Forty years ago, in the summer of 1977, an organizational meeting, spearheaded by Solomon Exmundo, was held in Toronto.
Geny Toribio recalls that it all started when, by a happy coincidence, several young graduates of the University of the Philippines found themselves living in an apartment enclave in Don Mills, not far from the Ontario Science Centre. They were around the same age, in their late twenties, and had known each other on campus, having been in the same college or in the same classes, or the same fraternities. The strong bonds formed then inspired them to continue to uphold the ideals and traditions of their Alma Mater in their adopted country. Thus was launched the UP Alumni Association in Metro Toronto.
Now a well- established pillar of the Filipino community, the UPAA Toronto is very much engaged. It is one of the founders of the Philippine Association of Universities and Colleges, and enthusiastically supports its many projects, in particular, the annual picnic and sports fest. It participates actively in cultural and civic affairs and endeavours to promote the interests of Filipinos in the larger Canadian community.
Within the association itself, the current president, Alice Herrera, is intent on fostering stronger bonds among the members and encouraging them to pursue common interests and goals for their mutual benefit. The many social gatherings that bring the members together for fellowship also provide the opportunity for professional and business networking. The Kapihan (Brunch) is more like a family gathering. Pub Night is a more sophisticated milieu and encourages the younger career-oriented alumni to network with more established professionals and businessmen. The UPAA is also a very active member of the Association of Philippine Universities and enthusiastically participates in the annual sports fest and picnic, attended by graduates of various Philippine universities.
Since its inception, the UPAA Toronto has strengthened its ties with its Alma Mater and maintains a meaningful engagement by “giving back.” It has launched two successful projects:
- An Endowment Fund is a sustainable scholarship program for deserving UP students. This fund is held in perpetuity. Currently, UPAA Toronto is providing assistance in the form of monthly allowances to seven deserving scholars.
- The UP Professorial Chair provides subsidies to professors and instructors in different Colleges to ensure their continuing service in the faculty.
To raise funds for these worthy causes, the UPAA holds a golf tournament. Tee UP High was initiated in 2010 and is held annually, the latest in May 2017.
Many graduates have distinguished themselves in their fields of endeavour and the UPAA has recognized these outstanding alumni from time to time. But there are many graduates who have also lived up to the ideals and accomplished much without having their contributions recognized. That is the UP SPIRIT and we salute you, the UP grad, on the 40th anniversary of the UPAA.