Happy 90th birthday, FAB!

Today is the 90th birthday of Dr. Fernando A. Bernardo, our first president.

I still remember vividly that ten years ago, “FAB” was one of the anniversary speakers of our 88th anniversary—he was then 80—and he promised he would live up to a hundred… playing tennis!

It looks like he is still up to the task!

Celebrating 90 years of existence is no easy feat. Many of us would live only at around 60 or 70 years. So to live such an accomplished life and push it to a century is something truly awesome.

Dr. Bernardo has played many roles in many institutions through the decades. But to us here at VSU, he is known as the founding father of ViSCA, the visionary president who turned a small agricultural college into an internationally recognized university of science and technology in this part of the globe.

With his wife, “roommate”, and an equally capable professor, Dr. Emiliana, they toiled and planned to turn ViSCA into the incredibly capable research university that it is today. We were sent to schools here and abroad, in probably the largest faculty development program in the 70s and 80s.

It is amazing how his vision still endures up to today. Whenever I go around the campus, seeing the landscape, buildings, and even the Search for Truth, which I see every day from my office window.

The last line in the statue’s inscription “He who does less is not worthy of his profession” speaks to me every day. That is why I push myself to do my best and encourage my people to do the same.

“Where there is no vision, the people perish,” the book of Proverbs says. And it’s true. What would ViSCA look like had it not been for this man’s vision? Maybe “in disarray” would be too extreme. There are still a lot of good people who can take the helm. But the momentum that we continue today traces back to the extraordinary acceleration we got from those 10 years of his leadership.

On behalf of the VSU community and the alumni and partners who have been touched by the good work of ViSCA, LSU, and VSU, I extend my warmest greetings to Dr. Fernando A. Bernardo on this milestone birthday. Feliz cumpleaños!

We are with you, sir, in your quest to live up to a hundred playing tennis! See you in 2024 for VSU’s Centennial Year!

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