Dr. Lucio C. Tan, the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of the University of the East, was recently conferred the degree of Doctor, honoris causa, by Japan’s Soka University.
Dr. Tan, who had been the UE Chairman-CEO since 2008, was recognized by the Tokyo, Japan-based Soka University for his invaluable contribution to Philippine education through UE as well as through the UE Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center Inc., the Tan Yan Kee Foundation Inc. and the Foundation for Upgrading the Standard of Education Inc. Dr. Tan is likewise the Chairman of UERMMMCI and TYKFI, and the Vice Chairman of FUSE.
The conferment ceremony, which took place in the morning of March 7, 2017, had as participants and witnesses Soka University’s top officials led by President Yoshihisa Baba; Tan family members; key officers of UE and FUSE and other members of the Lucio Tan Group of Companies; and SU students.
Dr. Tan has been involved in education for at least the last three decades, having put education at the center of the LT Group of Companies’ corporate social responsibility programs, and ensuring that relevant LT Group teams work together to help improve the quality of education.
The main group shot here shows Dr. Lucio C. Tan at the end of the conferment ceremony at Soka University with (from far left) FUSE President Fr. Onofre G. Inocencio Jr., SDB, UE Caloocan Chancellor Zosimo M. Battad, UE Manila Chancellor Linda Santiago, UE Vice Chairman Jaime J. Bautista, UE President Ester A. Garcia, his wife Mrs. Carmen K. Tan, and Soka University (SU) President Yoshihisa Baba, SU Chairman of the Board Yasunori Tashiro, Soka Women’s College President Keiko Ishikawa, SU Vice President Ryohei Tanaka, SU Senior Trustee and Executive Director for Administration Yoshihide Akiya, and SU Administrative Director (International Affairs Office) Hiroki Shimoide.
Other members of Dr. Tan’s delegation include Soka Gakkai International Philippines Director General Hisako Alcantara and Vice Director General Eduardo Tan, and Dr. Tan’s daughters Karlu Tan-Say and Sheila Tan-Pascual and sons-in-law Ramon Pascual and Amen Say.
Through the UE-TYKFI scholarship program, which marks its 30th year in 2018, thousands of scholarships and grants have been provided to financially challenged but academically deserving UE students and professors. TYKFI itself, which was named after Dr. Tan’s late father Tan Yan Kee, renders education-related corporate social responsibility by donating school buildings and facilities. A complement to all this is FUSE, which the LT Group established in 1994 to help improve the skills of English, Science and Mathematics teachers through comprehensive training, research and advocacy.
Dr. Tan is the latest individual from the Philippines to be conferred an honorary doctor degree by Soka University, following former Presidents Corazon C. Aquino and Fidel V. Ramos, former Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide Jr., and University of the Philippines President Jose V. Abueva.
The occasion also saw the signing of an academic partnership-expanding memorandum of understanding, signed by Soka University President Yoshihisa Baba and Chairman Yasunori Tashiro (2nd and 1st from left), and UE Chairman Lucio Tan and President Ester Garcia (3rd and 4th from left), with (back, from far left) Soka Gakkai International-Philippines Vice General Director Eduardo Tan, UE Vice Chairman Jaime Bautista, Mrs. Carmen Tan and SGI-Philippines Director General Hisako Alcantara as key witnesses.
In his acceptance speech, Dr. Tan expressed being “humbled by this honorary degree that recognizes my life’s work to help improve the quality of education in my country.” He said that he and SU Founding President Daisaku Ikeda both “dream of making the world better. And what better way to make the world better than to invest our energy, wisdom and resources into educating the youth?” He then said that the degree “in fact, [honors] all of us in UE, UERM, TYKFI, FUSE and the rest of the LT Group.”
Aside from the honorary Doctor degree, which came with the prestigious SU medal of honor and a citation, Dr. Tan was also conferred the Soka Friendship Award by the SU student body. The occasion also saw the signing of an academic partnership-expanding memorandum of understanding, signed by SU President Baba and Chairman Yasunori Tashiro, and UE Chairman Tan and President Garcia.
With family members and officials, representatives and members of the University of the East, the Tan Yan Kee Foundation Inc., the Foundation for Upgrading the Standards of Education Inc., other member-companies of the Lucio Tan Group of Companies, Soka Gakkai International-Philippines
Founded by Dr. Daisaku Ikeda, Soka University was opened on April 2, 1971, “to carry on the legacy of the value-creating educational philosophy” of Soka (“value creation” in Japanese) educational philosophy originator Tsunesaburo Makiguchi and his successor Josei Toda. Soka University is one of Japan’s “Super Global Universities,” certified with a global seal from Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) to undertake internationalization.
Dr. Ikeda himself was conferred by UE with the honorary degree of Doctor of Humanities on September 30, 2014—a highlight of the University’s 68th Foundation Anniversary. The conferment was a way of citing, among his many other accomplishments, how far Dr. Ikeda has come and how much he and his global foundation Soka Gakkai International have progressed in making our world a world of peace.