All graduation ceremonies of the three colleges of Cebu Normal University (CNU) Main Campus were merged and celebrated virtually for the first time this year as the University braces the new normal brought by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) health crisis. 

The 91st College of Teacher Education (CTE), 39th College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), and 35th College of Nursing (CN) Commencement Rites with the theme, Living, Thriving, and Serving in the New Normal was live-streamed last Friday, August 28, formally ending the AY 2019-2020.

There are 143 graduates from CTE, 176 graduates from CAS, and 8 graduates from CN.
“In the face of the so many challenges confronting our nation, you, dear graduates, have a vital role to play. The choices you will take will make a difference to society.”

This is what Department of Science and Technology – Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) Director Dr. Josette Talamera-Biyo said as the Commencement Speaker of the CNU Commencement Rites 2020.  

Biyo is the first Asian teacher to win the Intel International Excellence in Teaching Award in 2002 for her innovations in teaching science research since the contest started in 1997. 

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Lincoln Laboratory in the United States named a minor planet that was discovered in May 1998 (formerly known as Planet 12341) to Planet Biyo in her honor. 

She encouraged and inspired the graduates to be committed to their goals, to love their work, to not be afraid of committing mistakes, to work on improving one’s inner self, and to have a deep relationship with God.  

She also motivated the graduates to continue to learn because they are created for a purpose, to believe that they can make a difference, and to recognize that all their talents, skills, and opportunities come only from God and should be used for His Glory. 

Biyo also shared that she has received several offers to work abroad after winning in that international teaching competition in the United States but has decided to return and continue teaching in the Philippines, believing that she is making a difference in the lives of the Filipino children and the larger community, and for seeing hope for the Philippines. 

“Despite our country’s limited resources, Filipinos can compete globally given the proper training, support, and exposure,” Biyo said.

“My winning at the international scene may not reflect the general condition of education in this country, but with our concerted efforts my dear fellowmen, we can move this country forward and show the world that we can be a globally competitive race,” she added.        

Biyo said that being world class does not necessarily mean going out internationally. She said that being world-class is having the passion and commitment to one’s profession. She said that being world-class starts from within ourselves.

“Your commitment to serve to the best of your abilities will be a source of hope and strength for our countrymen. Let not this pandemic paralyze you. Instead, let this be an opportunity for you to be more creative, resourceful, and to use your ingenuity to the fullest,” Biyo said.

“Continue to thrive, serve, and lead in the new normal. Carry on the power within you. Go and help build this nation. You can do it even if you must do it one step at a time – one Filipino at a time. Congratulations at mabuhay kayong lahat!” she said, concluding her speech. 

The pronouncement was declared by University and Board Secretary Dr. Michelle Olvido and the graduates of the three colleges were presented by CTE Dean Dr. Ethel Abao, CAS Dean Dr. Milagros Greif, and CN Officer-in-Charge Mrs. Ma. Mayla Imelda Lapa. The degrees were then conferred by CNU President Dr. Filomena Dayagbil. 
The University pledge was led by Chief Administrative Officer for Finance Dr. Evelyn Tradio and the Alumni Oath was led by the Federation of Cebu Normal University Alumni Associations, Inc. (FCNUAAI) President Dr. Ramir Uytico.
The first virtual graduation of the different colleges of the University ended with the singing of the CNU hymn.  
A full copy of the CNU Commencement Rites 2020 can also be viewed at the official YouTube channel of the University. (JDF)