7 June 2013. Pasay City, Philippines. His Eminence Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle called on this year’s batch of scholar graduates under the SM Foundation, Inc. Scholarship Program to do their share in promoting learning, to serve the church, and to contribute to make a better world.
Cardinal Tagle, who himself was a scholar all throughout his entire education, spoke before 225 graduates from Metro Manila, Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao during the annual SM Foundation Presentation of Scholar Graduates to founder Henry Sy, Sr. and family at the SMX Convention Center on May 30, 2013.
“I was educated thanks to the help of so many people. Why will I not help young minds, young souls to discover the beauty of learning? I hope that you, as graduates, will help others in as much as you have also received help from others,” Cardinal Tagle said in the vernacular.
Cardinal Tagle said that he was invited to speak before scholars because he was also a scholar from grade school until he earned his doctorate degree. This drew the applause and interest of the scholars and parents present during the ceremony.
He lauded the SM Foundation Scholarship Program as the “greatest legacy of the Sy family”.
“This is an investment not in land or property but in people and their lives. If you invest in people and lives, you are investing in the future of a whole nation and this will be the greatest legacy of the family,” Cardinal Tagle said.
He also stressed that education is not based on how much a person knows but on the quality of his character. “From what you learn, from the skills that you acquired, from the vision imparted to you, hopefully you become a person, a true person with a purpose in life. And part of knowing who you are, is knowing the direction that God has given to you,” he said in his keynote message.
A better society
He also challenged scholars to contribute to a better world as the intent of education is to make everyone better human beings. “Family, country, benefactors and in this case, the SM Foundation, everyone is helping out to produce a better you. That better you is not for you to keep or hide or to consume by yourself. That better you is supposed to be a contribution of everyone to produce a better society, a better humanity and a better world,” he said.
“And those who availed themselves of education should forge a better future for the whole of society not only for themselves and for their families, but for the wider society.”
Cardinal Tagle also urged scholars to serve the church by becoming priests or nuns.
‘Fulfill the dream’
Cardinal Tagle shared that his grandfather, who was a school teacher, was unable to fulfill the dream of sending all his children to college as he was killed by a bomb explosion during the war. When it was the Cardinal’s turn to study and finish his doctorate degree, his aunts were so happy, they sought a US visa to attend his graduation from the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. “They came because through me, they saw a fulfilment of the dream they never had the chance to achieve,” the Cardinal said.
He called on the scholars to continue to fulfill their dreams and those of their ancestors. “Continue the story of your ancestors and in so doing, new stories and histories of the Philippines will be written through you,” he said in Filipino.
Started in 1993, SM Foundation’s college scholarship program is the brainchild of SM patriarch Henry Sy, Sr. who aimed to help root out poverty through education. Sy opted to focus on the college level because access to primary and secondary education is already taken cared of by the state. Now on its 20th year, SMFI’s college scholarship program has helped more than 1,500 underprivileged students earn a degree and find jobs both here and abroad.
Cardinal Tagle receives a plaque of appreciation from SM Foundation. With him are members of the Sy family namely(from left) Ms. Elizabeth T. Sy, Mr. Henry Sy, Sr. , Mrs. Felicidad T. Sy and Mr. Hans T. Sy.
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For additional information, please contact:
Carmen Linda M. Atayde
Executive Director for Education
SM Foundation, Inc.
Friday, June 7, 2013