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His Grace, Most Reverend Paciano Aniceto, Archbishop Emeritus of San Fernando and Chairman of the Board of Holy Angel University; Father Dante Lumabas; members of the Nepomuceno family; students, faculty, staff, administrators, and trustees of Holy Angel University; friends and guests of the University: Good evening.

I would like to begin by reading a quote from writer John Walter Wayland.

The True Gentleman is the man whose conduct proceeds from good will and an acute sense of propriety and whose self-control is equal to all emergencies; who does not make the poor man conscious of his poverty, the obscure man of his obscurity, or any man of his inferiority or deformity; who is himself humbled if necessity compels him to humble another; who does not flatter wealth, cringe before power, or boast of his own possessions or achievements; who speaks with frankness but always with sincerity and sympathy; whose deed follows his word; who thinks of the rights and feelings of others rather than his own; and who appears well in any company; a man with whom honor is sacred and virtue safe.

I find only a handful of men, outside of Attorney Jesus Javier Gomez Nepomuceno (our "Uncle Jave"), who exemplify the ideal that Mr. Wayland expressed in his definition of the true gentleman. I will not repeat Uncle Jave's biography, which you may read in the Mass card. Most of us know of the 13-year-old boy who had the audacity to ask his father to create a new school in Angeles City for him … and his friends … and his teachers. Our lobbyists today would have learned a few tricks about win-win negotiations from Uncle Jave.

In 1933, who would have thought that the school that his father founded, the first Catholic school in the Philippines founded by the laity, would 84 years later become the emerging voice of independent Catholic universities in the nation showing that lay-led institutions can be as well managed and as influential as the diocesan and congregation-founded schools?

Who would have imagined that a school with only 78 students during its first year would become one of the largest Catholic universities in the Philippines, the largest private autonomous university in Central Luzon, and the nation’s eighth best private university in terms of graduates’ performance in professional licensure examinations?

Given his and Tita Cion's staunch fidelity to the Catholic faith, who would have thought that the university whose founding he inspired would be the first and only Catholic university in the Philippines to be included in the Cardinal Newman Society’s Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College?

?I had met Uncle Jave twice in his condo in the heart of San Francisco's Chinatown district, each time giving him reports about how his beloved Holy Angel had done the year just past. In what would have been my forthcoming visit to him in May, I would have asked him if he had ever imagined that the school which had placed quality education front and center since day one would be the only recipient in 2016 of the nation’s highest award for quality and organizational excellence—the Philippine Quality Award?

My visits to Uncle Jave had been rather up-close-and-personal encounters with a man whose humility, lucidity, and simplicity are beyond compare. Although he did not want me to bring any gift items, I would nonetheless bring him his favorite apple pie and sundae from McDonald’s, both of which he did not resist.

During my first visit, my wife and I recall being in awe when Uncle Jave recounted every detail of the early days of Holy Angel, his insights of the other university in Angeles City, and his decades with the Ayalas. Had it been technologically possible to download his brain onto one flash drive, one terabyte would not have been enough.

During my second visit in May of 2016, I vividly recall the big smile on his face when I handed to him his personal DVD copy of the Juan and Nena Nepomusikal, which he said his the greatest treat that he had ever received for some time. That smile on his face will forever be sketched in my memory as my last memory of Uncle Jave. At that time, I promised that, on my next visit, I would bring with me his personal copy of Ari: My Life with a King.

Going back to the quote on the True Gentleman with which I began a while ago, Uncle Jave had many, many reasons to be proud of. But humility had been one of his marks. Many of us know that Uncle Jave donated a major portion of his estate to a scholarship fund for undergraduate Accountancy students. What you probably do not know is that he had only one stipulation for his scholarship recipients – that they pray for him everyday. Uncle Jave epitomized the true Angelite – a person of conscience, competence, and compassion – and I believe that I speak for the Holy Angel University community if I refer to him as our first Angelite!

Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, the great second-century theologian, expressed the essence of Christianity in one sentence: "The glory of God is a man fully alive, and the life of man is the vision of God!" We thank God for allowing us to behold Him and experience His presence through the life of Uncle Jave. Jesus Javier Nepomuceno y Gomez, Uncle Jave, we thank you for making that simple request of your father our Founder, without which we would not have been gathered today as a university community.

And to all of you here, on behalf of the Holy Angel University community, thank you all for joining us in honoring Uncle Jave our first Angelite and thanking him for his contribution to Holy Angel University.

Laus Deo Semper!

Date Posted: 02-26-2017