April 20, 2021 (5:57 PM)

5 min read


GRADUATING ONLINE. Graduates expressed their dismay at the first virtual commencement exercises of the Ateneo de Davao University for the Classes of 2020 and 2021, as others’ photos were missing, names were misspelled or unannounced, and academic awards weren’t recognized. Graphic by Jeni Anne Rosario

The first virtual commencement exercises of the Ateneo de Davao University for the Classes of 2020 and 2021 was met with mixed reactions from the Ateneo community, following some technical difficulties during the livestream on the AdDU Facebook page Saturday.

While the program ran smoothly with the respective speeches from administrators and awardees, some graduates and parents expressed disappointment when pictures of other graduates were not shown in the slideshow during the calling of graduates.

The calling of graduates is akin to the awarding of diplomas in a face-to-face setup.

Spectators observed that some latin honors were not announced alongside the names of the graduates, while other graduates seem to have been skipped and called late. 

Allen Clark Esparrago, BS Finance graduate from the Class of 2020, told Atenews how he felt “hurt, frustrated, disappointed and embarrassed” when he was not included in the calling of graduates.

“During the roll call of graduates per school especially in the School of Arts and Sciences, some graduates were skipped, some names were misspelled, some distinctions were not written properly, some graduates do not have their respective grad photos which I assume they could just have asked copies from KALASAG,” he said.

Esparrago noted how BS Finance graduates with surnames starting with the letters C to N were skipped and later on inserted after the presentation of graduates from the School of Engineering and Architecture (SEA).

“However, after the ‘skipped’ Finance graduates were inserted, my part was entirely forgotten. I even reviewed the FB stream after that event if only I have missed it but there is still none,” he said.

Meanwhile, AB Interdisciplinary Studies – Minor in Media and Technology graduate and Magna Cum Laude from Class 2021 Francis Arrocena pointed out how his entire class did not get to have their pictures and distinctions flashed on screen.

Arrocena called the experience ‘a total mess’ when their parents were already expectant about seeing their children’s pictures on the livestream.

“It’s saddening and frustrating given that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and for sure they could have prepared better to make it right,” he said.

“I thought at least it would be decent enough to not have any major mistakes or technical errors given that we paid 1350php as ‘graduation fee’ despite its reasons being very questionable,” he added.

Thea Faye Lois Garcia, another AB IDS-MT graduate and Magna Cum Laude from Class 2021, concurred with Arrocena. However, she also commended the University’s initiative to hold a virtual graduation.

“A virtual graduation is completely different from the usual but since we were all prioritizing our own safety during these times, it was the best move to make,” she said.

“I hope they take into consideration na kahit na virtual, we only get to graduate from college once. So I hope they really try their best to include every single one of the students na nasa list to be included din sa presentation. Since we can’t really “march” and get our diploma on stage, that’s the closest thing we got,” she added.

According to Esparrago, the organizers reassured those graduates who encountered technical errors that they will “evaluate why it happened and consider making corrections” on the copy they will be providing to the graduates.

Atenews tried to reach out to AdDU’s Institutional Communications and Promotions (iCOMMP) Office but was declined an interview.

A total of 1,273 students graduated from the classes of 2020 and 2021. 293 of these hail from the School of Arts and Sciences, 478 from the School of Business & Governance, 31 from the School of Nursing, 452 from the School of Engineering & Architecture, and 19 from the School of Education.

Rosvir Kate Flores, Magna Cum Laude from BS Education Major in English was conferred Class 2020 Valedictorian, Leadership Awardee, and School of Education Awardee. Meanwhile, BS Accountancy Summa Cum Laude Dea Gabrielle Manunod finished as class Salutatorian and Amiel Jay Lopez, a graduate of BS Education Major in Biological Science, received the Jesuit Mission Award.

School Awardees for the Class of 2020 includes Riejoy Babao for Humanities and Letters, Alexandra Balao for the School of Nursing, Amir Jann Castaneda for SEA, Junius Junsay for Accountancy, VJ Mendoza for Social Sciences, Liezel Pogoy for Business and Management, and Adrheinelle Taghoy for Computer Studies.

Four graduates from AB Psychology were awarded the Graduation Awards for Class 2021 with Harvey Spence Kentilitisca as class Valedictorian, Sofia Valenzuela as class Salutatorian, Rodole John Redondo as Leadership Awardee, and Francis Paolo Sareno as School Awardee for Social Sciences. Princess Shyne Pena from BS Chemical Engineering bagged the School Award for the School of Engineering & Architecture.

The University Awards for 2020 were also honored during the virtual graduation. The Bishop Clovis Thibault Award was granted to Fr. Pierre Samson, PME; the Fr. Theodore Daigler, SJ Award for Mindanao Culture and Arts to Mr. Joey Ayala; and the Drs. Jes and Trining De La Paz Award to Lake Sebu Indigenous Women Weavers Association, Inc. (LASIWWAI).

End the silence of the gagged!

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