Scholars asked to make benefactor their role modelBy Santiago R. Alcantara
Philippine Daily Inquirer
De La Salle University (DLSU) gave recognition recently to the first 24 recipients of engineering scholarships from Gokongwei Brothers Foundation Inc. (GBF).
John Gokongwei Jr., founder of the conglomerate JG Summit Holdings Inc., attended the ceremonies at the DLSU multipurpose hall with his wife Elizabeth, sister Lily, daughters Lisa Gokongwei-Cheng and Marcia Gokongwei, and son-in-law Perry Pe, husband of another daughter, Robina.
Br. Ricardo Laguda, FSC, La Salle’s new president and chancellor, encouraged the scholars to make their benefactor their role model. He said, “To our dear Lasallian Gokongwei scholars, Mr. John had to crawl his way up. His decades of long journey to become one of the country’s wealthiest men is by no means ordinary.
“He had no college degree (and relied on) his discipline, hard work, persistence and thirst for learning … He even once said: ‘I sold peanuts from my backyard. Today I sell snacks to the world,’” Laguda said.
One of the companies of the Gokongwei group, Universal Robina, produces popular snack products.
Gokongwei, who will be 86 in August and who was listed by Forbes magazine as one of the Philippines’ top billionaires, was admitted to La Salle’s Masters in Business Administration program when he was 51 years old, without having to submit “requirements to prove he had a college degree.”
Grow your dreams
Gokongwei-Cheng, general manager of GBF, told the scholars, “Now that you’ve been given the means to attain your dreams, feel free to make them even bigger. Do more and do even better for yourselves and our country.”
She said the country needed engineers who could keep up with the rapid pace of technological advancement. “We need the engineers’ inquisitiveness, discipline and creativity to turn ideas into realities,” she stressed.
Daniel Dominic Abinoja, a Manila Science High School graduate who will be taking up electrical communications, responded on behalf of the grantees. “We accept this scholarship with pride, humility and commitment,” he said.
Although 25 grants will be made available every year, only 24 met the requirements this year, the first year of the program.
The GBF-DLSU engineering scholarship program is available to less privileged students from the public schools who show a high level of excellence and belong to the top 10 percent of their high school class. Recipients must pursue engineering courses—civil, mechanical, chemical, electrical, electronics and communications.
This year’s applicants were asked to write an essay on why they deserved the scholarship.
Recipients of the engineering scholarships will get a lump sum every academic year until their fifth year as long as they remain in the top 10 percent of their class every semester.
Other grantees this year are Gabriel Rupert Baltazar, Robert Keith Chan, Enrico Dominic Abat, Kyle Darryl Aguilar, Carlo Dominic dela Cruz, Raymond Andrew Dimayuga, Julius Christopher Doolittle, Cleo Kristine Elvena, Erika Sheane Estera, Ginelle Galido, Ian Frederick Ilagan, Lance Lindle Lee, Raphael Lee, Emily Lui, Christian Jed Marquez, Li Veronica Martin, Raymond Albert Ng, Patrick Allen Regner, Marcus Karyl Soberano, Aileen Johanna Tan, Casey Oliver Turingan, Aaron Christian Uy and Eunice Betira Yao.
La Salle’s College of Engineering was renamed last year the Gokongwei College of Engineering.
The Gokongwei brothers who make up the foundation are John, James and Edward, as well as Henry and Johnson who are both deceased.
The foundation was put up in 1992 to help uplift the socioeconomic conditions of Filipinos through educational projects.
John is the foundation’s chair emeritus, while James is chair and chief operating officer.
Aside from La Salle, GBF has also partnered with other top engineering schools such as the University of the Philippines, Polytechnic University of the Philippines and Technological University of the Philippines in the National Capital Region; Batangas State University, Bulacan State University, University of San Carlos and Cebu Technological University in Cebu; University of San Carlos-Recoletos in Bacolod City, University of San Agustin in Iloilo, and University of Southeastern Philippines in Davao City.
The foundation is supported by the Gokongwei companies that include Universal Robina, Cebu Pacific Air, Robinsons Land, JG Summit Petrochemical Corp. and Robinsons Bank.
It has core investments in Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., by way of Sun Cellular mobile phone. It also owns JG Summit Publishing and the Robinsons Department Store chain.