By:Gil Mallen Jr.
Another first for Letran Calamba happened last November 28, 2014. For the first time in the Colegio’s history, a Solemn Investiture for the Conferment of an Honorary Degree—Doctor of Humanities, Honoris Causa—took place in Letran Calamba. The said honorary degree is given to individuals of the community as a way of honoring the person’s contributions to their specific fields or the society in general. The distinguished honoree is none another than Ambassador Henrietta Tambunting De Villa. She is the former Philippine Ambassador to the Holy See (Vatican) who presently serves as the National Chairperson of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) and National President of the Mother Butler Guild (MBG).
The conferment ceremony started at 5:00pm with the entrance of the processional entourage, which included members of the Colegio’s academic board and board of trustees; Rev. Fr. Gerard Francisco P. Timoner, III, O.P., the Prior Provincial of the Dominican Province of the Philippines; Dr. Emmylou B. Yangga, Region IV-A Director of the Commission on Higher Education; Mr. Vicente de Villa, Jr., the honoree’s husband; Rev. Fr. Honorato C. Castigador, O.P., the Colegio’s Rector and President; and of course Madame De Villa. Venue was the New Fra. Angelico Gymnasium.
After the opening ceremonies, Dr. Ruel V. Maningas, AVP for Academics and Dean of the Graduate School and Professional Services, petitioned for the conferral of the degree. This was followed by the address of concession by the Reverend Father Rector. After this, Dr. Ma. Rhodora G. Odejar, VP for Academics, and Ms. Eloisa Genota, the Colegio’s Registrar, imposed the academic hood; the honoree’s tussle was then moved by Rev. Fr. Castigador from left to right as a sign of conferment of the degree. Finally, after the contents of the diploma were read, the Father Rector and Dr. Yangga awarded the diploma.
In turn, Ambassador De Villa said her address of acceptance, expressing her gratitude for the recognition given to her and leaving challenges for positive change to her now fellow Letranites. Also, as a sign of appreciation to Letran Calamba for the gesture of conferring upon her the Honoris Causa degree, she presented the statue of St. Pedro Calungsod as a token. Ending the program was the recitation of the Dominican Blessing as a prayerful bestowment of blessing to the honoree, singing of the Alma Mater Letran, a serenade from Tining, and a special dinner.
With this new milestone and with the latest addition of a prominent socio-civic and religious personality in the roster of Letran Calamba alumni, the Colegio is sure to soar even higher in its pursuit for academic excellence and betterment of humanity all in the name of Deus, Patria, and Letran!