Central Philippine University

By Gynnyn G. Gumban, DM

Gynnyn G. Gumban, DM, CPU School of Graduate Studies inspirational speaker.

Dr Ernest Howard B. Dagohoy-University President, Dr Irving Domingo L. Rio-VPAA, Dr. Rowena M. Libo-on-Dean of the School of Graduate Studies, Dr. Althea Denuevo-Assistant Dean, Deans of the different colleges, program heads, esteemed faculty, Dr. Xu Kaixuan-our commencement speaker, and most importantly- the distinguished graduates, ladies and gentlemen, Good morning! (Sao Shang Hao), Maayong Aga!

On this sunny day we gather to celebrate a significant milestone in the lives of 178 graduating students —a moment of triumph and accomplishment. However, today could also be a moment of reflection on years of rigorous study, dedicated research, and unwavering perseverance. As Aristotle once said, “The roots of education are bitter but the fruit is sweet”.

I am honored to be part of this significant moment. Seeing you wear your academic gown gives me delight.  At the same time, I am challenged on how to accomplish my role as inspirational speaker. For after all, I am speaking with no less than 105 doctorate degree holders, and 73 master’s degree holders, not only from Philippines, but from Vietnam, Malaysia, Myanmar, China, India. So, what shall I say? Nonetheless, I will fulfill my role on account of my lived experience and its essence that brought me here in front of you.

Looking back, when I was in your shoes, I was eager yet uncertain about the future. I scouted around where to enroll for a doctoral degree. And finally, landed in CPU -School of Graduate Studies.  On the first day of class, a mentor asked, “What kind of impact do you want to make in the world?” This question changed my perspective and made me realize that the impact I make starts with understanding and embracing my purpose. I started to reflect on what drives me, what issues I care deeply about, and how my talents can contribute to those areas. It was then that I started to kindle a passion for purposeful living. Jennifer Dulski emphasized in her book, “Purpose is about more than personal goals; it is about the impact you can have on others and the world around you.”  Purpose is a powerful driving force that gives direction to our efforts, meaning to our endeavors, and fulfillment to our lives. Romans 8:28 – “And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  Purpose is what propels to create meaningful change. From then on, my purpose has been shaped and refined through my academic journey. Years passed and personally I experienced, how CPU mentors pushed me towards the highest standards. The pursuit of knowledge at CPU has never been just about facts and figures. It has been about fostering critical thinking, nurturing curiosity, and encouraging a lifelong passion for continuous learning. We have been taught not just to seek answers, but to ask the right questions, to challenge the status quo, and to push the boundaries through case studies and round table discussions. While on dissertation writing, there was tremendous hardship while maintaining professional and multiple work responsibilities.

Isa ka hapon, naga sulod ako sa Ace Hardware sa SM City. Nakita ko nagapagua si Dr. Fely David. So nagdali-dali ako liko sa left nga nagaduko para indi nya makita. Pagbutwa ko-Oh… ara sya! Nagbalik gali. She said: “Musta na paper mo?”, I answered, “Hi Mam— See you”. She replied, “Ok, see you, when I see you” Huya huya gid ako.

Yes, you and I can attest that in thesis and dissertation writing- the struggle is real but there is strength in struggle, as struggle ultimately offers personal gratification upon seeing that all the panelists have affixed their signature, and the Dean has approved the so-called “green hardbound book.” These experiences enabled me to navigate my role and duties when I was a Municipal Councilor of Pavia… to have grace under pressure.

The yearly Christ Emphasis Week beautifully encapsulates the essence of “Scientia et Fides.” The reflections nourished me to ensure that my actions and decisions are grounded in both intellectual rigor and moral clarity. Yes, I am a public servant. This coming July 1, 2024, I will be 20 years in government service. In work, there were times when friendships were tested, and ethical dilemma created rifts. Decisions were made that tested my determination and shaped my character. These moments were painful but were overcome because of faith in what I believed is just. Yes, my sense of purpose serves as compass as I navigate the complex landscape of my professional and personal life. I can attest that as I step into leadership roles, my impact is measured not only by what is accomplished but also by how it was achieved. I can say that integrity inspires others to trust and ultimately create ripples of positive impact, just by being simply me.

In November 2013, Dr. Crucero invited me to become a part-time professor at the College of Business and Accountancy. Fast forward, I joined the School of Graduate Studies as faculty member the following year. In essence, being a University Professor was a transformative experience that not only elevated my confidence but also deepened my sense of purpose. It marked another episode in my life where I strive to inspire others while continuing to grow as an individual. As University Professors, we study more than students do so we can engage in interactive and meaningful discussion. This just shows that learning does not stop at graduation—it is a lifelong journey.

Regardless of what field we are in, be it in Nursing, Education, Social Work, Theology Management, Library Science, Tourism, Engineering, Computer Science, Ministry, Guidance and Counseling, -both in master’s and doctorate degrees, we are faced with the fundamental TRUTH; that is, research is a cornerstone of our educational experience in the graduate school. For both the mentors and students, engaging in research has shown us how to approach problems with a methodical and analytical mindset, to seek out new knowledge, and to contribute to the advancement of our respective fields. At CPU School of Graduate Studies, research is not just an academic requirement but a meaningful endeavor that fuels innovation, informs policy, and drives societal advancements.

Community service has been an integral part of our education. Through various outreach programs and volunteer opportunities in Barangay Mainguit, Badiangan, Iloilo, we have felt the impact we had on our communities. The programs, projects, and activities we did taught us the power of gratitude and the importance of giving back.

In today’s interconnected world, globalization presents expanded markets, facilitated cultural exchanges, and driven economic growth. We are living in an era of unprecedented technological advancements. The Internet of Things alters organizations dramatically by enabling smarter and more efficient operations. During the pandemic, through the able leadership of Dr Rowena Libo-on, the School of Graduate Studies was able to navigate globalization wisely, and still achieved productivity attracting more and more foreign students.

As a faculty member of the Central Philippine University, I would like to thank the graduating students. It is because of you that we achieve our value and significance as teachers. At this special moment, I would like to share some thoughts.

1. Be a positive person with understanding

Helen Keller noted, “Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow.” Focus on the good, even in challenging times. Stephen Covey emphasized, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” In this diverse world, we need to learn to respect different perspectives and cultures and tolerate differences and personalities. Only in this way can we have a deeper understanding of the world and become truly positive and enlightened person.

2. Be a respectable ordinary person

You can win the respect and trust of others, so long as you embrace humility, kindness, and integrity. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” Be genuine and true to yourself. You can work quietly in your own post that contains truth and duty. Like a drop of sea water to the vast ocean- ordinary but indispensable.

Act with kindness. As Maya Angelou noted, “Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.” Small acts of kindness make a big difference. Practice integrity. As Lewis stated, “Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.” Yes, we can always be respectable ordinary persons.

3. Be a useful contributor to society

To be a useful contributor to society, embrace Helen Keller’s wisdom: “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” Seek opportunities to help others, recognizing that collective efforts drive change. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate.” Live these values daily to enrich your life and those around you.

Whether you are advancing in academia, industry, or public service, let your purpose illuminate your path and inspire others as we navigate this global landscape of artificial intelligence, machine learning, biomedical and genomic revolution, quantum computing, data science and big data, nanotechnology, cybersecurity, sustainability, and climate change.

 4. Be grateful to the Divine Creator

Let us honor God recognizing that it is through His blessings that we have come this far. Cherish what you have-your parents, family, friends. May our lives be a testament to His everlasting grace.


Dear graduates, go your own way; not anxious, not impetuous, whether it is fast or slow, prosperity or adversity- just calmly and firmly move forward. Believe in your own life; not low, not overbearing, respect others and self.  Even if you have reached the top- you can always be humble.  Even in the bottom- do not lose the courage to continue climbing.  Do not degenerate. Even if life deceives you- you can still maintain human dignity and win your own respect.

Graduates of 2024, Like the rising sun-you carry hopes and dreams; like the sprout of spring- you carry vigor and vitality; like a bird on wings, you carry freedom and longing. Go forth knowing that you have been well-prepared to make a positive impact. Not why? Not how? But – why not? Congratulations and God Bless us all. Thank you! (Xie xie)