Lester has been gracing the stage not only during recognition programs for scholars and service grantees, as he has been a consistent academic scholar and dean’s lister; he was also a member of the SMU Choral Society (Bass 1), which found him and his companions participating in various choral competitions.
Dr. Lester – pharmacists are adressed as such in Dubai – is a proud Gaddang, one of the indigenous communities in Bayombong. His college life at SMU saw him mingling and dealing with instructors and students of different ethnicities, thus preparing him for his current job as a Dubai Health Authority retail pharmacist.
“Dubai is an open city where you meet people of various nationalities and ethnic identities, together with their unique languages and ways of being. At Saint Mary’s, I appreciated the multi-ethnic population where each student is respected and every culture cherished and treasured. My experiences with colleagues and patients of different backgrounds here in Dubai are not unlike my encounters with the diverse culture in SMU. I have learned how people treasure their respective identities, while regarding the others’ with esteem. My first few weeks in Dubai brought me back to my first days in college when I had my first big realization that there is much more to life than the home where I grew up in. I also appreciate the fact that despite the mixture of races, kindness, respect, and consideration abound – so much like my Marian home.”
At Saint Mary’s University, we welcome students coming from different indigenous backgrounds. The spirit of inclusivity allows the students to enjoy each other’s company in an atmosphere of admiration and curiosity as to what can be learned from the culture of the other. Hence, the University celebrates its annual Ethnicity Week with pomp and pageantry, includes cultural components in its spiritual exercises, and encourages the staging of cultural presentations, always mindful of cultural appropriation.