- By Lyncen M. Fernandez
Raoul Danniel A. Manuel makes history as the first summa cum laude graduate of UP Visayas. The BS Applied Mathematics major scored a GWA of 1.099, the highest among the graduating Class of 2015. It would not come as a surprise to those who personally know him. He was also the class valedictorian of the UP High School in Iloilo, Class of 2011 and likewise class valedictorian of the SPED – Integrated School for Exceptional Children (Iloilo City) in 2007.
When asked on how he feels to be UPV’s first summa cum laude, Manuel has this to say: “It is a very humbling experience. I know that I could have not made it without the support of my family, friends, classmates, teachers and fellow members of student organizations that I have joined. To be an achiever in UP is really difficult if one is alone so I am blessed to have people who have always been supportive of me even in my college life.”
Manuel is not your typical nerd who confines himself within the four walls of the classroom. He said that he sought to learn as much as he can so that his UP education would not be limited to the four walls of the classroom. He was a very active student leader, was the Chairperson of the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) Student Council (AY 2014-2015), and was often seen in the frontlines during student protests and rallies.
“As an Iskolar ng Bayan I had to open my eyes to the realities around me and look for ways to become active in the affairs inside and outside of the University. My UP education instilled in me a desire to use my potentials to advance genuine social change,” he said.
It is indeed a rare feat that this consistent University Scholar gave as much as he did in his academics as well as in various student and community activities and came out with exemplary achievements in both.
Apart from being active and taking leadership roles in the CAS Student Council, Manuel is the Lead Convenor for the Youth for Accountability and Truth Now – Panay Alliance (2014 to the present), was the Vice Chairperson of the UPV OIKOS Ecological Movement (2013 – 2014), the Secretary of the Legal Network for Truthful Elections (LENTE) - UPV Chapter (2013 – 2015), the Treasurer of the UPV Mathematics Circle (2011 - 2013), served as Internal Affairs Committee Member for Elektrons (2012-2013) and a member of the UPV Delegates of Untainted Commitment to Effectuate Service (2011 to 2015).
Some of his community involvements included serving as a speaker in the following events: 1) 10th LUBAS Visayas-Wide Student Press Convention, Iloilo City (January 29 – February 1, 2015), 2) Google Student Leaders Summit, UPV Miagao, Iloilo, April 8, 2015, 3) Leadership Training for Elementary Pupil Leaders, Iloilo City, 3) Leadership Training for High School Student Leaders, Jaro, Iloilo City, and 4) Voters’ Education Activities in Brgy. Malagyan, Miagao and Brgy. Calumpang, Molo, Iloilo City on April 18 and May 1, 2013, respectively.
In addition, Manuel has also receive numerous awards and distinctions. To name some, he was a recipient of the highly competitive and prestigious UP Presidential Scholarship from 2012 up to the time he graduated. He was the BPI Anak Expat awardee in 2013, one of the Mga Bagong Rizal: Pag-asa ng Bayan national awardee in 2011, and won 2nd place in the National Philippine Statistics Quiz in 2011.
During his four years of college life in UPV, Manuel was also quite busy in organizing, facilitating and attending, various, leadership training and forums.
So what would be life after graduation for this super achiever?
Manuel said he still does not have final plans as to what he will do after graduation. “Most likely, I will pursue a master’s degree in applied mathematics,” he stated.
“I am not really aiming to be rich or to use my talents to enrich myself materially. I have simple joys and I want to live a life of purpose,” so said one who has truly embodied the ideals of UP, academic excellence, service to the community and love for one’s country.
Manuel is not only making history as UPV’s first summa cum laude. The University of the Philippines will be having the various Commencement Exercises of its constituent universities in the month of June for the first time as a result of the shift in the academic calendar that started in August 2014.
- This article originally appeared at UPV Website.