my dear friend, grace rualo asuncion she was tragically taken from us over 20 years ago. since then, the uc berkeley pilipino american community, california alumni association, and countless individuals have worked hard to insure her memory and her legacy lives on. every year, in february (her death anniversary month) and october (her birthday month), the filipino american community at cal hold events in her honor. a permanent bench exists in her name on the lower sproul plaza of campus. and as of today, a frame with her picture and story was revealed in the new eshleman hall on campus.
she was like a sister to me and i consider her to be one of best friends. i value her friendship and her honesty and wish she were here today. twenty plus years later, many of us who experienced our college years together are still in touch and she would definitely be part of our circle.
at today’s ceremony, i chose not to be a speaker. i always shed tears at these events and wanted to make sure that the mood was positive and uplifting so i opted out. i remember hearing feedback from last year’s event that the mood was too somber and sad. during the presentation today, my daughter turned to me and asked me if i needed a tissue.
the weather was cooperating. the sun was shining. there was a gentle breeze. and the spirits were good. what makes these moments even more special is sharing them with my family. i’m happy to share the moment with my daughter whose middle name is “grace.” definitely brings special meaning to be able to experience grace with her.