Department of Chemical Engineering Celebrates First Face-to-Face Testimonial Program in the New Normal

Written by: Asst. Prof. Rhebner E. Arocena
Edited by: Asst. Prof. Marilyn C. del Barrio

Amidst the evolving landscape of the “new normal,” the Department of Chemical Engineering (DChE) at the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) convened its first face-to-face testimonial program (post-pandemic) on August 4, 2023 at CEAT Lecture Hall. The department gave recognition to 73 Bachelor of Science (BS) graduates, 4 Master of Science (MS) graduates, and 62 new passers of November 2022 and May 2023 licensure examinations, infusing the gathering with a blend of inspiration and an optimistic outlook towards the future.

As an opening remarks, Dr. Monet Concepcion M. Detras, Chair of DChE, recognized the hardwork, perseverance and dedication of the graduates and board passers to succeed in their chemical engineering endeavors. She then introduced the commitment of the department in achieving international recognition through ABET accreditation; and its new academic initiatives, including the MS Chemical Engineering and PhD by research programs, which are being offered in collaboration with ERDT-DOST which provides scholarship for those who want to purse advanced studies. She also expressed her gratitude to the faculty for their valuable contributions and compassion towards students, and encouraged the graduates to pursue lifelong learning and success with honor and excellence.

Though not able to physically attend the program, Dean Rossana Marie C. Amongo gave her welcome message and heartfelt congratulations to the graduates, at the same time recognizing the pivotal role parents and faculty played in their journey. She expressed immense pride in the graduates’ achievements and emphasized that DChE is a center of development that fosters values essential for national progress.

A motivational address by Engr. Francis Luther C. Icao, Senior Business Manager & Head for Hydropower Development for Alsons Power Group of  Alsons Energy Development Corp., provided some insightful life lessons. Engr. Icao advised the graduates to always operate with gratitude, be limitless in their aspirations, consistently practice hard work, and focus their energy effectively, quoting Ephesians 3:20 saying that God is able to do more than one could ever do or imagine. He stressed the importance of measuring progress and celebrating small wins to lead fulfilling and successful lives.

Dr. Myra G. Borines. a distinguished Professor of the department and Director of the UPLB Quality Assurance Office, also delivered an inspirational message, where she emphasized the significance of parental and faculty support in the graduates’ accomplishments. She reiterated the importance of the saying, “A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking because its trust is not on the branch but on its wings.” She also reminded the graduates that they were not just trained for mastery but for breadth of knowledge, strength of mind and generosity. Along with it, she highlighted the department’s positive impact on stakeholders and urged the graduates to carry the honor and excellence upheld by UP graduates in their future endeavors.

The  recognition of the graduates and licensure exam passers was led by Dr. Detras. After which, an induction ceremony for their oath taking as new members of the Department of Chemical Engineering Alumni Association was initiated by Dr. Michael Vincent O. Laurio, who also encouraged them to strive for excellence at the same time upholding the honor of the department while serving God, country, and people.

The ceremony proceeded with a touching valedictory address from Ms. Kyla Czarina Q. Cello, magna cum laude. Even though she had self-doubts and insecurities during her college journey, she was still able to achieve success thanks to the immense support from her professors and her loved ones. She highlighted that despite the never ending saga that makes someone forget where they are at the moment, they should never lose sight of the things they most value in life.

Finally, Prof. Emeritus Jovita L. Movillon delivered her closing remarks and synthesis of the program, congratulating the graduates and reminding them that their education had equipped them with wings to soar, pushing those who are yet to take the licensure exam to claim that they can pass it. She also encouraged them to always find truth in their pursuits and not be anxious about the future, to not stray from the right path – knowing that they possess the strength of mind, character, and versatility. She stressed that they are still young to solve the enormous problem of the world but encouraged them to give their positive contribution to the country. It does not matter if they did not receive Latin honors, as long as they live their lives with honor, using their education and technical prowess.

With their testimonial event marking a significant milestone, the graduates of the Department of Chemical Engineering at UPLB are ready to face the world, armed with knowledge, values, and determination to make a difference. As they leave the university and embark on their individual journey, they carry with them the spirit of honor and excellence, making the DChE community already proud of their achievements.