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Jiang Wins Aquino Scholarship For Academics And Leadership

Heights Staff

Published: Thursday, May 3, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01

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Natalie Blardony / For The Heights

Last night the Benigno and Corazon Aquino scholarship was awarded to Krystle Jiang, A&S ’13. The ceremony took place in the Murray Function Room between 6 and 8:30 p.m. and featured Mario Lopez de Leon, Jr., Consul General at the Philippine Consulate in New York, as the keynote speaker.

Boston College created the Asian American Scholarship (renamed the Aquino scholarship in 2010) in 1995 to recognize a college junior who has demonstrated superior academic achievement, extracurricular leadership, community service, and involvement with the Asian-American community. The scholarship was renamed to honor Benigno and Corazon Aquino, a Filipino husband and wife who led the struggle against dictatorship, repression, and injustice in their native Philippines. Benigno Aquino was elected as a senator in the Philippines before being imprisoned and later exiled to the United States for his outspoken criticism of the authoritarian regime of Ferdinand Marcos. Benigno and his wife, Corazon, settled in Chestnut Hill before Benigno returned to the Philippines in 1983 to lead the fight for democracy. Tragically, Benigno was killed during the struggle. Upon her husband’s death, Corazon herself returned to the Philippines to lead the fight, and was elected as the Philippines first female president in 1983. She continued to advocate freedom and social justice until she passed away in 2009.

The five finalists for the Aquino scholarship were: Krystle Jiang, A&S ’13; Jennifer Wanandi, A&S ’13; Terry Bustos, CSON ’13; Josh Li, CSOM ’13; and Ashley Nguyen, A&S ’13. The selection process includes application forms, essays, and interviews. As winner, Krystle Jiang will receive up to $20,000 toward her senior year tuition, while the four runners up will each receive up to $3,000 toward their senior year tuitions. Additionally, all five finalists will receive $1,000 gift certificates to the BC Bookstore.

Dean Joseph Burns delivered the opening remarks, in which he discussed the decision to rename the award. The Aquinos did “more than just being members of our community, they embodied the University’s motto: Ever to Excel.” After Burns’ comments, guests were treated to a dinner of various Asian cuisines while enjoying a performance by Calvin Chin’s Martial Arts Academy.

After dinner, keynote speaker Mario Lopez de Leon Jr. addressed the legacy of Banigno and Corazon Aquino as well as the importance of public service. De Leon is a career foreign service officer who has represented the Philippines in various countries, including the United Kingdom and South Africa. In describing the story of the Aquinos, de Leon emphasized that “to Filipinos, the names Banigno and Corazon will always be associated with freedom.” He lauded praise on both husband and wife, saying that Bagnino “blazed a trail in Filipino politics that perhaps no other Filipino politician can ever match.”
Before the winner was announced, all five finalists were introduced, and after a video of each finalist was shown explaining his or her background and commitment to Asian American culture. At last, University President Rev. William P. Leahy, S.J., took the podium to announce Jiang’s selection. He noted the difficulty of choosing between qualified candidates.

 

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