Oscar M. LopezLopez Group chairman emeritus Oscar M. Lopez (OML) received an honorary doctor of laws degree, the University of the Philippines’ highest academic distinction, on April 22, 2012, 44 years after another Lopez was conferred the same honor.
The distinction was conferred during the state university’s 101st general commencement exercises held at the University Amphitheater. OML’s father Eugenio Lopez Sr., who earned his bachelor of laws degree from UP in 1923, also received the same honor in April 1968.
The award was given for OML’s “distinguished service to learning and to humankind through his lifelong passion for biodiversity conservation which fires his generous support for research in the biological sciences….” His advocacy helps “strengthen the science of plant taxonomy, tropical forest ecology and wildlife biology in our country,” the university said.
In his speech, the chairman emeritus emphasized the importance of protecting the environment from further harm and of protecting humanity from the harm they have wrought on the environment. “For in abusing our environment, we have made ourselves vulnerable to the undesirable effects of that abuse,” OML said.
The chairman emeritus revealed that Lopez Group Foundation Inc. is in talks to establish a center for collaborative research on climate change and natural hazards. The aim is “to encourage and fund research undertakings by scientific faculty and students in the country’s major academic institutions…and to encourage joint research undertakings between those academic institutions, as well as between the academe and government.”
“…The ultimate and overriding objective is, and will always be, to save lives and to take our people out of harm’s way,” OML stressed.
In 2010, the chairman emeritus was also awarded honorary doctorate degrees by Ateneo de Manila and De La Salle University.
Meanwhile, in March, OML was one of the guest speakers for a reunion of Filipino Harvard alumni held at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel. Harvard Spring gathered some 600 men and women who attended the Harvard schools, such as the Kennedy School of Government; Education; Law; and Business.
OML became the first Filipino to receive a Harvard honors degree as an undergraduate in 1951. In 1955, he earned a master’s degree in Public Administration from Harvard’s Littauer School of Public Administration, along with his elder brother Eugenio Lopez Jr., who completed his MBA.
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