University of the Philippines Los Baños
Tuesday, 07 June 2016 00:00

UP BOR approves honorary degree for former Regent NT Gonzalez


The UP Board of Regents has approved the conferment of Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) upon former UP Regent Nelia T. Gonzalez at its 1318th meeting on May 27.

The honorary degree is conferred upon individuals for their outstanding performance in their fields and exemplary service to their fellowmen. UP President Alfredo E. Pascual, in an official correspondence to Gonzalez, said that the University took special note of her exemplary achievements, advocacies and contributions to the society and the University that made her deserving of the honorary degree.

“It is in recognition of the depth and breadth of your career and the reach and influence of your outstanding initiatives and civic involvements as agriculturist, entrepreneur, business leader, and public servant,” said President Pascual.

Gonzalez expressed her happiness at hearing the news. “It is a great honor and privilege, actually I’m bereft of words,” she said.

“It means to me life itself. And when I say life, it means love and concern for others. So, in your daily life, if you find that there are so many things that one can see to help the poor, especially the farmers, the fisherfolks, it gives you life,” said a profoundly touched Ms. Gonzalez, when asked what the honorary award means to her.

“After graduation from college, I never thought of gaining recognition for myself. I thought of what I could do to enhance the capabilities that the Lord has so kindly given me.” she continued.

Ms. Gonzalez earned her BS Agriculture from the UP College of Agriculture in 1944. She has pioneered agribusiness and entrepreneurial ventures, served the government in various capacities and championed socio-civic causes.

Among the long list of business breakthroughs credited to her as the prime mover are the establishment of Phil Hi Bred, Inc. and NELPHIL Marketing, Inc. She had served as vice president and general manager of the agribusiness division of Republic Flour Mills, Inc. (now RFM Corporation) and she is presently the president of Asiaworld Properties Philippine Corporation.

Ms. Gonzalez held the positions of assistant minister of agriculture and director of the then Bureau of Cooperatives from 1980 to 1986.  She has continued her advocacies through her roles in numerous organizations such as the Philippine Constitution Association, Manila Overseas Press Club, Small Enterprises Research and Development Foundation, Coalition of Agriculture Modernization in the Philippines and National Council of Women of the Philippines.

In UP, Ms. Gonzalez is known to be a member of the BOR from 1993 to 1998 and 2004 to 2009.

Her conferment ceremony will take place during the 44th UPLB Commencement Exercises on June 25 at the DL Umali Freedom Park. (Mark Jayson E. Gloria)