schoolscolleges2020 hed news

Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan honored its employees and retirees in the annual University Service Awards, now on its 31st year, on 24 January 2024 at the Immaculate Conception Church.

Attended by members of the XU community, the program awarded 164 employees who have been with the XU community for five, ten, fifteen, twenty, twenty-five, thirty, thirty-five, forty, and forty-five years. Twelve received special awards as retirees albeit three were given posthumously. The awardees received certificates, XU official pin, and monetary gifts from the university.  

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VP for Basic Education Dr Dulce R Dawang, a 40 Years Service Awardee, welcomed the attendees and congratulated the awardees for their important roles in the university, for their “tireless efforts, marked by a deep sense of compassion and a commitment to excellence, embody the very essence of our institution's mission.” She led the community in expressing appreciation to their service saying that “each of them has played an instrumental role in shaping the educational experiences of our students, fostering a vibrant academic community, and contributing to the greater good of society.” She also emphasized the influence of Jesuit education on how these awardees lived out their roles becoming “living embodiments of the Jesuit ideals – men and women for and with others.”

University President Fr Mars P Tan, SJ, who was also a recipient of the 15 Years Service Award, expressed gratitude to the awardees who have generously shared their God-given talents to the community. He shared that service does not only mean the number of years spent in the institution pointing out three ways to be of service in a Catholic Jesuit university:

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First, he said “service in XA is a spirituality because it has a strong component of doing something to help, sustain, and fulfill a mission driven by values and principles.” He emphasized that the awardees have become part of a mission that “goes beyond self and the world,” and that the current mission is the building of the Campus of the Future which is designed to address the demands of the 21st century education.

His second note on service is that it is “a way of life.” The president explained that service comes from a heart that is humble to give and share time, energy, and talent with others. He also told the awardees that he believes that their life and work experiences in XU “were never accidents but within the plan of God.”

Third, “service in Xavier Ateneo is to be formed as leaders and to exercise leadership.  It is to have a mastery of the self, of the mind, the heart, and the will.” Fr Mars called the awardees leaders and urged them “to be aware of it and exercise it humbly and generously.”

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In response, Dr Jane Gallamaso, Chairperson of the Philosophy Department who received her 40 Years Service Award gave a message on behalf of the awardees. She said that the award is a testament to the employees’ contribution to the university, to the “countless hours and unwavering commitment” that each has devoted to his respective role. She spoke of work as “more than just a means of livelihood” but a “journey of service, a continuous offering of our skills, knowledge, and dedication to a greater purpose.” She added that work at XU has not only been “a source of personal growth and fulfillment but also a cornerstone in the collective progress of Xavier University institution.”

Another highlight of her message cited the awarding as a celebration of the “sacred teaching vocation” that has not been just a part of her life, but it has become her life. “In years of teaching at XU, I've delved inward, discovering a profound truth: teaching is a mission, a commitment to nurture, inspire, and transform. It's not just about imparting knowledge; it's about shaping futures, touching hearts, and nurturing souls. My calling lies in education, a truth I'll uphold till the end, giving meaning to my life.”

She ended her message with a sharing: “Let the years take you. Not you to take the years. Go with the flow, trust the wisdom that comes with time, and trust the process.” She also encouraged everyone to march forward “with renewed vigor, unwavering commitment, shared hope, and unshakeable faith.”

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The program brought together tertiary and basic education faculty, formators and personnel. Fr Arman B Samonte, SJ, Basic Education Chaplain, took on the role as the Master of Ceremonies. Fr Amado T Tumbali, SJ, Chair of the History and International Studies Department, gave the Invocation.

This is a time-honored tradition for the university as it expresses gratitude, shows appreciation and bestows special distinction to its employees who have continued to steadfastly serve the community amidst changes and challenges.

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Communications & Promotions Office