Returning to his alma mater, after more than 30 years, Dr. Francisco Sarmiento III spoke before the graduates at the December baccalaureate rites of the University of Baguio (UB) last Dec. 15 at the UB Gym.
Dr. Sarmiento, who graduated from the UB Preparatory High School, opened with some memories from his high school days. “There are a lot of memories here and I still remember them very clearly. I remember singing at the Christmas Cantata in those bleachers. I also remember taking part in the intramurals, right here at this gym,” he recalled. “Now I’m back, and it’s an honor to be with you today,” he said in an animated tone with an emotional edge.
‘Progress over perfection’
Dr. Sarmiento studied biology in college and then pursued medicine at the University of the Philippines Manila. “It wasn’t easy,” he said. “I learned that it can’t be all about perfection,” he said, stressing the importance of equally focusing on moving forward. “There is nothing wrong with wanting perfection,” he quipped, “but don’t lose sight of progress.”
‘There are other possibilities apart from the norm established by society ’
Dr. Sarmiento chose to take on a different path – one that pulls away from what can be considered as default direction.
“I did not become a resident doctor. I do not have a clinic,” he said. He chose to work on program development and management instead.
He has been a consultant for the United Nations Development Programme, overseeing projects in the ASEAN region. He obtained a diploma in transplant procurement management from the University of Barcelona in Spain. He also acquired a certificate in gender, reproductive health and fertility from the Universiteit van Amsterdam in the Netherlands.
Currently, he is a program manager at the Philippine Network for Organ Sharing and Philippine Organ Donation and Transplantation Program at the Department of Health.
“You see, there are a lot of other possibilities out there – apart from the norm that’s already been established by the society,” he said.
He left the graduates with a stirring line: “With all that you will accomplish, may you remain thankful and may you not forget to look back. May you also have the compassion to help others and may you remember to put your life to good use.”
Scroll down to see photos from the event. Photos by the UB Media Affairs and Publications Office.
A baccalaureate service opened the graduation rites at the UB Gym.
Dr. Francisco Sarmiento III, who graduated from the UB Preparatory High School. addressed the graduates.
UB president Engr. Javier Herminio Bautista hands a diploma to one of the graduates at the rites.
A graduate delivers a speech for the tribute to the faculty at the graduation ceremonies.
Parents are seated opposite the graduates at the ceremonies.
A parent, teary-eyed, hugs his daughter during the tribute to the parents at the rites.