Tribute to Ma'am Meling

In another devastating blow to the VSU community, we are all saddened by the passing of Dr. Emiliana N. Bernardo, one of our important institution builders who built this university from the ground up.

Dr. E. N. Bernardo is the lifelong partner of Dr. Fernando A. Bernardo, an academician who founded the former Visayas State College of Agriculture (ViSCA), which we now call VSU.

Together, the Bernardos began the difficult and excruciating groundwork to convert a rural community college into one of the best agricultural colleges in Southeast Asia. In fact, around 90% of the current infrastructure that you see in VSU was constructed in their time.

In a funny reprise of a popular saying, Maryon Pearson said that “Behind a successful man is a surprised woman”. And I firmly believe that this quote captures the essence of the partnership between FAB and ENB. And because of this powerful union, it gave birth to a strong institution that nourished the minds of thousands of people including myself and many other #ProudViscans going far and wide.

It is unfortunate that we lost Ma’am Miling just a few months away from our Grand Centennial Celebration that will take place next year. We would have wanted to celebrate this milestone with her seeing how their amazing groundwork has resulted in building one of the best science and technology universities in the Philippines.

Dr. E.N. Bernardo assumed multiple roles in the then ViSCA including being Director for Instruction, Director for Research and Extension, Director of the Philippine Root Crops Research and Training Center, and even Dean of the ViSCA Graduate School.

But among the many roles that she assumed in the college, I believe that she will always be remembered for effectively monitoring our domestic and international scholars allowing them to complete their graduate education on time. And I think that beyond the infrastructure that we see in VSU today, it is the massive manpower development that made us great because this laid the foundation for what a strong academic institution should be.

Personally, I will always remember Ma’am Miling as being firm but reasonable, and tough but also compassionate for all the students who were under her tutelage. This perfect mix of being unyielding and empathetic made way for the metamorphosis of a rural community school to national and even global prominence.

Isa sa mga talagang hindi ko makakalimutang kay Ma’am ay yung happiness niya lalo na kapag binibisita siya ng mga taga-VSU dito sa UPLB. Sigurado akong proud na proud siya palagi kapag naririning niyang maraming achievements ang mga dati niyang eskwela at mga naging estudyante na nagmula sa ViSCA.

And the best tribute that we can provide to our founding founders like the Bernardos is to properly take care of the institution that they started and keep pushing it for greater global comparability. With all the humble accomplishments that we made to make VSU, I really hope that this will in turn protect the enduring legacies left by FAB and ENB.

As our beloved VSU is about to turn 100 years old a few months from now, may we all honor the memory of Ma’am Miling by keeping our #ProudViscan brand while also providing innovative solutions to the many challenges of our contemporary times.

Mula po sa aming lahat sa Visayas State University, maraming-maraming salamat po Dr. Emiliana N. Bernardo dahil sa inyong sakripisyo upang maitaguyod ang aming pinakamamahal na pamantasan. Patuloy po kaming gagawa ng mga hakbang upang mas lalo pang mapayabong ang ating unibersidad tungo sa ikauunlad ng ating bayan.

I express my heartfelt sympathies and condolences to Sir Nanding and to his children Dan, Rex, Rey, and Amy for this painful loss. The whole VSU community is one with you in these challenging times.

May we all pray for the eternal repose of Ma’am Miling soul. Daghang salamat kaninyong tanan.

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