Dr. Glenn Gregorio, director, Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), served as the guest of honor and speaker during the 112th Commencement Exercises of the Cavite State University (CvSU)-College of Arts and Sciences held on 23 August 2023 at the CvSU International Convention Center.
In his speech, Dr. Gregorio emphasized the crucial role of agriculture in sustainable development and how it interlaced with diverse fields and helped shape economies, innovations, and society.
"As university graduates, embracing the relevance of agriculture in your fields can lead to holistic solutions that address global challenges and create a brighter future for all," he remarked.
While acknowledging that agricultural innovations increase farm productivity and address the growing need for food, Dr. Gregorio also pointed out the skepticism among Filipino farmers about the intentions of these innovations.
With this, Dr. Gregorio rallied the importance of character education in addition to academic achievements. "Your university has taught you knowledge of how you can build your understanding of the world. It has also provided you with skills necessary not only to survive but also to contribute to your respective fields of expertise," he imparted. "But more importantly, I hope and trust that CvSU, your teachers, professors, and your nurturing parents have inculcated in you the values and characters that will give you purpose in whatever you do," Dr. Gregorio added.
He underscored that the best resources now would not be capital or extensive labor but human resources—the people who create new ideas and innovations and are willing and able to make a difference in the lives of the people and society, especially in the era of the 4th Industrial Revolution.
Moreover, he encouraged the graduates to embrace seven values and characteristics that could guide them to future success: (1) be creative, innovative, and different to stay relevant, especially in the technology boom; (2) practice mindfulness and pay purposeful attention to the community's needs; (3) cultivate curiosity and desire for learning; (4) develop resiliency to overcome challenges; (5) take risks despite uncertainties; (6) be leaders and empower people to make positive change; and more importantly, (7) act ethically and be worthy of the degrees received.
"We must be able to identify and filter what truly is valuable and true—a moral compass for all people, especially the next generation of leaders among you," Dr. Gregorio highlighted.
To cap his message, the SEARCA director dared the over 1,000 graduates to step up and step out and be at the forefront of development. He urged them not to limit their mindsets and aspirations and not to allow geographical barriers and perceived hindrances to keep them from maximizing their contribution to the global community.