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UPAA-W Celebrates 40th Anniversary

by Roger Austria


The University of the Philippines Alumni Association of Wisconsin (UPAA-W) celebrated its milestone 40th Anniversary on 13 July 2014 at the Potawatomi Hotel and Casino in Milwaukee. UP President Alfredo E. Pascual traveled with his wife, Carmen, from the Philippines and was the guest speaker.

Dr. Pascual who assumed the UP Presidency in February 2011 for a six year term, outlined numerous much-needed projects and programs including genome mapping, “the creation of a genetic map assigning DNA fragments to chromosomes.” Dr. Pascual also spoke about his accomplishments and his vision for the University.

A check to support a deserving UP student in financial need for the next two years was presented to Dr. Pascual by Joselito Conti, Chair of the Diliman Scholarship Program. Knowing that the community has always supported various UPAA-W fund-raising drives for the past forty years, UPAA-W did not hesitate to pledge continued support to Dr. Pascual’s worthy projects. A professorial Chair grant has also been established at UP Diliman soon after the founding of the Association to help slow the outflow of some faculty who have been offered higher salaries by private universities.

Ambassador Generoso D. G. Calonge, newly appointed Philippine Consul General of Chicago, also addressed the Association. Vice Consul Ricarte Avejuela also attended the celebration.

A similar scholarship program for Wisconsin students had been established a few years after the founding of the Association, now chaired by Apolonio Ortiguera. A comprehensive video montage of some of the past scholars was shown by Gerry Ramos who, with Creamheld Pepito collaborated in the production of the video. The scholars’ narration of how the program benefited their quest for higher education was enthusiastically applauded by the audience.

Guests were greeted with a photo shoot opportunity as a remembrance of their attendance before having cocktails and conversation, courtesy of Dr. Violeta A. Singson.

One of the highlights of the evening was the Life Member Award presented to Violeta A. Singson, MD, “In recognition of her unwavering commitment , deep dedication, and tireless efforts in pursuing the goals of UPAA-W.” She is only the second member awarded this highly valued award in the past forty years.

Overall, the program met with rousing applause by the audience. Some of the performances enjoyed by the audience were the violin rendition of UP Naming Mahal by father and daughter artists, Dr. Linus Sto. Tomas and Mira; FAAWIS Children Dance Group who danced the intricate Estudiantina, the adult FAAWIS Dance Group who performed the Carinosa, both of which illustrate typical Filipino Culture.

Finally, the fast and furious dancing performed by the Fringe Benefits dancers left us mesmerized by how well their rhythmic movements were so well coordinated. Surprisingly, the group was composed of doctors with specialties in different areas, leaving us wondering where they found the time to practice to perfection their inimitable movements. All told, it was a wonderful night of fun and festivities.

For a successful presentation of this magnitude it is sometimes difficult to give credit to everyone who have been responsible for its success without missing a few names. Needless to say, members of UPAA-W including officers and Board members, committee chairs, and honorary members, came through to face the enormous challenges. But best of all, kudos and congratulations are due to the committee that was charged with the planning and execution of the celebration. At the risk of forgetting one or two of these hardworking people, I would like to thank Creamheld Pepito, Dr. Violeta A. Singson, Dr. Fe Quevedo Visaya, Jocelyn Agoncillo Ramos, Romulo Gerardo Ramos, and Dr. Asuncion Miteria Austria.

A big thank you is also due to the FAAWIS dancers; the DNR band for their lively music; Amy Schemenauer, Dr. Linus and Mira Santo Tomas; and the Fringe Benefits Dancers.

Most of all, maraming salamat to our supporters – patrons, donors, advertisers, and our friends in the community.

UPAA-W … forty years of helping transform lives around us.

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