At its annual convocation, Saint Mary's College recognized a De La Salle Christian Brother who has served the Philippines as a school principal, university president, Lasallian university system leader, and chairman of the government's Commission on Higher Education.
Brother Rolando Ramos Dizon, FSC, received an honorary doctorate degree in educational leadership from Saint Mary's during the February 17 convocation. In conferring the degree, Brother Craig J. Franz, FSC, president of Saint Mary's College, said of Brother Rolando, "You bring to the numerous organizations that profit from your membership your Lasallian vision ... a vision that melds gracefully with advocacy in civic, social, and political organizations. You devotedly serve your people by honoring their dignity, working for their advancement, and securing their livelihood."
In addition to providing leadership in Lasallian secondary and higher education, Brother Rolando has guided such organizations as the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines and the Philippine Council for Peace and Global Education. His social justice and advocacy work includes service with the National Citizens Movement for Free Elections and the Good Governance Movement of the EDSA People Power Commission as well as attention to the concerns of rice farmers and micro-entrepreneurs.
During the convocation, Brother Rolando spoke to the assembled audience of Saint Mary's faculty, students, and staff about the state of higher education in the Philippines. In particular, he focused on the role of Lasallian and Catholic institutions in developing the intellectual skills, integrity, and patriotism that result in students committing to the common good and social justice. Expressing his concerns that these schools in his country, as well as their graduates, are falling short in this mission, Brother Rolando said that, in the Philippines, "it is imperative that our schools return to the original charism of the Founder and only secondarily prepare students for jobs and a livelihood."
Turning to the United States, he spoke of a need for a Lasallian education that overcomes a culture of materialistic secularism to instill Christian values and principles in students. Brother Rolando noted, "This is a countercultural mission but a challenge I know you can meet."
-- by Amy DerBedrosian
Convocation Ceremony 2004:
* Welcome Address by Brother Brother Craig J. Franz
* Convocation Address by Rolando Ramos Dizon
* Citation Conferring the Degree, Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership, honoris causa, Upon Brother Rolando Ramos Dizon