The University of the Philippines (UP) has honored Cristeta Pasia Comerford, the first Filipino executive chef of the White House, with the conferment of a degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, in ceremonies held November in UP Diliman.
Pasia-Comerford, a BS Food Technology major at the College of Home Economics in UP Diliman, received her degree on November 11 at Ang Bahay ng Alumni, UP Diliman.
Cristeta Comerford has served four United States (US) presidents and their families for 14 years. She marked multiple milestones as the “first minority, first Asian, first female, first Filipino” executive chef at the White House after then-First Lady Laura Bush appointed her in August 2005. Comerford bested 450 candidates for the position that promoted her from being a sous chef at the White House since 1997.
The UP alumna’s first return to the University of the Philippines, after migrating to the US with her family in 1983, was when she received the UPAA Presidential Award during the centennial year of the UP Alumni Association (UPAA) in 2013. Earlier in 2019, the Bulacan native was named as one of the distinguished alumni of the UPAA in America.
In her speech, Comerford addressed UP students with a definition of leadership, saying, “Being a leader doesn’t mean you have made it or you are exempt from hard work. Rather, [you] should set the pace for others. As a leader, you are given much. That is when you give more back. As students, we learn much. In turn, we teach others.”
Cristeta Comerford had previously received the Gawad ng Pangulo Pamana ng Pilipino Award in 2014, one of the three Presidential Awards for Filipino Individuals and Organizations Overseas.
UP’s conferment of the honorary degree upon Comerford was led by Commission on Higher Education and UP Board of Regents Chairman J. Prospero E. De Vera III, and UP President Danilo L. Concepcion.
University of the Philippines has drawn the best and the brightest of the nation’s youth with its world class education that has been ranked among the Top 500 in the World University Rankings of the Times Higher Education and in the Top 400 of the Quacquarelli Symonds Rankings.
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