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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Through the crucible

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Dear esteemed parents, proud professors and my dearest fellow graduates,

As I stand here privileged to speak on behalf of all my fellow graduates, I can’t help but reflect on the journey we’ve traversed—a journey etched with the indelible marks of the pandemic. Initially seen as a major setback, it unfolded as a crucible that tested the fiber of our collective resiliency, though not without the sorrowful sacrifice of lives dear to us—our loved ones, health workers and frontline heroes.

In the face of adversity, the pandemic became the backdrop against which our determination and perseverance were forged. Each day brought forth bodily, mental, social and professional challenges that, like threads in the fabric of our lives, strengthened our resolve to not only survive but thrive.

Our presence here today is a living testimony to the attainment of the Lasallian mission. The burdens of our quest for higher learning were lightened by the zeal with which we served one another. The dedicated professors, advisors and the entire academic and non-academic staff of DLSU played pivotal roles in our success, for which we are profoundly grateful.

Beyond the academic realm, none of us would be standing here without the selfless and loving support of our family members, colleagues and friends. Their unlimited understanding, ever-available listening ear and loving accompaniment, whether face-to-face or in the virtual realm, have been the cornerstones of our journey. We owe them a debt of gratitude that words can only attempt to express.

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Personally, my gratitude extends to the De La Salle University Ramon V. Del Rosario College of Business for granting me the Doctor of Business Administration degree. The letters “DBA” added to my name after a decade in DLSU represent not just a culmination of academic rigor but a journey of blood, sweat and tears.

This journey involved the diligent and persevering hard work of serenely combining studies with an ever-demanding job. It comprised countless sleepless nights immersed in reading, studying, researching and writing. More than 500 journal articles and thousands of pages were explored and revisited to ensure a deep understanding of my field.

Endless writing and rewriting of the dissertation, meticulous labeling and encoding of research data, thoughtful selection of statistical software and careful curation of relevant results and findings were integral to the process. The journey included correcting data interpretations, facing technical glitches and enduring the loss of vital files.

I share these experiences not to boast, but to acknowledge the sacrifices made in the pursuit of knowledge. Sacrifices included missing opportunities to develop other skills, selflessly sacrificing health and navigating the challenges of panel members raising questions and offering suggestions.

All these sacrifices were driven by a clear purpose—that while recognizing that the DBA was essential to my professional growth, I was, primarily, propelled by leaving behind a legacy to my father and mother and, secondly, by breaking new ground in quantitative strategic management research. Thus, all these sacrificial treasures transcend the DBA letters added to my name. The virtues of diligence, perseverance, attention to detail, selflessness and patience, while not printed on my curriculum vitae, have sculpted me with a more loving heart, an open mind and greater wisdom.

As we graduate, whether undergraduate or graduate students, let us commit to living out the alma mater’s core values. Let us be united in the mission to be the best versions of ourselves in our work, constantly imbued by the spirit of service to everyone and always united in faith wherever life takes us.

In weaving the Lasallian values of credence, fervor and togetherness into the fabric of our lives, we ensure that our legacy extends beyond the professional realm. These qualities, I am convinced, are the essence of ethical professionals—qualities that artificial intelligence can never replicate.

Gratitude is best lived in life, not just in words. On behalf of my fellow graduates, we commit to a life that embodies the values we hold dear.

Animo La Salle!

The author is a faculty member of the Department of Marketing and Advertising of the RVRCOB and graduated with a Doctor of Business Administration degree during the 197th Commencement Exercises of DLSU.  This was her speech during the College Recognition Rites held earlier.  She can be reached at sheila.salamanca@dlsu.edu.ph.

The views expressed above are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official position of DLSU, its faculty and its administrators.

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