Teachers open doors but you must enter by yourself.
Quoting the Chinese proverb when accepting an honorary doctorate in humanities from Taylor’s University, Datin Paduka Sister Enda Ryan said, “Opening the door was my business but whether Assuntarians wanted to enter was their business.”
Sister Enda, as she is fondly known, is the well respected foundress and headmistress of Assunta all-girls schools in Petaling Jaya, Selangor. Her dedication to service and giving through education and charities dates to her arrival in Malaya back in 1955.
Describing the award as a “special honour” after serving in Malaysia for 67 years, Sister Enda said having an honorary doctorate degree conferred on her is tremendously humbling.
“My concern was not over where our students would end up, how many As they would get, and subsequently how many degrees and accolades they would accumulate.
“Rather, it was about what they would become and seek to be – to value what one has and not what others have and do, and always emphasising heart over head.”
Sister Enda was conferred the prestigious title in recognition of her dedication and significant contributions to the community in education and welfare assistance, during the institution’s 21st convocation ceremony on Sept 24.
Sister Enda, said Taylor’s University deputy vice chancellor and chief academic officer Prof Dr Pradeep Nair, has made significant contributions throughout her lifetime – from championing women’s education to assisting her Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (FMM) sisters in the growth of Ave Maria Clinic, which has expanded to Assunta Hospital today.“Education matters simply because it ensures every child has a fair chance of a successful and thriving life. Education ingrains civic and social responsibility in everyone – an essential aspect of human development specially to achieve world peace, justice, freedom and equality.
“As the foundress of Assunta primary and secondary schools, Sister Enda has contributed significantly to the development of Malaysia’s education services and teaching profession.
“For over 60 years, she has nurtured a lineage of schoolgirls who, emboldened by her inspiration and values, have gone on to be leaders themselves, captains of industry and humanitarians,” remarked Prof Pradeep in his citation speech.
The conferment of the award was presided by Taylor’s University chancellor, academician Emeritus Professor Tan Sri Dr Syed Jalaludin Syed Salim.The Honorary Doctorate Award is Taylor’s University’s form of recognition for renowned individuals that have attained national and international success and recognition in their field.
From a humble beginning of three classes, the Assunta schools’ legacy grew in size and in status as it joined the ranks of Grade A schools in Malaysia under Sister Enda’s care as the headmistress for over 30 years.
Her contributions to women’s education in Malaysia saw her receiving various prestigious awards including the Excellent Service Award from the Education Ministry in 1985; the Pingat Jasa Kebaktian in 1987; the Anugerah Tokoh Guru Besar Selangor in 1990; and in 2007, the Darjah Kebesaran Dato Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah by the Sultan of Selangor which carries the title “Datin Paduka”.