National Scientist Dr. Edgardo Gomez received the Honorary Degree, honoris causa, last Feb. 10 at the Claire Isabel McGill-Luce Auditorium.
Dr. Gomez’ pioneering leadership in the nationwide survey and assessment of the Philippine coral reef system in the 1970s provided both opportunities and challenges to marine scientists, government agencies, civil society, and international organizations.
Dr. Gomez finished his bachelor’s degree in education, major in English and Social Science, summa cum laude, from De La Salle University; his master’s degree in Biology from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota; and doctorate degree in Marine Biology from University of California in San Diego.
He was also the founding director of the Marine Science Institute at the University of the Philippines upon his return after his doctorate studies.
Dr. Gomez assisted in the professional development of younger colleagues in the areas of marine biology and oceanography, and provided an avenue where faculty members from different universities in the Philippines can pursue graduate studies.
His strong environmental campaign helped save from extinction several species of the Philippine giant clams, including the largest, the Tridacna gigas.
Dr. Gomez ended his speech by saying, “Filipino scientist can and should be world class.” He also added, “Success in institution building in a society which is also undergoing the trials and tribulations of nation building is underpinned by collaboration rather than by competition.”
An honorary degree is the highest form of academic recognition given to an individual of national and international stature by the University. A Doctor of Science, honoris causa, is awarded in recognition of a substantial and sustained contribution to scientific knowledge beyond that required for a Ph.D.