MAESTRO BONIAO. The Boniao family will name a room at the Xavier Ateneo Senior High School in honor of their patriarch Francisco Boniao (pictured above). Photo courtesy of The Cagayan de Oro Tribune.

In a solemn mass celebrated at the Loyola House Jesuit Community on the evening of August 15, the Boniao family formally announced that a room at the Xavier Ateneo Senior High School in Pueblo de Oro will be dedicated to their patriarch Francisco Dunque Boniao.

Francisco’s son Manuel (nicknamed “Manny”), in his message before the mass ended, recounted the stories of his father while working with the Jesuits for more than four decades in Manila and Cagayan de Oro.

SON OF FRANCISCO. Manuel Boniao shares the stories of his late father Francisco towards the end of the mass at the Loyola House Jesuit Community. Supplied photo.

“Our late father, who was a man of faith, was close to the Jesuits who were his spiritual guides through the years,” Manuel said.

Manuel’s wife Teresita, daughter Maria Andrea with husband Josh Kern and son Francis Aurelio with wife Ana, and grandchildren Brielle and Franco were also present at the mass, together with the top administrators of the university and the Jesuit-residents of the Loyola House.

An article in The Cagayan de Oro Tribune, titled “Boniao bows out of Xavier” published on June 12, 1969, described Francisco as an “amiable, soft-spoken maestro who has served all the rectors of Xavier University from Rev Fr Haggerty to the incumbent Rev Fr Luis F Torralba…”

“He served in Jesuit universities, such as Ateneo de Manila and Ateneo de Cagayan, in various capacities, and the Jesuits became his friends and mentors,” added Manuel, an alumnus of Xavier Ateneo and a prominent business figure in the city.

Francisco Boniao served as a university cashier (with teaching load in high school and college) from June 1938 to 1940; full-time high school teacher (with teaching load in college) from June 1940 to December 1946; college registrar from October 1949 to July 1961; and secretary and administrative assistant to Jesuit rectors MacMahon, Quirke, and Torralba. He was also the executive secretary of the XU Ateneo Alumni Association from 1961 to 1966.

The Boniaos consider dedicating a learning space that will help shape future generations of Kagay-anons as a way to honor the years of dedicated service of Francisco in various Jesuit institutions in the country and for his legacy in their family.

Xavier Ateneo president Fr Roberto “Bobby” C Yap SJ represented the university in the ceremonial signing and turnover of the donation check from the Boniao family.

BONIAO AND XAVIER ATENEO. Manuel Boniao and Fr Roberto Yap SJ share a laugh during the ceremonial signing of the memorandum of agreement between the Boniao family and Xavier Ateneo. Supplied photo.

“We thank the Boniao family for their generosity and support to the programs of Xavier Ateneo,” Yap said. “This donation will certainly help the XU Senior High School become ‘The Senior High School of Choice’ in Mindanao and even beyond.”

Yap also encouraged more alumni to support the different projects of the university through the Facility Naming Rights Program under the XU Advancement Office, which was rolled out this school year.

At present, Xavier Ateneo is constructing its senior high school campus in Pueblo de Oro, completing its basic education cluster in uptown CDO. For its technical-vocational programs, the Andrew L Gotianun Sr Center for Integrated Technologies (ALGCIT) scholars’ dormitory and laboratories are almost complete, located in the Manresa Farm Complex along Masterson Avenue.

The Boniao family is among the first alumni groups to heed the call of the university towards working together in realizing its vision of becoming “a leading ASEAN university forming leaders of character by 2033.”∎

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