Universitas CFO Dardecs Villanueva, President & CEO Oliver M. Tuazon and alumnus Jose “Pepe” Asuncion at the birthplace of Silicon Valley

PALO ALTO, CALIFORNIA—The Universitas officers’s trip to the East Coast of the United States was succeeded by a trip to the opposite side of the continent, particularly at the tech-hub of the world, the Silicon Valley.

Jose “Pepe” Asuncion, one of the beneficiaries of Universitas activities during his college days at the University of the Philippines, extended a kind invitation to Atty. Oliver M. Tuazon, Universitas President & CEO, to come over to Silicon Valley, where he now works in a mobile marketing platform. The purpose of the invitation was for Universitas to explore possible ties with Zephyr Institute and to meet and gather support from Filipinos working in the Bay Area.  Oliver, accompanied by Universitas CFO Dardecs Villanueva, flew over to the East Coast after completing their course on the Moral Foundations of Law in Princeton.

Pepe picked them up at the San Jose international airport in the evening of Saturday, August 4, 2018 and arranged for their lodgings.  Over breakfast the next day, August 5, Oliver met Mr. Matt Bowman, the Executive Director of Zephyr Institute, which provides activities that aim to promote human flourishing and humanistic culture among the techies of Silicon Valley and the students of Stanford University.  Staffed by an alumna of Stanford, Judy Romea, the Institute has been providing talks and courses in line with such objective, and get-togethers with prominent individuals who exemplify the balance they try to help the beneficiaries achieve between their personal and professional lives.

The President & CEO of Universitas, Atty. Oliver M. Tuazon, with the Executive Director of Zephyr Institute, Mr. Matt Bowman

Matt Bowman explains a point to Universitas’ CFO, Dardecs Villanueva, in Zephyr’s open lawn, which they use for talks and get-togethers

The next day, August 6, before going to the office of Zephyr Institute, Matt himself gave Oliver and Dardecs a tour of Stanford University, a couple of blocks away from the office, with an “obligatory” visit to the Stanford Law School, considering that Oliver is a lawyer and Dardecs a bar candidate. Interestingly, during their trip to New Haven, Angelo Porciuncula (a Universitas alumnus who is now working at the medicine department of Yale) gave them a tour of Yale University, where they also had the chance of visiting the Yale Law School.

Dardecs and Oliver at the Stanford Law School.

Dardecs and Oliver at the Yale Law School

At the Zephyr office, Oliver and Dardecs discussed with Matt possible ties between Universitas and Zephyr Institute which could take the form of attendance to courses, outreach by techy-Zephyr fellows in the Philippines, and internships. Before the end of the visit, they managed to finalize an agreement where Universitas would be sending its Media Officer, Mary Grace Cruz, as an intern to Zephyr Institute.

Pepe and his wife, Daniela, also organized an early dinner meeting on Sunday, August 5, with Filipinos or Americans of Filipino descent at a Filipino restaurant in the Bay Area called Kalesa. The Universitas officers were treated to a Filipino meal of sisig, pansit palabok, lumpia, among other dishes, with the symbolic special halo-halo for dessert. Oliver used the PowerPoint presentation made by Mary Grace to explain to them the nature, purpose and programs of Universitas. Dardecs later gave them copies of the brochure he made summarizing the Naming Rights and Funds Agreements offered by Universitas. Given the tropical climate in the Philipppines and the need to create a conducive venue for more fellows to attend the activities of Universitas, one of the Fil-Ams in attendance promised to ask his family (the Keen Family) to donate the air-conditioning units needed in the foundation’s office.  Everyone was encouraged to look for possible donors in the area to help sustain the activities of Universitas, which hopes to form principled leaders that will occupy key positions in both public and private sectors in society. The example of Pepe, as a former beneficiary of Universitas and who now holds a leadership position in his tech company in Silicon Valley, helped a great deal in encouraging support for Universitas.

With a Fil-Am community at the Bay Area

Before the said get-together, Pepe and Daniela also showed Oliver and Dardecs the birthplace of Silicon Valley: a garage where William Hewlett and David Packard started their first product, which led to what is now known as Hewlett-Packard (HP). They likewise brought them to Google park which shows the various dessert-themes of their android products. They have not managed to visit the other big tech companies in the area due to lack of time, but they hope to gather support among these companies for Universitas, so that they all contribute, in whatever way they can, in promoting the development of principled leaders.

Oliver and Dardecs at the android park of Google

At the end of the two short-but-sweet trips, Pepe’s wife, Daniela, agreed to be Universitas’ officer for international linkages in the East Coast of the United States.  She will also be facilitating Mary Grace’s internship at Zephyr Institute in the coming months. For more information regarding various ways of supporting Universitas, please visit our support page.

With Daniela and Pepe Asuncion over lunch at Wahlburgers, a burger joint of Hollywood star Mark Wahlberg

NOTA BENE: The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author, and the speakers mentioned in the article, and not necessarily to the Foundation.

Be our partner in forming principled leaders!

Universitas is a non-stock, non-profit organization relying heavily on the financial support of donors like you. Donations of any amount are very much appreciated, and would form part of the funds to be used for education, research, social welfare and outreach, and other endeavors aimed ultimately at the formation of future leaders who are competent, with the right character and a well-formed conscience.

Support Universitas today, and it only takes a minute!