Mighty @ 80

Two USC Schools are at the top of their game as they turn 80.

On their jubilee year, the School of Business and Economics and the School of Law and Governance have all the right reasons to celebrate. Like the mighty and proud Golden Gate Bridge spanning the cities of Oakland and San Francisco, California, two of the University’s revered institutions weathered the elements and survived at the top to turn 80 this year.

They share three things in common: courage, grit, and faith in the Almighty. In June 1937, the College of Commerce and the College of Law were opened at the then little-known Colegio de San Carlos. This was barely a week or two after the Golden Gate Bridge was inaugurated, thanks to cement from sources that included our very own Cebu Portland in Naga.

Divine Word Missionaries had just taken over the administration of San Carlos two years before. With a steady trove of topnotchers in their storied history, there was no other way to mark 80 than to be on top. And this they did, gifting their beloved Alma Mater with not just 100 percent passing in the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) board and Bar examinations but also landing on top, adding more sizzle to the hot summer month of May when the results were released this year.

From left: Fiona Cristy Lao (3rd place), Karen Mae Calam (1st), Anne Margaret Momongan (7th), and Jefferson Gomez (8th).

Karen Mae Calam topped the Bar examinations, the most difficult of all national government examinations in the country, with an astounding rate of 89.05. Four weeks later, cousins Vianca Pearl I. Amores and Jesus B. del Rio topped the CPA board examinations with identical ratings of 92.67.

Calam, Amores, and del Rio were not the only ones to land in the top ten of their respective grueling examinations. Calam shared the honor with fellow Law graduates Fiona Cristy Lao (88.88, third place), Anne Margaret Momongan (87.8, seventh), and Jefferson Gomez (87.7, eighth). Amores and del Rio, on the other hand, were joined in second place by Jessa C. Bermudo who got 92.50 percent, Alyanna Kate V. Buenavista and Maaku W. Saito (91.83, fourth), and Cristiemay V. Vertudazo (90, tenth). This was the first time in the history of the CPA examinations that two first placers, who happen to be cousins, came from the same institution. USC also raked in 100 percent passing for all its graduates who took the examinations for the first time.

Standing (from left): Maaku Saito (4th place), Jesus del Rio (1st). Seated (from left): Jessa Bermudo (2nd), Alyanna Kate Buenavista (4th), Vianca Pearl Amores (1st), Cristiemay Vertudazo (10th)

As if these “firsts” were not enough, this was also the first time in history that none of the Manila-based schools made it to the top in the Bar examinations. In the CPA board examinations, only two Manila schools made it to the top.

To date, the College of Law has produced nearly 25 top placers in the Bar examinations, starting with Pablo Garcia, former Cebu governor and former deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, who ranked third in the 1951 examinations at 91.5 percent, sharing the honor with Amadio Neri in fourth place and Fortunato Vailoces in fifth place.

In last year’s Bar examinations, USC almost made it to first place as its graduate, Athena Plaza, placed second with a grade of 87.25 percent, just a fraction shy of the 87.40 percent garnered by first placer Rachel Angeli Miranda of the University of the Philippines Diliman. Plaza shared the honor with classmate Jecca Jacildo who ranked eighth with 85.5 percent. Their performance, together with an overall passing percentage of 81.25 percent was but a portent of things to come.

In the CPA board examinations, USC now has nearly a hundred placers. Its first placers in the past were Vicente Tiu (1983), Ailene Y. Lim (1988), and Sai Bo Lau (1995).

by J. Eleazar R. Bersales (Editor, Verbo magazine)

Tags: Law, Business and Economics, Alumni

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