The UST Alumni Association, Inc. (USTAAI) conferred Dr. Robert C. Sy the honorary title of Chairman Emeritus and launched the Thomasian Alumni Community Foundation, Inc. (TACFI) on March 25, 2022 at the Club Filipino, San Juan. 

Dr. Sy is the Chairman Emeritus 

To start the program, Master of Ceremonies Atty. Dwight Ramos introduced USTAAI Board of Trustees Chairman Mr. Henry S. Tenedero for the opening remarks. Tenedero proudly announced that the Board has unanimously voted for the Dr. Sy’s honorary conferment for his indelible mark in the alumni association. Two of which were the construction of the Thomasian Alumni Center and the institutionalized annual awards night called the Distinguished Thomasian Alumni. He lauded Dr. Sy for always walking the talk and honored the kind of leadership he showed throughout the years.

Before the man-of-the-hour was called up to the stage, UST Law Alumni Foundation, Inc. (UST LAFI) President Emeritus Atty. Jack Castañeda formally introduced Dr. Sy. He also praised the Thomasian doctor as an epitome of excellence and heart for his undeniable skills, intellect, humility and compassion for the poor, and called him a true Thomasian champion. Dr. Sy took the floor with a smile and thanked everyone for supporting all of his projects and engagements.

“I am very, very lucky that I am with the right people… Which is You. You made me,” he said during his acceptance speech. He, then, reminisced about his journey that started way back in 2006 when he became the president-elect of the UST Medical Alumni Association (USTMAA). This position paved his way to the presidency in the mother alumni organization, the UST Alumni Association, Inc. (USTAAI). He made it his mission to take charge of soliciting funds for a floor dedicated only for alumni associations in a to-be-constructed building in the campus. He struck a deal with the then Rector, Rev. Fr. Rolando V. Dela Rosa, O.P., Ph.D., that in every peso he collects, UST will also allot the same amount for the building. From there, Dr. Sy went around the world to solicit funds from different Thomasian alumni communities in countries such as the USA, Canada, and Hong Kong. When he returned home, he got funds for 6 floors. Thus, the Thomasian Alumni Center with 12 floors was born. The building which is also known as BGPOP or the Buenaventura Garcia Paredes, O.P. houses all the alumni associations’ offices, function rooms and venues used in homecomings and other university-wide events. The Grand Ballroom located on the 2nd floor of the building was also named after the Thomasian doctor in honor of his significant contributions. 

Dr. Sy gave his sincerest gratitude for the honorary title and proposed a toast for the launching of the association’s foundation.

TACFI Unveiled

After a quick toast, Atty. Ramos introduced the president of the newly launched project of the association, Engr. Frederick C. Parayno. Also a past president of the USTAAI, Engr. Parayno was invited by Dr. Sy and the current USTAAI president Dr. Evelyn Songco to lead the cause. The Thomasian Alumni Community Foundation, Inc. (TACFI) aims to garner more resources to fund projects and to put stability in the association. Easier said than done, but the new president gladly took the role.

“It’s not hard for me to take the presidency of TACFI, kasi chairman ko si Dr. Sy,” shared Engr. Parayno before he formally launched the program. [It’s not hard for me to take the presidency of TACFI because I have Dr. Sy as my chairman] He invited everyone to participate and hoped for the foundation’s success. Then, the marker of the foundation was unveiled for everyone to see.

Dr. Songco delivered her closing remarks with an inspirational message for her members and officers. She recognized the people around her who continue to journey with USTAAI through thick and thin, not failing to mention that these special people were the only ones invited to join TACFI. 

“Let us all continue to dream for USTAAI. Believe in one another. Weave the beautiful story of our association. Continue to inspire the members of all the alumni of the University of Santo Tomas. Let’s continue to inspire one another. Let our presence reverberate far and wide in the hearts and minds of the Thomasian alumni community. With God’s unending grace, we shall soar high and leave footprints that will guide the next generation of leaders and members of the USTAAI,” said Dr. Songco as she calls on them to collaborate again in their association’s new chapter. Now with a new challenge ahead, she wished everyone good luck and gave them a task of illuminating not only for themselves but for others as well.