UNO-R School of Law awards legal luminaries at 75th Diamond Anniversary celebration

Photos by Carla N. Cañet
L31 law students with former Bacolod City Mayor Evelio “Bing” Leonardia
L31 law students with former Bacolod City Mayor Evelio “Bing” Leonardia
The School of Law awarded 75 alumni with St. Nicholas of Tolentine Distinguished Awards as legal luminaries.
The School of Law awarded 75 alumni with St. Nicholas of Tolentine Distinguished Awards as legal luminaries.
The UNO-R School of Law Student Council officers led by President Amy Grace Gayotin Gargar (4th from left).
The UNO-R School of Law Student Council officers led by President Amy Grace Gayotin Gargar (4th from left).
President Amy Grace Gayotin Gargar at the center took this aerial 360 shot of the attendees during the celebration.| Amy Grace Gayotin Gargar photo
President Amy Grace Gayotin Gargar at the center took this aerial 360 shot of the attendees during the celebration.| Amy Grace Gayotin Gargar photo

The University of Negros Occidental - Recoletos School of Law awarded distinguished legal luminaries who have served the legal profession and those in public service during their 75th Diamond anniversary celebration held at the SMX Convention Center, SM City Bacolod on May 25.

The celebration spanned a week to celebrate the milestone of this educational institution which established its College of Law in 1948, two years after World War II ended.

It has produced thousands of lawyers and two lady lawyers Atty. Lily Uy Valencia, No.2 Bar Topnotcher and Atty. Andrea Lizares Si was the No. 6 Bar Topnotcher.

Atty. Dodie O. Turla, Dean of the School of Law with University President Rev. Fr. Joel Alve, OAR, the School of Law Student Council President Amy Grace Gayotin Gargar, and her fellow officers led the celebration that successfully gathered graduates of the UNO-R School of Law from the ’70s, the ’80s, '90s, and onwards.

Dean Turla said we are celebrating a milestone for reaching 75 years of legal excellence and the legacy of being the pioneer law school in the Negros Island in producing lawyers.

“75 years in existence is a feat, regardless of the criteria. Of course, there were ups and downs along the way. Obviously, the glorious days when the UNO-R School of Law produced Topnotchers in the likes of Atty. Lily Uy Valencia and Atty. Andrea Lizares Si. And why it has been 32 years since UNO-R School of Law made its last contributions to the front page of the Bar exam results, still did not stop the UNO-R School of Law in still producing quality lawyers. They are now successful in their respective fields, be it in the government service or in the private sector, and made positive impacts on society. They embodied the values and principles instilled in them by our esteemed institution. Indeed, a glaring proof of legal excellence and enduring legacy.”

But in every endeavor, sustainability is always a concern, and being the cheapest in terms of tuition fees among the law schools in the country, we are hard-pressed to deliver. However, this did not deter us from finding ways. The thing is, if the School of Law was able to thrive in 75 years given the same predicament, then there is no proper excuse not to do so in the succeeding years, he said.

One way to succeed in law school was for the students not to be engulfed by entitlement. Following the teachings of St. Augustine, values should matter as the same will be carried over once they become lawyers. 

Admittedly, this is an arduous task that he cannot complete alone. And no person can accomplish this either simply because nobody is perfect and no one has a monopoly on everything. To accomplish all of these things, a collaborative effort is needed. And so, I appeal to you our dearest Alumni for your support to compliment students and unite efforts in the common task and that is to make the UNO-R School of Law a premier law school in the country. 

“We need your support during the Bar Operations. “We are doing this for you. I completely understand that the one seeking support must likewise be deserving of it. No one of our students will graduate unless they possess the qualities of being Ma-alam, (knowledgeable of the laws), Mabu-ot, (No Attitude Problem), and Mapisan or Masipag (hardworking). When they graduate and become

lawyers, they will become worthy contributions of the UNO-R School of Law to the society,” he said.

“To all our Alumni, our students are worth investing in,” he said.

Dean Turla thanked the Student Council Officers and the sponsors who made this grand celebration possible.

AWARDEES

The School of Law awarded 75 alumni with St. Nicholas of Tolentine Distinguished Awards as Legal Luminaries.

Former Bacolod City Mayor Evelio R. Leonardia was among the awardees in his contribution to public service.

Rev. Fr. Alive said, “Congratulations to all the awardees. Your success is a testament to your dedication, integrity, and the profound values that were instilled in you by our beloved Alma Mater. As graduates of the UNO-R School of Law, you have carried with you, the emblem of Caritas et Scientia Charity and Knowledge). These guiding principles have shaped you into lawyers who served both the fear and love of the Lord with unwavering humility.”

“Your journey as a lawyer has been marked by a steadfast commitment to justice and a deep compassion for those you served. You have performed your task with a spirit of humility always mindful of the greater good. The Augustinian values you have imbibed have set you apart from the rest of the lawyers in the world, making you true exemplars of justice and mercy.

“St. Augustine once said,” An unjust law is no law at all.” This reminds us that your duty as lawyers is not only to uphold human laws but also to align them with the Divine law to ensure that love and justice prevail in all our endeavors. Also continue to defend the poor in the eyes of the law, advocating for them with truth and love.”*

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