Sir Joe 2024 Centennial Countdown

The mayor has an equally important commitment at this very moment so he tasked me to attend this kick-off program of the centennial celebration of our dear Baybay Agricultural School (BAS) now the Visayas State University.

I welcome the task assigned to me but at the same time weary as the Baybay City Council was in session today and part of the agenda is to discuss/scrutinize the proposed ordinance that I authored on Institutionalizing the Baybay City Nutrition Program – an offshoot of Baybay City adoption of the VSU-BIDANI Approach in 2009. This is an excellent example of the academe partnering with LGU for development.

Reaching the 100th year of existence and progress is a very significant milestone in one institution’s life.

When Governor Salvador K. Demeterio asked the American Administrators in the 1920s to establish an agricultural school in Leyte similar to the Central Luzon Agricultural School now CLSU. Little did he know that the request would blossom into the establishment of a state university that excels not only in minting industrious and capable graduates in various fields of specialization but blossom into an institution that differentiates itself by churning out technologies and innovation and blossom into an institution that assists in building communities with sustainable livelihood and orderly way of life.

 We owe what we have today to the vision, work, and sacrifices of previous leaders of this institution starting with Principal Washington Wiren, Principal Robert Kilbourne, and Principal Fred Warner.

To the Filipino administrators like Jose Crisanto, Delfin Samar, and Vicente Saavedra who held this school together during the Japanese occupation. Let’s not forget the administrators during the BNAS Era such as Supt. Clemente, Supt. Tolentino. The VAC era with Supt. Mamaril, Supt. Dignadice and Supt. Macahilig. 

Of course, who can forget the visionary leader who propelled the institution’s meteoritic rise as one of the top state colleges in the country, our first President Dr. Fernando A. Bernardo. It was during his watch that the institution established the upper campus rerouting the highway to give ample space for the new campus, it was during his time when the campus was bustling with construction, it was during his time when the operation of the campus somehow grew from a small agricultural college to a promising state college and the time we started carving prominence in teaching, research, and extension.

But a man can only do so much (not everything) thus, completing the ever-evolving goal of coming up with a relevant and excellent university rested on the shoulders of the succeeding Presidents namely: Dr. Marianito Villanueva, Dr. Samuel S. Go, Dr. Paciencia Milan, myself and Dr. Edgardo Tulin. So now, here we are.

That was a brief tale and incomplete history of our VSU-Main Campus. Our branch campuses also have their histories and heroes but that would be tales for other days. So much of history.

Today, the Visayas State University has differentiated into several fields of studies beyond agriculture including philosophy, nursing, and soon even medicine. No need to announce, for I’m certain all of you know this by now, but due recognition to of the efforts of one of our VLHS Alumni in securing legitimacy to offer the medicine program I believe in order. Let us give a big round of applause to Cong. Carl Cari of the Fifth District of Leyte.

VSU has also set sight beyond our borders. It wishes to be recognized as one of the leading universities not only regionally and nationally but internationally. Dr. Tulin has planted the seed for that feat and we hope and pray that the seed has not only germinated but will grow, blossom, and come to fruition.

In the coming weeks, we hope that the VSU-BOR will select who is best to lead VSU regardless of age, sex, religion, origin, and popularity.

I always say that “There is nothing in this world that cannot be done better”. So, whatever we accomplished during our watch, the new President can always improve on it or do a better job.

There will be tall orders for the next VSU President. Whoever he or she will be, I hope he or she will measure up to the challenge. The challenge of providing the appropriate facility and infrastructure for the expanding course and expanding enrollment (if not now, but certainly in the future). The challenge of providing competent professors. These are just some of the challenges.

With the help of our Congressman whose heart is truly VISCAN, I am confident that VSU can do it. 

Though I mentioned the names of the administrators of this institution, they are just the faces representing various eras of our development. In the final analysis, what this institution has become, can be likened to great rivers. Great rivers are formed not by a single source of great volume of flowing water but by many small tributaries. When water from these small tributaries merges, they become a great body of flowing water making the great river.

So when we talk of what this institution has become, it is because of each one of us and all of us. If one or a few of the units in this institution falter, the whole system will limp if not stagnate. 

If say GSO or an administration unit falters, the institution suffers. If the teaching staff ceases to make sacrifices in molding young minds (puro na lang counting of workload and seeking equivalent pay, online classes, take-home assignments, shortened classes, not coming to classes, and no more face-to-face classes), our graduates will be half-baked, the institution’s reputation suffers in PRC Board Exams and in the workplace. The EXCELLENCE which we always claim as a way of life in VSU goes to the garbage bin. 

Every one of us has a contribution to make and a role to play for an EXCELLENT VSU. I dare you to ask yourself, do you want to be a part of a great university? If you answer YES! Do your part with utmost dedication. If you answer NO! Don’t hesitate to leave this institution and find the right place where you belong.

As we celebrate the institution’s 100th year, let us remember the past and congratulate ourselves for a job well done but our job does not end there. We celebrate VSU’s centennial to start looking to the future and figure out how our dear university can move forward in this world that is growing in complexity each day.

I want to believe that most if not all of us here assembled, wish to see this university to soar higher than what it has reached after 100 years of its existence. So let’s bond together and offer our best in doing our respective roles.

In Baybay LGU, we say Lihok Baybay…our city, our home, our future. Similarly, I say “Soar VSU…our university, our home, and our future.”  

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