ILIGAN CITY (MindaNews / 12 July) — Graduates of Class 2017 of the Mindanao State University’s (MSU) main campus in Marawi City will receive their diplomas on Thursday, July 13 not in Marawi City but at the MSU-Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT) and at the La Salle Academy here.
Dr. Alma Berowa, Vice President for Academic Affairs of the MSU System, and chair of the Steering Committee for the Commencement Exercises told MindaNews that as of 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, 1,733 out of 1,910 graduating students had confirmed they would attend the graduation.
It is the first time in its 56-year history that the MSU main campus’ graduation ceremonies will be held in another MSU campus, and the first time its pre-Commencement Exercises will be held in Iligan City.
MSU President Dr. Habib Macaayong on Friday told MindaNews that while they would have wanted to hold the 52nd Commencement Exercises (Class 2017) in the main campus in Marawi, they had to move it to Iligan some 40 kilometers away “due to the clamor of the majority of the parents and the graduating students.”
Around 95% of Marawi’s population fled the city due to the clashes between government forces and the Maute Group that started on May 23 and entered Day 51 on Wednesday.
Macaayong said the 56-year old state university has not been affected by the skirmishes downtown as it is some five kilometers from the war zone but he explained that they have to respect the wishes of the parents and students.
He clarified that some 300 students of MSU Marawi who were rescued in the early days of the Marawi Crisis were not trapped but stranded because public transportation was stopped on Day 1. He said the university linked up with other sectors to get the students out.
Berowa explained that Graduation ceremonies will take so long if the graduates will receive their diplomas at the MSU-IIT gym so “we practice what we call Pre-Commencement where graduates have time to march up the stage, receive their diplomas and for the deserving ones, their academic excellence awards and other special awards.”
Berowa said pre-Commencement Exercises will be held simultaneously in MSU-IIT for Group 1 and La Salle Academy Gym for Group 2 at 8 a.m. on July 13 while Commencement Exercises will be held at 1 p.m. at the MSU-IIT gym here.
Group I comprises College of Law, Agriculture, Business Administration and Accountancy, Fisheries, Islamic, Arabic and Asian Studies, Public Affairs, and Sports, Physical Education and Recreation while Group 2 comprises Education, Engineering, Forestry and Environmental Studies, Health Sciences, Hotel and Restaurant Management, Info tech, Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and Graduate School.
Secretary Datu Abulkhayr Alonto, chair of the Mindanao Developmetn Authority (MinDA) will deliver the commencement address followed by the conferment of titles and degrees by the University President for all graduates of the MSU system — members of the main campus’ Class 2017 who are present — as well as those in absentia as they already had their own graduation in the other MSU campuses.
Enrolment for schoolyear 2017-2018 will begin on July 31. Students need not go up to Marawi as they can enrol online, Berowa said.
Classes are scheduled to start on August 7 since the MSU System adopted the new academic calendar last year, she added.
Berowa said they “hope to have our students back” because “we want to continue to contribute to nation building as we have done well in the past in providing quality education to the youth of Mindanao, Muslims, Christians, and Indigenous Peoples.”
MSU was established in 1961 as an affirmative action policy instrument and
“we cannot surrender our commitment to our mandate,” Berowa said.
“The university for the poorest of the poor, MSU, provides hope for Muslims and other Mindanawons,” the VP for Academic Affairs noted.
She said she is confident the students will return to the Marawi campus because “there is no place like MSU.”
“We produce not just ordinary professionals. We produce leaders. As we say, if you survive in MSU, you will survive anywhere in the world. I believe even diamonds are produced from the pits of the earth. We entice students by our reputation for quality education in Mindanao,” she added.
She explained that MSU Marawi offers not only free tuition for all, “but we are looking forward that we can also possibly have free miscellaneous fees and for those affected by the Marawi crisis, free dormitories.”
Berowa thanked Army and the Marines for securing MSU in this time of crisis and said she hopes “all stakeholders, including all the hundred thousands of alumni, the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) and the MNLF (Moro National Liberation Front) and many more will help keep MSU safe. MSU is a jewel for the Muslims and others in Mindanao.” (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)