By Roberto Klemente R. Timonera, Maya Angelique B. Jajalla, Michael Aaron C. Gomez
They have roamed the world o’er and far to spread the excellence of what our school has to offer. This year, four exceptional Sillimanians will be awarded for their excellence in their respective field.
One of the Outstanding Sillimanians for 2013 is Hon. Jeoffre Willkom Acebido—currently the presiding judge of RTC Branch 41 in Cagayan de Oro City—who has been consistently celebrated by his peers and litigants alike for his tireless work ethics, his command of the law and jurisprudence, and fair judgments and decisions.
A Law graduate at Silliman University in 1986 after finishing his BS Agriculture degree in Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan in 1982, Hon. Acebido has gone on to win great respect in the world of the Philippine judiciary. In fact, his latest recognition before this year OSA was rendered by the Supreme Court of the Philippines itself: he had been a recipient of the Chief Justice Cayetano Arellano Award, the top honor in the 20th Search for Outstanding Judges and Clerks of Court held last September 19, 2011. The High Court had given him the award for much of the reasons stated above: Hon. Acebido never comes to court dates later than 8:30 in the morning, and he renders his decisions less than two months after the cases had been submitted, and he resolves incidents within thirty days—well within the constitutional deadline of three months.
Such was his effect on the judiciary of Cagayan de Oro that his staff and his peers have felt and expressed the influence Hon. Acebido has had on them: the Public Attorney II of Cagayan de Oro City has stated that Hon. Acebido transformed the Branch 41 of the Regional Trial Court into the most efficient branch of the RTC of Misamis Oriental.
He echoes Socrates, then, who said: “Four things belong to a judge: to hear courteously, to answer wisely, to consider soberly, and to decide impartially.”
Dr. Evangelyn Ceriales Alocilja is one Sillimanian who has made waves in a field of specified study. This year’s Ouststanding Sillimanian Awardee for Biosystems Engineering (with specialization in Nanotechnology-based Biosensors), she graduated cum laude from Silliman University in 1973 with a BS in Chemistry. She taught for a year at the Medina School of Nursing in Ozamis City before going on to earn her masters in soil chemistry and plant physiology at the University of the Philippines in Los Baños in 1981. Soon after, she proceeded to the Michigan State University for further studies.
At the MSU, Dr. Alocilja started as a research associate and rose through the ranks to become a full professor. There she earned her masters degrees in soil chemistry/plant physiology and systems science/electrical engineering, as well as a doctorate in that same field. She is a pioneer in biosensor research, establishing and popularizing the Nano-Biosensors Lab (NBL). Her colleague Dr. Ajit K. Srivastava summarizes her research program with the word “biosenors” with the mission “to save lives.”
Dr. Alocilja’s brilliance was such that one of her papers got selected out of 1200 others to be presented during the 2010 World Congress on Biosensors in Glasgow, UK. Collaborating with researches of note, she was a driving force in developing nanoparticle-based biosensors for the detection of microbes. In 2004 she was among the team of researchers who established the National Center for Food Protection and Defense (NCFPD), which is now a Homeland Security center of excellence. In 2012 she founded nanoRETE, Inc., a company devoted to developing handheld biosensors, field-ready devices that promised maximum efficiency while saving time that would otherwise have been spent waiting for lab results. She has published many books, more than 97 peer-reviewed journal articles, and made 89 presentations.
Science aside, the staunch Christianity instilled in her by Silliman University continues to empower her to this day. She co-founded—and had led for over twenty-five years now—an International Ministry at Trinity Church in Lansing, Michigan. She and her husband co-founded the Fellowship of Christian Internationals and Friends (FCIF), also in Trinity Church, in 1987. This fellowship helps international students adjust to American culture. She currently resides in East Lansing,Michigan.
If there is anyone whose life is a classic example of the “rags to riches” story, it would be Mr. Aurelio Palit-ang Ramos, Jr., Outstanding Sillimanian awardee for Educational/Social Entrepreneurship.
He is the eighth of ten children. He grew up in a poor family in what is now Quirino province. Where he lived, not many people made it past grade 4, and those who dreamed of finishing high school were considered the most ambitious ones. Mr. Ramos was among this crowd, and his hard work allowed him to graduate salutatorian in the Ifugao Academy in 1969.
He entered Silliman University as a student assistant in 1970. To keep his scholarship, he had to maintain a QPA of 3.5 every semester. He managed to do so, though he had to borrow clothes so he could attend Honors’ Day ceremonies. He graduated with a BA in Mathematics, cum laude, in 1973.
Mr. Ramos then proceeded to teach at various universities in Manila. He was a masters degree candidate at the University of the Philippines in Diliman and at the Ateneo de Manila University before finally earning his MA in Teaching Mathematics in U.P. Diliman.
Though he was very much in the process of establishing himself, he never forgot to give back to his family. Using his salary as a teacher, he managed to send 18 of his nieces and nephews to school. 11 of these went to Silliman, with five going on to be engineers and one even topping the board exam.
Mr. Ramos did not stop there, however. He established the Loyola Student Center in 1986 and the Ortigas Review Center in 2002, as well as the Berea Arts and Sciences High School in 2005. Thousands of students have studied in these establishments and have gone on to work in some of the finest universities in the country—and in some cases, abroad. He also wrote, co-wrote, and edited a vast array of educational textbooks on mathematics, science, and the humanities.
Mr. Ramos keeps a strong Christian faith. He has served as a student steward in Silliman Church and as Deacon of the Ellinwood Malate Church, all the while being active in the choir.
Dely Po Go has many titles that come after her name: RN, BSN, MSN, DNP. She is many things to many people. She is an academic achiever, a public health care servant, a successful entrepreneur, a faithful Christian and a community leader.
Dely Po Go is a Sillimanian. She is an Outstanding Sillimanian Awardee. She is a recipient in the field of Entrepreneurship in Nursing.
Dr. Go came from a family of prominent business figures in Cadiz City, Negros Oriental. Her father, Tuana Po, was a long time President of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce. In the biographical note written by Dr. Go’s son, Harry Honda-Po Go Jr., Harry described his grandparents as people who “emphasized to her (Dr. Go) the value of obtaining the highest education and to be an achiever all the time.”
Indeed, Dr. Go is an obedient daughter who strived to follow her parents’ words. She graduated as Class Valedictorian both in her English and Chinese studies at the Northern Negros Private School in 1969. She graduated as Class Valedictorian again at the Holy Infant Academy High School in 1973. Among the many awards that she received, she was also a recipient of the Gerry Roxas Leadership Award.
Dr. Go then enrolled in the Silliman University College of Nursing. She served as the class president for three consecutive years, Vice-President of the Silliman University College of Nursing Association (SUCNA) in 1977 and SUCNA President in 1978.
Dely Po Go’s academic milestones did not stop there. Three decades later, she finished her Master of Science in Nursing degree major in Public Health Administration and Nursing Education Administration at the Fairleigh Dickinson University in Taeneck, New Jersey (NJ). She graduated as Summa Cum Laude with a cumulative GPA of 3.82.
In 2012, she graduated as Summa Cum Laude again, with a cumulative GPA of 3.86 at the same university in NJ. This time, she earned her Doctor of Nursing degree major in Organizational Leadership and Healthcare System Administration.
However, Dr. Go did not only excel in matters of the mind. She is also outstanding in matters of the heart and soul.
Among the many things that Dr. Go did to emulate the Via Veritas Vita, she is the President/Owner of Nursing Network, LLC. It is a healthcare services company with over 500 nurses and certified nurse aides, and serving 33 healthcare facilities in NJ. Dr. Go is not only a champion of healthcare services to numerous people with different races, she also generated jobs for nursing graduates.
When Dr. Go initiated the project, she also aimed to “give jobs to many nurses in the USA as well as nurses from the Philippines by petitioning them without charge or fee.”
Dr. Go is also the Founding member, Board of Trustee and Treasurer of “Bridges to Success”. It is a non-profit ambulatory care services and food pantry for the poor and underserved population.
This project is Dr. Go’s way of “giving back all of God’s blessings that she and her family received.”
Indeed, in her years in the university, Silliman has succeeded in molding persons with competence, character and faith.