Filipino-Chinese who was behind the successful chain of Mercury Drug stores.
“And what is his work ethic? As they say in Chinese: Remember that: ‘You don’t work, you don’t eat,'” the senator said.
“Work, Save, Invest and Prosper” was how Que instilled this discipline to his children and his people.
But it is important that NEU graduates should care for the vulnerable, and not the poor who are lazy, Gordon said.
“When you prosper as the theme of this graduation goes, and I repeat and I quote, and it says, ‘New Era University: Onwards to further victories in serving humanity.’ Never forget to care for the vulnerable, not the poor. There are poor who don’t want to help themselves,” he said.
But he said help should be extended to the vulnerable — “those who want to get ahead, and all they need is an extra push from you, to lend a hand, and together, carry the load.”
The members of the population who have a feeling of entitlement, do not also deserve to be helped at all, said Gordon.
“We don’t want you to foster what the politicians have done to our country — a hand-out culture! A feeling of entitlement!,” he said.
What should happen is the all of the Filipinos should carry the load, he stressed.
“Sabay-sabay! (All together!) Like our culture of ‘Bayanihan‘— we carry a house, we go to another place. Not a hand out but all hands carrying the load,” he noted.
“I will win, not for myself, but for my country, but above all my God,” said Gordon, as he told the NEU graduates what they should have as a work ethic.
You make your own fate. You make your own vision. That is your new era,” the senator told the students.
NEU: its growth and expansion
Established on June 17, 1975, the New Era University has its main campus along Central Avenue in Barangay New Era in Diliman, Quezon City. It has since established other branches across the country — in San Fernando City, Pampanga; in Lipa City, Batangas, in General Santos City and soon in Santa Maria, Bulacan.
Its President is Dr. Nilo Rosas, a former Department of Education Undersecretary, former Director of Bureau of Higher Education (now CHED) and former Philippine Normal University (PNU) President.
“Godliness is the foundation of knowledge,” is the NEU’s philosophy of education. Its vision is to be a world-class institution of learning with a unique Christian culture of excellence, discipline, and service to humanity.
It currently has five doctoral programs, namely Doctor of Medicine, Juris Doctor (Doctor of Jurisprudence); Doctor of Education; Doctor of Business Administration; and Doctor of Philosophy in Education with various majors: Early Childhood Education; Educational Leadership; Educational Management; Guidance and Counseling; Instructional Leadership; and Special Education and Inclusive Education.
NEU also offers three post baccalaureate programs: a) Master of Arts in Education, Major in 11 fields namely Early Childhood Education, Educational Management, Educational Psychology, Environmental Education, Filipino, Guidance and Counseling, Language Education, Mathematics Education, Reading Education, Science Education, Social Sciences, Special Education and Inclusive Education; b) Master in Business Administration (Old Program); and c) Master in Business Administration, Major in Human Resource Management, and Organizational Management.
NEU currently offers 24 baccalaureate degrees, as well as distance education programs; Pre-Baccalaureate program such as Diploma in Midwifery (Two Years); Expanded Tertiary Education Equivalency And Accreditation Program (ETEEAP); Alternative Learning Systems (ALS); and K+12 Basic Education (up to Grade 11)
NEU is the legal owner of the Philippine Arena.