Laura-Anne Minkoff-Zern, associate professor of food studies in Falk College, was interviewed for the Syracuse.com story “Why aren’t NY farm workers in the Covid-19 vaccine line?” Minkoff-Zern, an expert on the intersections of food and social justice, comments on the…
Graduation is a family experience for the Legaspis
Graduation is a family experience for the LegaspisMay 06, 2002Sara Millersemortim@syr.edu
During a typical day on the Syracuse University campus, it’s likely you’ve crossed paths with a Legaspi family member. It could be that one jogs past you as part of a ROTC training exercise. Or, another may be assisting you with the training and technical complexities in one of the technology classrooms. Or, you may have class with any one of the three Legaspi family members that attend SU.
This May, seniors M. Bryan Legaspi and his father, Marlon, will march together in the 2002 Commencement exercises as they both receive their bachelor’s degrees. A 2001-02 Remembrance Scholar, Bryan will receive a bachelor of arts degree from The College of Arts and Sciences, and Marlon, a senior engineer with Faculty Computing and Media Services (FCMS), will receive a bachelor of science degree in information management and technology from the School of Information Studies.
Bryan, a triple major in economics, international relations and Spanish language, literature and culture, is one of two senior class marshals who will lead his father and the rest of the Class of 2002 in receiving their degrees.
Bryan’s mother, Elizabeth, is a third Legaspi family member that can be seen around campus as she works to complete a Information Systems and Telecommunications Management Graduate Certificate this summer from the School of Information Studies in pursuit of her master of library science degree.
“My aunt once said that it’s so rare to find a family where every single member is learning,” says Bryan. “That is really true, and it shows the importance of learning about the world around us.”
For Marlon, both he and his son receiving their degrees represents the realization of a personal goal he set 20 years ago, which was to provide for his family so that they could enjoy the educational opportunities available in the United States. In 1982, Marlon came to Syracuse from the Philippines, with Bryan and Elizabeth remaining in their homeland. Upon arriving here, Marlon quickly set out to earn the money necessary to bring his family to the United States as quickly as possible.
“When I first came to the United States, my first task was to earn the money needed to bring Bryan and Elizabeth over here,” says Marlon. “My priority at the time was family and couldn’t be an education. It was important that I support the family. And that is still true now.”
After having his family join him here in Syracuse, Marlon enrolled part time at Onondaga Community College to build on the coursework started in the Philippines in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree. In 1992, he began taking classes at SU and eventually enrolled in the information science program.
“I started taking classes here, but didn’t really have a true sense of direction. Compared to Bryan–who had a map– I was throwing darts,” Marlon says.
This past fall, just a few credits short of completing his degree, Marlon realized the potential of graduating with his son and worked to fulfill the remaining coursework.
After graduation, Marlon has future plans of beginning the coursework for his master’s degree. Bryan plans to immediately continue his education.
This semester, Bryan enrolled in the Army ROTC program after a student conference trip to West Point sparked a personal and professional interest in the military lifestyle. He hopes to earn his law degree and receive a commission to serve in the Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps.
“I really enjoyed the life there and one of the cadets said ‘maybe you should consider being a JAG officer,'” says Bryan. “When I returned to campus I started looking into it and spoke to some people here on campus and I really found it would be something I would like to do. So I went to the ROTC office and asked them if I could start training so I can start preparing myself.”
As a start to this success, Bryan recently received the Military Order of the Purple Heart award, given to an outstanding cadet who excels academically and displays exceptional leadership traits. The award was presented to him at the 84th Annual Chancellor’s Review and Awards Ceremony.
The role of leader is not one that is new to Bryan, and one that he has prepared himself to continue in his future. Aspiring to be the Secretary of State or a UN ambassador, Bryan has taken full advantage of his college experience to prepare for this future leadership role by involving himself and leading several campus groups and activities.
Over four years, Bryan served as associate justice on the Student Government Association Judicial Review Board and a term as its chairman; a member of the Student Association Assembly; undergraduate representative to the University Board of Trustees; finance board member; member of the University Senate; president of Sigma Iota Rho, the national honor society for international relations students; and president of the University’s Golden Key International Honour Society. He also chaired the UN AIDS committee and the UN Security Council in the National Model United Nations.
As a freshman, Bryan involved himself with the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, helping to establish a student commuter organization (CARS) and then serving as a summer orientation leader. Since April 2000, he has worked in the office as a student employee.
“His contribution to the office is immeasurable and measurable,” says Lena-Rose Orlando, assistant director for student affairs. “Bryan is a productive worker so that tangibles reflect the quality of work he does. However, the manner in which he works, relates to others and indirectly/directly represents the office/University is immeasurable–yet of the highest quality.”
For this work, he was recognized as the 2002 Student Employee of the Year. He was also recently honored by the Golden Key International Honour Society Northeast Region as Outstanding Student of the Year.
“For me, it’s been a lot of fun to be in all these organizations and to meet all sorts of new people I probably wouldn’t be able to meet otherwise,” says Bryan. “It’s just a really good experience and has improved my social skills as well as leadership skills that you just can’t get in class.”
Says Marlon of his family’s success, “There have been so many moments that make me proud-including when I received my citizenship in the United States, to when my daughter swam underwater for the first time. In life, moments like these come one after another and it tough to say which makes you the proudest, because they all do.
“I’m proud of Bryan for always knowing what he wanted to do and be, and always going after it,” Marlon says.” I helped provide him with the little things, and from these little things he has done the unexpected.”