Recognizing an eminent individual who has significant contribution to institutions and society, for the first time in history, Filamer Christian University (FCU), bestowed the academic world's highest award, doctor honoris causa or honorary doctorate, Doctor of Pedagogy (D. Ped), to one of the prime movers and influencers of the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches (CPBC), Rev. Sharon Rose Joy Ruiz-Duremdes.
The conferment was done during the 2017 Higher Education Commencement Exercises of the University last April 7 in which the honorand was also the Commencement Speaker. In her speech delivered to hundreds of graduates, Rev. Dr. Duremdes challenged them of their role in transforming the world.
“I have read somewhere that millennials are achievers. My question is, achieve what? I would like to believe that your generation understands achievement as making life livable for others especially the needy, the poor, and the afflicted,” emphasized Duremdes.
“FCU graduates of 2017 have taken transformation as our clarion call, I wish to remind all of us today that if we are to be faithful to that call, we must perceive life with a bias. We need to be painfully aware of the forms that prick and hurt our people – those who are persecuted for their principles, those who are discriminated against for their gender, their ethnicity, their sexual preference, their self expression. Those who are killed upon mere suspicion, those who refuse to align themselves with the powers that be,” added the honorand.
In her message, Duremdes also stressed to the graduates the virtue of compassion towards those who are marginalized and are eased out of the mainstream. "Our degrees and positions will mean nothing, our learnings from FCU will come to naught if these are not accompanied with acts of compassion," said Duremdes.
“I have always believe that to transform the world and define the future is to comfort the disturb and to disturb the comfortable, a quality evident in the lifestyle of Jesus the Christ,” pointed out Duremdes.
Living an exemplary life, Rev. Dr. Duremdes has numerous outstanding accomplishments under her belt. Graduated at the top of her class in elementary and high school at Central Philippine University (CPU), and Magna Cum Laude, Bachelor of Arts at the same university in 1968. She attained her Master of Arts in Speech Communication at the University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii, 1970; and Master in Religious Education at the American Baptist Seminary of the West, Berkeley, California, USA, 1973. She has worked at CPU as staff, faculty, coordinator, and Officer-In-Charge of the Chaplain's Office. She is also connected to different institutions and has functioned in various capacities, first lay woman General Secretary of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines, General Secretary of the Kapatirang Simbahan para sa Bayan, Executive Director of Ecumenical Center for Development, Secretary of Overseas Mission Commission of the CPBC, Youth Minister of First Baptist Church in San Francisco, California, USA, Graduate Assistant of the Department of Speech Communication at University of Hawaii, USA, Secretary of the Baptist Radio-TV Station in Semarang, Indonesia, to name a few.
Rev. Dr. Duremdes also obtained several awards and recognitions in relation to her meritorious service to different institutions and to society, some of them include: Gawad Pagkilala at Pagpupugay, Ecumenical Women's Jubilee, National Council of Churches in the Philippines, Outstanding Young Woman of Iloilo Province, Most Outstanding Lay Person of the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches, Outstanding Alumna of Central Philippine University, Outstanding Baptist Woman of the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches, Diamond Jubilee Award for Meritorious Service of the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches, Dramatist of the Year, Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines, National Winner in Essay Writing contest sponsored by the Central Bank of the Philippines.
She has been an active member and officer of several organizations here and abroad such as Convenor of the Joint Committee of the Christian Conference of Asia and the United Nations Ecumenical Service in Asia and the Pacific, Regional Chairperson of the Protestants Propagating Human Enlightenment for the Transformation of Society, Founding Member of the Association of Women in Theology - Visayas Chapter, National Chairperson of the Kapatirang Simbahan para sa Bayan, President of the Federation of Convention Baptist Women's Missionary Unions, Vice Chairperson of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines, Member of the General Committee of the Christian Conference of Asia, Vice President of the Christian Literature Society of the Philippines, Member of CPU Corporation.
Rev. Dr. Duremdes' speaking engagements in international gatherings span for decades. She has been invited as either keynote speaker, lecturer, facilitator, presenter of papers, preacher. Some of these include: Mutual Involvement Program of Philippine and Dutch Churches, The Netherlands; Journalist Study Exchange Program in Germany; World Congress of the Baptist World Alliance in Seoul, Korea; Los Angeles, California; and Toronto, Canada; Quinquennial Assembly of Asian Baptist Women's Union in Manila; Jakarta, Indonesia; Bangkok, Thailand; and Hongkong; Christian Conference of Asia Dialogue with American Churches on the Human Rights Situation in Asia After 9/11, New York, USA; Human Rights Update in the following countries: United Kingdom; Oslo, Norway; Copenhagen, Denmark; Stockholm and Uppsala, Sweden; Montreal, Canada; Tokyo, Japan, and Geneva, Switzerland; Commission Meetings of the Baptist World Alliance Human Rights Commission, Singapore and Amman, Jordan; World Student Christian Federation Women's Conference in Cairo, Egypt; Theological Consultation on Mission, Christian Conference of Asia, India; International Conference on Asian Peace and the Urban Rural Mission in the 21st Century, Seoul, Korea; International Ecumenical Church Conference on Peace and Human Rights in the Philippines, Washington DC, USA; Young Women Doing Theology, World Council of Churches, Bossey, Switzerland; Consultation on Gospel and Culture, World Council of Churches, Malaga, Spain. She also has local speaking engagements at FCU, CPU, NCCP, CPBC, to name a few.
The title Doctor of Pedagogy or D. Ped. is awarded to outstanding practitioners and exponents who have advanced the frontiers of the science and art of pedagogy or teaching. With her exceptional and remarkable track record worthy of emulation, and whose life has inspired and touched the many, Filamer believes that Rev. Dr. Sharon Rose Joy Ruiz-Duremdes duly deserves the honorary degree, Doctor Honoris Causa, Doctor of Pedagogy. FCU, being granted Autonomous Status by the Commission on Higher Education, has the privilege to confer the award with the approval of the Board of Trustees.