University of Philippines Manila

UPM Chancellor Reflects on Life Lessons and Inspires Graduates, Attendees in 114th UP Manila Recognition Ceremony

“My dear graduates, what gives meaning to all my efforts…is the FULFILLMENT OF MY GRAND DESIGN—THAT IS, TO BE OF SERVICE TO THE NATION, and I thank UP for giving me the environment to grow and become a better leader.”

Thus conclusively declared Dr. Carmencita D. Padilla, professor and chancellor of the University of the Philippines Manila (UPM), during her commencement speech delivered at the 114th UPM Recognition Ceremony held on August 7, 2023 at the Philippine International Convention Center. With the lifting of most of the COVID-19 restrictions, this graduation was an on-site affair. The graduates were allowed to bring two family members to the commencement.

In the beginning of her speech, the Chancellor stated her hopes that the graduates’ stay in UPM has strengthened their resolve to positively face new challenges outside the walls of their school, with the end goal of serving their country. She affirmed the leadership lessons UP has taught her, saying that the graduates may not realize it until much later in their life and careers. “I was a very shy student in my elementary and high school days; my parents were very strict. It

was UP that took me out of my ‘shell of shyness’ through participation in student organizations.”

The Chancellor dwelled on three major detours of her life: her shift to genetics, her experiences in the legislation of laws, and her establishment of the Philippine Genome Center. During these detours, she learned ten lessons which she imparted as words of wisdom to the graduates:

  • “Small ideas can lead to grand things; small ideas are like seeds–they must be nurtured to grow.”
  • “Share your vision; collaborate. It is very lonely to do things alone. Never do things alone.”
  • “Explore. Accept. Embrace. Do not let your inadequacies and inexperience paralyze you. Be open to explore new things. Accept challenges given to you, and when you accept these, you have to embrace them.”
  • “Mentors will help you discover your potential. Listen. You will eventually realize that you have mentors in your ladder of professional growth. Listen and be open.”
  • “Start with good ideas. Good ideas will attract funding.”
  • “Challenges and frustrations are part of the ladder of success. Setbacks are reminders that we are not perfect; setbacks teach us to be humble.”
  • “Be an optimist. Trust that even the failures, delays, and setbacks are opportunities for us, and our labors are not in vain.”
  • “Enjoy life. Keep in mind that work-life balance will definitely contribute to your mental health.”
  • “Keep your values intact. Keeping a moral compass is very important for sanity. That is the true essence of being an Isko and Iskamay talino, galing, at puso. May your moral compass be always directed towards positively affecting the lives of the Filipino people.”
  • “Pray. I surrendered certain decisions to His will, knowing that He is always working things for our good. You will eventually receive an answer to your prayer–maybe not how you hoped for them to be answered, but definitely an answer that is best for you.”

    The 114th UPM Commencement Ceremony is one of the highlights of Chancellor Padilla’s 9th year at the helm of UP Manila as she will be completing her third term this October 2023

    I Martin R. Racza

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