45th University Service Awards: Celebrating Milestones in Service (Part 1)
02 Mar 2023
Every year, Ateneo de Manila University hosts an awards ceremony to recognize employees who have reached a milestone in their years of service to the university. The first University Service Awards, held in 1978, honored 34 employees.
On 23 March 2023, the University will hold the 45th University Service Awards at the Ateneo High School Covered Courts, honoring 471 employees.
In a 4-part feature, we asked some of this year’s awardees to answer three questions:
What made you stay in Ateneo?
What are you most thankful for as an employee at the University?
How would you describe the Ateneo work environment to a new employee?
This week, we feature Mrs Amelia Perez Dycoco from the Ateneo Center for Educational Development (ACED) and Ms Blythe Lumague from the Office of the Dean, Ateneo Law School (ALS)
Amelia Perez Dycoco
Ateneo Center for Educational Development (ACED)
Years in service: 10
In college in Ateneo, we were taught the importance of key Jesuit values such as cura personalis. When I started working in Ateneo, I saw how these Jesuit values were brought to life daily in the Ateneo community and the communities that Ateneo serves.
The Ateneo work environment fosters a culture of caring for others no matter what one’s position is in the university. The administrators know the names of their team members’ spouses and their children's names. The community members care for each other through programs such as the Sickness in Aid Plan.
For a decade now, having experienced this culture of caring from the Ateneo community, I have brought the same brand of cura personalis to the communities that we serve.
I thank Ateneo, especially my boss (Dr Carmela Oracion) and colleagues at ACED, for their steadfastness as ACED blazes trails in education reform. I am grateful for the opportunity to be part of a university that seeks to create a more significant impact in a larger sense. I’ve witnessed how it continues to harness its expertise as an academic and Jesuit institution, engage top government and private institutions officials, and deeply understand the needs of its communities.
I am deeply grateful for the university's support for its employees when the pandemic struck. I felt the administration found ways to remain competent in its programs and operations while simultaneously providing a caring and supportive environment for all its community members.
In a physical sense, a person only needs to enter the university to experience the community members' warm smiles and the campus's relaxing atmosphere with its wide open spaces, trees, and wildlife. Working in such an environment makes going to work more enjoyable and less stressful.
The Ateneo work environment is a community that embodies and gives meaning to cura personalis.
Office of the Dean
Ateneo Law School (ALS)
Years in service: 10
I should start with why I joined the Ateneo community. This comes from the perspective of a “Maroon on Blue”- the term used by former ALS professor (+) Atty Ruben F Balane to describe UP graduates on the turf of ALS.
Ateneo has a sterling image and is one of the most reputable institutions in the country. Having worked with some of the true-blue Ateneans in the Judiciary, I became curious about how it was to work in Ateneo.
My first glimpse of the community was when I was interviewed at Xavier Hall; I was impressed by the people I met. Former dean Sedfrey Candelaria hired me at the start of his term in June 2012. Dean Candelaria's term posed a different challenge as it was when "changes" started to happen: shifting to a new academic calendar, fostering internationalization programs for the ALS, Ateneo joining the World University Rankings, etc. Everything was overwhelming.
My ten-year journey with Ateneo was like a roller coaster ride that was (and still is) long and winding with ups and downs, but all worth the euphoria.
I am most grateful to Ateneo and Dean Sedfrey Candelaria for hiring me and for the trust and confidence in assisting him and the ALS faculty. I have gained experience, developed my skills, was able to travel abroad, and made more friends.
I am grateful to Ateneo for caring for its employees when the pandemic hit us.
There is no “perfect company or perfect institution,” and Ateneo is an evolving entity.
To the newbies, keep an open mind. Set realistic goals and manage your expectations. Be open to changes and always be ready for challenging tasks to be given but when you get overwhelmed, remember these: do not be afraid to show your unique self and creativity (free your creative mind); do not be scared to express yourself (find your voice); most of all, do not be afraid to stand up for yourself (keep yourself grounded).
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
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