Atty. Ponciano G.A. Mathay, the 24th president (1988-90) of the UPAA, passed away on January 5, 2014, at the age of 83, after a lingering illness. A graduate of UP College of Law (LLB ’53) and Yale University (LLM ’54), he was a recipient of the UPAA Lifetime Distinguished Achievement Award in 2003.
Three major thrusts were adopted by the UPAA during the term of Atty. Mathay as president, namely: 1) the reactivation of the Regional Alumni Institute, 2) intensification of the UPAA life membership campaign here and abroad, and 3) support of the formation of new alumni chapters worldwide.
In line with the first thrust, three Regional Alumni Institutes were held during the incumbency of Atty. Mathay as UPAA president. The first was in Cebu (May 1988); the second, in Lucena (May 1989), and the third, in Davao (November 1989). Through these the UPAA was able to reach out to alumni in various parts of the country. It was also a way of “feeling the pulse” of alumni chapters “to bring our alumni closer to our national leadership, as well as enable them to contribute more meaningfully to national efforts that address pressing problems of development in their respective regions” (“President’s Report”, UPAA 1989 Yearbook).
The UPAA Board led by Atty. Mathay also held fund-raising activities that enabled the Association to donate modern cardiac monitoring equipment to the UP-PGH, as well as to finance scholarships, research grants and professorial chairs. The activities included the art auction organized by a committee headed by the late Mrs. Betty Go-Belmonte (AB ’55) and held at the Manila Hotel in 1988, and the Jose “Pitoy” Moreno (BFA ’51) fashion show, also staged in the same year.
Atty. Mathay was former chairman of the Oil Industry Commission (1971-79), Energy Regulatory Board (1987-88), and the National Power Corp. (1988-91). He was also principal financial officer and director of Alcorn Gold Resources Corp until February 2011, and principal operating officer and GM of COSCO Capital Inc. Admitted to the bar in 1954, Pon Mathay was also a law professor and held various important positions in government in the 1970s and 1980s.
The UPAA Lifetime Distinguished Achievement Award he received in 2003 cited Atty. Mathay “for having served the government with exemplary performance befitting a true public servant with utmost integrity, honesty and professionalism” and “for being a role model worthy of emulation as a student leader, writer, orator, law professor and lawyer par excellence.”