Update: Read about the visit of Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III
The College of Mount Saint Vincent is pleased to announce the upcoming visit of his Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III, President of the Republic of the Philippines, son of the late former President and alumna Corazon Aquino. During his visit, which will take place on Wednesday September 22nd, he will be conferred the Elizabeth Seton Medal at a Convocation Ceremony in his honor. The ceremony will begin at 4:00 PM in Smith Hall and will be followed by a reception attended by Trustees, Corazon Aquino scholars, classmates of President Corazon Aquino and members of Samahan, a Filipino student organization on campus. This visit will be one of the first stops he makes on his first international trip as President.
The Elizabeth Seton Medal, the College’s highest honor, is named after the native New Yorker, Saint and founder of the Sisters of Charity. It is awarded in recognition of outstanding achievements, generosity of spirit and extraordinary self-sacrifice. Since the early 1960's, the award has been given to distinguished alumnae/i, Sisters of Charity, Trustees, retiring presidents of the College, and friends of the College whose achievements, contributions, and service to others have been exceptionally meritorious. The late former President and alumna Corazon Aquino was also a recipient of this medal.
President Benigno Aquino’s history with the College of Mount Saint Vincent began before he was born when his mother, the late former President Corazon Aquino, graduated in 1953. In 1986, she returned to the College and was honored with the Elizabeth Seton Medal. Like her son, her visit took place within months of being elected President. At that time, the Corazon Aquino Scholarship was established by the College in her honor. This is a four-year, full-tuition scholarship offered to high achieving incoming students of Filipino descent. Among the College’s diverse student population, approximately 9% of undergraduate students are Filipino-American. This is among the highest percentages in the United States.
President Benigno Aquino’s recent election to President comes after over a decade of pioneering for democracy as a Representative and a Senator. As a Senator, he passed numerous bills to bring greater accountability to the Filipino government. As President, he continues his mother’s legacy in fighting poverty and corruption, such as establishing a Truth Commission to investigate government fraud.
President Aquino’s visit to the College is symbolic of his family legacy and commitment to democracy. In his inaugural presidential address, President Aquino said, “My parents sought nothing less, died for nothing less, than democracy and peace. I am blessed by this legacy. I shall carry the torch forward.”
The College now honors President Aquino, like it once honored his mother, for his commitment to democracy, advocacy to the poor, opposing corruption, and promoting peaceful change in the Philippines. During his visit, President Aquino will not only honor the institution that inspired his mother, but he will meet the countless individuals that are inspired by her each day.