Weekly Series

Xavier Ateneo Graduates under the Howard Scholarship Program

US-Philippines Society Founding Director and Honorary Consul Henry B. Howard (center), Fr Mars P Tan and guests in a discussion at the conference room of the XU Senior High School library, Cagayan de Oro, Philippines. Photo credit: Xavier University (Ateneo de Cagayan) Philippines

The Henry H. Howard and Gertrude L. Bagley Scholarship Program of Xavier University (Ateneo de Cagayan) announced the 2022 Xavier Ateneo Scholars Graduates having completed college degrees in education, English Language, Management Accounting, Biology and Nursing including four with honors. Now on its 21st year, the scholarship program was established to provide a bachelor’s degree education to approximately 150 “poorest of the poor” public high school graduates from Mindanao and Sulu. About 50% of the undergraduate students are of the Islamic faith, 25% are Lumads and 25% are Christians or of no religious affiliation persons from Mindanao. Many of the Islamic students previously received a Kennedy-Lugar 4th year high school exchange student scholarship and attended 4th year high school in the United States as AFS exchange students.

Benefactor and former Xavier Ateneo student Henry B. Howard has committed his time and resources worth over $1.75 million to the program. He recalled fond memories as a young Xavier Ateneo student in Cagayan de Oro, and shared how grateful he was to the people who helped him. When he arrived in the Philippines as a 17-year old American Field Service (AFS) exchange student school year 1974-1975 at Xavier University High School – Ateneo De Cagayan, no one at the school knew about the AFS nor that he was to attend school there. AFS New York HQ had sent him halfway around the world from Baltimore.

A school official said to Henry B. Howard, “Who is going to pay your tuition? Come back tomorrow. We will think it over.”

“I don’t have any money,” Howard replied.

The next day, the school official said, “We will give you a scholarship. We think it will be good for the boys in the school to interact with you and for you to learn about the Philippines. So, welcome and get a military style haircut across the street.”

Since graduating high school there, Director Howard has maintained his bond with the university and the Philippines. In July, he visited Cagayan de Oro and joined his batch’s high school reunion and discussed plans of a very promising Campus of the Future. He was received by University President, Fr Mars P Tan, SJ, together with other university officials. Also joining them was a party from Cebu Landmasters, Inc, represented by Chief Operating Officer Mr. Franco Soberano.

The late Senator Nene Pimentel and current Chief of AFS Philippines Bonnie Guerra recruited students from among the poorest of the poor. When students dropped out, they are tracked down to determine the reason for withdrawal from the program. Students experienced drug addiction, demanding farm work and family obligations, pregnancy or death and disability of a parent. To keep students enrolled in the program, Director Howard provided monthly stipend to families until their son/s graduated and daycare assistance for the student’s children until their mother graduated.

The Howard-Bagley Scholarship provides each bachelor degree student with tuition assistance, books, room and board, medical and dental care, laptop computer and one round trip by bus or ship to home per year. The scholarship also pays for review courses for professional licensing examinations such at nursing and CPA tests. The scholarship program has also paid educational expenses of deserving students pursuing master’s degrees at Ateneo De Manila, Ateneo De Zamboanga and the University of the Philippines, Diliman. Finally, the scholarship has paid the airfares of several post bachelor degree students that obtained graduate degrees abroad to attend graduate school abroad.

The US-Philippines Society joins Xavier University at Ateneo de Cagayan in congratulating the 2022 graduates:

1. Jose Rowel Damas (Basilan)

BS Education major in Social Studies, MAGNA CUM LAUDE, 2022 DUX GREGIS AWARDEE

2. Gerald Besto (Bukidnon- Talakag)

BS Development Education, CUM LAUDE

3. Abdel Rafi Lim (Basilan)

AB English Language, MAGNA CUM LAUDE

4. AL Hakim Palangallan (BAARM Cotabato)


5. AL Hada L. Basaluddin (Jolo, Sulu)

BS Biology

6. Muzny Macapodi (Marawi)

BS Management Accounting

7. Anna Asriffa Janary Guiling ( Marawi)


8. Abdulwajeed Mira-ato (Marawi)

AB History

9. Ana Villaranda (CDO -under the program for 2 years)

BS Nursing

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