From ‘alkansiya’ to social justice: Dr. Siason’s charge to WVSU grads

As the graduates of West Visayas State University (WVSU) gathered at the WVSU Cultural Center on Thursday, June 6, they were met with not just the pomp and circumstance of their commencement exercises but also powerful words from a distinguished alumnus, Dr. Nordy D. Siason, Jr.

The ISUFST president, known for his journey from a simple barrio to a leading educational figure, delivered a 30-minute commencement speech that resonated deeply with the class of 2024, emphasizing the profound impact of “alkansiya” and “Scholarship for Service.”

Dr. Siason, who began his storied academic and professional journey at WVSU, has made significant strides in education.

He marked his tenure with achievements like a 100% Certificate of Program Compliance for all programs at ISUFST and elevating the school to university status. His personal and professional narratives blend into a tapestry of resilience and commitment, characteristics he aimed to instill in the new graduates.

The theme of his speech, “alkansiya,” metaphorically represented the value of saving and passing on knowledge and experiences.

Drawing on personal anecdotes from his youth and his rise through academic and professional ranks, Dr. Siason spoke candidly about the importance of character and competence.

He argued that in the real world, “knowledge is useless, even dangerous if not coupled with virtues.”

“Life has taught me that the true wealth of education is not measured by the money it brings, but by the lives it changes,” Dr. Siason said, emphasizing the transformative power of education.

He challenged the graduates to apply their knowledge ethically and effectively to better themselves and society. He noted that true wisdom lies not just in acquiring knowledge but in using it for good, a sentiment that aligns with Theodore Roosevelt’s belief that “knowledge without character is dangerous; character without knowledge is ineffective.”

Addressing graduates from various colleges, Dr. Siason tailored his message to fit the unique contributions each could make. He outlined how each graduate’s “Scholarship for Service” should manifest, urging them to use their skills to challenge the status quo, promote social justice, and innovate in ways that do not widen societal gaps.

Echoing the ideals of service, Dr. Siason reminded the graduates, “As you step out into the world, remember, it is not just your duty but your privilege to lift others as you climb. This is the essence of being a true-blue Taga-West.”

The message of “Scholarship for Service” resonated as Dr. Siason called on the graduates to strive for personal success and leverage their capabilities for the broader good of society. He reminded them that the true measure of their education’s value lies in their willingness and ability to serve those less privileged.

“Let your knowledge be a beacon of hope for the needy, a tool for building a more equitable society,” he urged passionately. “Today, you are bestowed with the mantle of leadership, to not only succeed in your fields but to be the vanguards of change and kindness.”

The graduates left the ceremony not just with degrees and medals but with a reinforced sense of purpose. Dr. Siason’s words, highlighting the intersection of personal achievement and societal contribution, set a lofty expectation: to be the best, kindest, and most responsible citizens they can be.

As WVSU continues to nurture future leaders, the lessons from Dr. Siason’s speech will likely echo through its halls, reminding students and faculty alike that education is not just about personal gain but about contributing to a larger community.

The class of 2024 stands at the precipice of their futures, armed with knowledge, inspired by wisdom, and ready to enact the change Dr. Siason so compellingly advocated. (Text by Herman Lagon, photo by Edmer Bernardo/PAMCO)


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