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In a monumental event last May 14, 2016, UST witnessed the very first general assembly of all its Thomasian Alumni Associations, Groups and Chapters at the Chairman George S.K. Ty Hall, at the 4th Floor of the recently erected Thomasian Alumni Center also known as the Buenaventura G. Paredes, O.P. Building inside the university campus. On top of the preparations for the said assembly was the Office of Alumni Relations headed by Director Fides Maria Lourdes F. Carlos and Assistant Director Maria Cherry G. Tanodra. With a fierce determination to bring forth unity within the Thomasian Alumni Community, the assembly aimed to acquaint and connect representatives of each association, chapter and group together in one place so as to strengthen the bonds that the Thomasian Alumni have with their alma mater.

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Asst. Dir. Cherry Tanodra who was the master of ceremonies, assembled the attendees in a prayer led by Rev. Fr. Enrique Thadeu Balongag which was followed by a warm speech of welcome from Dir. Fides Carlos. Among the key speakers of the event was Fr. Jose Antonio E. Aureada, O.P., current regent of the UST Graduate School, who gave an enchanting talk about the ‘Thomasian Alumni Permeating the Global Society with their Thomasian Identity’. During his talk, he was also able to promote his newly published book titled “An Angelic Mind in a Human Face, St. Thomas Aquinas: His Life in Visuals” which a number of the present alumni ordered for personal copies.

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The next key speaker to take the podium was Assoc. Prof.  Joehanna K. Ngo, current Director of the UST Quality  Management Office, who kindly updated our Thomasian  Alumni leaders about the Accreditation Status of UST and  explained the different the process of accreditation and  enlightened the alumni participants how these can benefit  each association, chapter and group’s causes. And to encourage the gathered alumni  of the many areas of collaboration of the Thomasian Alumni Association, Asst. Prof. Mark Anthony D. Abenir, D.S.D., current Director of the UST Simbahayan and Community Development Office, discussed about the “Simbahayan Approach to Moral & Social Transformation” and the many activities and endeavors of the said office that the Thomasian Alumni Chapters and Groups can participate in. Following Asst. Prof. Abenir’s talk was a response given by Dr. Rollo Milante,  on behalf of the Thomasian Alumni Chapters about the many activities they have in store for the Thomasian Alumni in the provincial areas and other sectors of Philippine society in relation to the previous discussion thus ending the morning program.

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The afternoon program mostly focused on helping the numerous associations, chapters and groups in terms of financial management, BIR and SEC Registrations as well as setting their very own Mission and Vision Statements. A representative from Security Bank took the lead in discussing financial management and how the different associations, chapters and groups can manage their finances in relation to their activities and other projects for the alumni. The BIR Registration and SEC Application discussions were led by a Faculty of Civil Law alumna, Atty. Eufrocina M. Sacdalan-Casasola, who was also a retired Assistant Commissioner of the Bureau of Internal Revenue. Atty. Casasola gave a very informative discussion on some of the requirements and procedures needed to register groups as well as their corresponding taxation, rebates and other aspects.

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Engr. Charlie Marquez, Director for Planning and Development of the University of Santo Tomas and a faculty member of the Department of Industrial Engineering and UST Graduate School, led the discussion on how the different Thomasian Alumni leaders can set and write their Mission and Vision Statements in relation to the existing University Mission and Vision Statement. He discussed the fundamentals of writing a mission and vision and the ideas needed to take into consideration when writing one. After his short and quick discussion, Engr. Frederick C. Parayno, President of the Thomasian Alumni Association Inc. gave a short response on behalf of the said association to the challenge posed by Engr. Marquez when asked if the attendees would be able to accomplish writing their own missions and visions by the end of the assembly. Of course, the esteemed Association President is humbly confident that the different leaders present will be able to rise to the challenge. The alumni leaders were then grouped accordingly and started to work on constructing their own mission and vision statements leading to a fun bonding experience in having to meet new people but co-Thomasian Alumni.

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And what better way to conclude an assembly other then a mass led by the current UST Rector, Rev. Fr. Richard G. Ang as led the assembly’s participants through a Rite of Commissioning where they were presented with candles symbolizing the light that is Jesus and the key that is their responsibility to use in opening the doors of the University for all the willing Thomasian Alumni around the globe. Each key speaker were also presented with certificates of appreciation right after their turn on the podium during the assembly.

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