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In Memoriam Washington Z. Sycip, US-Philippines Society Honorary Chair

With condolences, we share the news of the passing of the beloved Philippine business icon and thought leader who founded two institutions in the Philippines, Sycip Gorres Velayo & Company (SGV) and the Asian Institute of Management, that transformed young Filipino professionals to world-class accountants, managers, and executives.

Washington Z. Sycip

At the time of his death on October 7, 2017, at 96, Washington Z. Sycip served as Honorary Co-chair of the U.S.-Philippines Society with Mr. Hank Greenberg, consultant and advisor to the Asia Society and member of the Board of major companies in the Philippines. US-Philippines Society Director Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala noted on the passing of Wash Sycip that “he will leave a lasting legacy of progressive engagement on national issues, across social and economic lines.” The 2015 Carlos P. Romulo Award was presented to Mr. Sycip by Co-chairs Ambassador John D. Negroponte and Manuel V. Pangilinan in recognition of “his indispensable support for the US-Philippines Society and his exceptional service in strengthening ties between America and the Philippines.” Negroponte described Wash Sycip as “a truly legendary figure.”

Mr. Sycip’s link to Washington DC is explained in “Wash Only a Bookkeeper,” a biography of Washington Sycip by Jose Y. Dalisay, Jr. In 1921, his father, Albino Sycip had argued and won in the controversial “Bookkeeping Act” case before the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington DC during the pre-commonwealth period in the Philippines. “But whether it was the elation of his judicial victory or the majesty of the American capital’s statuary that inspired him, or both, Albino decided to commemorate that visit by naming his new son, ‘Washington,’ ” narrates Dalisay. For more background information, please click on this link.

Mr. Sycip graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Commerce and Master of Science in Commerce (Meritissimus) from the University of Santo Tomas Philippines and obtained a second Master of Science in Commerce from Columbia University, New York. He was conferred Doctor of Laws, Honorary degree, by the University of Melbourne, Australia in 1993; Doctor of Laws (Honoris Causa) by the University of the Philippines; Doctor of Philosophy in Financial Management, by the De La Salle University, Philippines; and Doctorate Degree in Accounting Education by the University of Santo Tomas, Philippines.

His numerous honors include the The Order of Lakandula, the Rank of Grand Cross and the Philippine Legion of Honor, Degree of Commander, both conferred by the Philippine Government; 1992 Ramon Magsaysay Award for International Understanding; the Star of the Order of Merit, conferred by the Republic of Austria; Officer First Class of the Royal Order of the Polar Star awarded by H.M. the King of Sweden in 1987; the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit (Verdienstkreuz 1. Klasse), conferred by the Federal Republic of Germany; 1967 Management Man of the Year, conferred by Management Association of the Philippines; and Accountancy Hall of Fame, conferred by Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Considered by many as mentor, advisor, father-figure, critic, and friend, he will be missed immensely.

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