Former UP President and a business leader, Alfredo E. Pascual, was awarded the honorary Doctor of Laws at the University of the Philippines Manila’s first virtual 111th Commencement Exercises, which was held on Sunday, September 6, 2020, at 10:00 a.m., with replay available on the UP Manila Commencement YouTube channel.
Mr. Pascual congratulated the more than 800 members of UP Manila Class of 2020 on their historic achievement, as well as the faculty, staff and administrators of UP Manila for their quick and decisive actions to help the country battle the COVID-19 pandemic.
He noted that, even before the pandemic, the rapid technological changes brought about by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, or FIRe for short, have brought about disruptions in society, work and labor, and the economy at an unprecedented scale, scope and speed. “We now live in a VUCA world, meaning volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. This kind of environment is a challenge for many but you, our young graduates can cope. I know you can. You have time on your side, and ability to adapt yourselves to the emerging changes. More importantly, you have the opportunity to become active players in rebuilding our country post-COVID,” he said.
He also compared the UP sablay to the fabric of Filipino society, woven from people’s aspirations, struggles and victories. He exhorted the UP graduates to live a life of service to the country by taking on leadership roles in their chosen fields and weaving meaningful change and transformation. To become good leaders, he added, UP graduates must have humility, integrity, courage, agility, and resilience.
“As I have said before, we from UP must succeed not because we have a reputation to keep but because we have a country to serve,” he finished with the words were his well-known call during his administration as UP President.
Mr. Pascual served as the 20th president of the University of the Philippines from 2011-2017, distinguishing his term with a range of impactful initiatives and reforms that earned him a special citation from the Board of Regents.
His strategic vision of ONE UP unified the UP System with its eight constituent universities (CUs) across 17 campuses nationwide.
Facilities and infrastructure were significantly improved with the addition of over 100 new buildings and structures, plus 50 major renovations in various campuses. Investments also went to modernizing equipment in the UP Manila-Philippine General Hospital, the Philippine Genome Center, and the UP Manila-National Institutes of Health building. Funds were also allocated for the rehabilitation of facilities for the performing arts and creative works in different campuses.
He also sought to internationalize the University, subjecting its systems and curricular programs to international evaluations. By the end of his term, UP entered the Times Higher Education list as one of the top research universities in Asia. The University has since continued to rise in this and other global rankings of educational institutions.
His administration’s focus on serving the country has meant enhanced public service capabilities through a University public service office, the internet-based TVUP, and the UP Resilience Institute. His Green UP movement has resulted in improved environmental sustainability.
Mr. Pascual earned his BS Chemistry degree, cum laude, and his MBA in UP. He has since worked as an international development banker, corporate governance advocate and management educator.
He is currently involved with the Technical Advisory Group on Climate Change and the Environment in the Western Pacific Region of the World Health Organization, and with the Armed Forces of the Philippines Multi-Sector Governance Council, to name a few. He is also an Independent Director of Concepcion Industrial Corporation.
Mr. Pascual received the honorary degree from the UP Board of Regents upon the recommendation of the President of UP and Committee on Honorary Degrees.