Filipino from humble beginnings earns Master’s degree from Columbia University

Jeffery Bagares is Columbia Law School’s assistant director for student services.

Bagares is also among the Class of 2020 graduates who virtually marched on May 20.

He earned a master’s degree in public administration at the Columbia School of International and Public Affairs.

Bagares is the first in his family to graduate in an Ivy League school.

“One of the main key, to pull ourselves out of poverty is like a better education, greater education, so I think that was like my main dream, that is if I have a better education, I can provide for my family more.”

Bagares recalled his family’s humble beginnings in Pasay City, Philippines, and how his brother had to work abroad to support them.

“The resources are very limited. When I was young, I would like walk from our house, which is my grandmother’s house in Pasay, to walk like 30 minutes to my mom’s sister’s house to ask for food, so it was very limited… it was hard.”

He earned his graduate degree while working full time, and still got promoted to the assistant director of student services earlier this year.

The Columbia Law School even honored Bagares with their inaugural staff appreciation and recognition or “STAR” program award in 2018.

“I’m really really proud, and I tell everyone I’m from the Philippines.”

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