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U.P. In the Minds Of Its Past Presidents

I already have my UP Centennial Planner.  A month after placing my order, I went back to the USC office to claim two copies of the planner (the other one is for my dad).  I originally didn’t plan on buying one (kasi USC ang nagbebenta, gagamitin na naman sa rally-rally :p peace Kareen), but I realized that this would make a good collector’s item so I bought one.It is more than just a planner.  It contains a lot of UP-related facts and trivia, and even has notes on dates of special events in the history of the University.  It also has reminders on the year-long schedules of events that are part of the centennial celebration.

But what’s rather interesting are snippets (from speeches or editorials, I guess) regarding the takes of former Presidents of the University on the essence and importance of the University.  One pretty intriguing point however, is that only the quote from present President Roman differs in that it’s about her being the first woman President of the University (her being so is more important to the editors, I think).  Also, the editors must have overlooked that President Virata (1956-1958) was not included.

Anyway, these are the quotes from the past UP Presidents:

It is therefore well understood that a university remains the center of education of various branches of human knowledge and its main purpose is substantially to preserve the life and promote the progress of nations.     UP President Ignacio Villamor (1915-1921)

Academic freedom is not an inherent right of a man working in a university, but a constitutional or man-given right intended to give him the widest opportunity to discover truth and teach truth…  Academic freedom is never meant to be a license for making irresponsible statements, for indulging in destructive criticism and for mixing in partisan politics.  In short, academic freedom, or freedom of any kind in a free society, is inseparably associated with responsibility and is never absolute.     UP President Vidal Tan (1951-1956)

The University must hold the balance between the force of universalism, which is inherent in its nature, and the force of nationalism, which is inherent in its purpose.  It must be hospitable to all ideologies and philosophies.  Instead of closing windows that are already open, we should open windows that are still closed.  The intellectual life of the University would thus be a creative blend of that which exists in the country and in the world as a whole.  This is the kind of university to which the University is ineluctably committed.    UP President Salvador Lopez (1969-1975)

The UP will be a superfluous adornment to the country if it exists simply for the selfish benefit of those who enjoy its advantages.  It will fail utterly unless it stimulates an effective and well-distributed social service; unless it raises the standard of living for all the people; unless it promotes the general comfort and happiness without making a privileged class who enjoys a monopoly of the so-called “good things in life;” unless it idealized the home as the chief cornerstone of civilization.    UP President Guy Potter Benton (1921-1925)

Our students must stand out not only for clear, objective and critical thinking, not alone for intellectual ability and leadership in their chosen fields, but also for their nationalism and genuine caring for our people.  To be form UP is to accept a sacred trust of leadership and service to the people.    UP President Emil Javier (1993-1999)

It is eminently fitting and wise that institutions of higher learning of the various nations should now and then gather in common counsel to affirm their inherent character as sanctuaries of truth which is untinged and unswayed by race or opinion.    UP President Jorge Bocobo (1934-1939)

It would seem that our educational program should not stop at emphasizing and cultivating love for work.  It should also penalize distaste for labor.  It should discourage superficiality and reward thoroughness.    UP President Bienvenido Gonzalez (0939-1943, 1945-1951)

The University must move with the times – to carry out fully its mission in its country and thus aid in solving our national problems.  It is our bounden duty to help the State in the solution of its manifold problems especially in a country “still in the springside of life, as in the Philippines.”  Thus the University should be willing and ready at all times to answer all questions to unveil the past, to counsel the present, and to predict the future.    UP President Rafael Palma (1925-1933)

If the University should engage in the politics of ideas, it should lend itself to the expression of viewpoints other than the conventional and established orthodoxies, so that it be neither advocate nor adversary, but a catalyst and an enriching agent.    UP President Onofre Corpuz (1975-1979)

One of the most cherished aims of higher education is the greater self-awareness that results from it, a sense of one’s capacity and worth as an individual in a society of free and fully functioning individuals.  To my mind, what is this but self-identification which, carried to its most exalted purpose, becomes nationalism?  With this clear before us, it is evident that nationalism becomes consistent with the idea of a university.  Indeed, it becomes a necessary component, for no one has ever achieved universality without the integrity that comes from the realization of one’s unique position in the cosmos.    UP President Carlos P. Romulo (1962-1968)

Our expertise is the reduction of social outrage to reasoned critique, of impassioned demand to coherent program.  The clarification of issue, the discovery of facts the exposure of distortion and lies, and the presentation of reasoned alternatives… they are the best contributions we can make to the causes we choose to support.  They define the role of the University in a society like ours.    UP President Edgardo Angara (1981-1987)

We do not forget that our present is built in our past, and that the dynamism of heart and mind that we experience today belongs to a great tradition.  We are reaping today what others before us have sown.  And those who come after us will in turn gather the harvest of our dreams.    UP President Emanuel Soriano (1979-1981)

You are living the University of the Philippines during one of the most critical times in the history of our country…  The tasks attendant upon every citizen of a world passing through the painful stages of a historical transition leave no room for idle drifting.  Work should be the keynote of our people, now and always.    UP President Antonio Sison (1943-1945)

The pursuit of academic excellence is the avowed mission of every university.  But often, this is just a meaningless cliché.  To be meaningful, this mission has been translated into concrete goals, given the resources available to the University and the needs of our country at the turn of the century.    UP President Francisco Nemenzo, Jr. (1999-2005)

This university should not be a reproduction of the American University.  If it is to blossom into real fruit, it must grow on Philippine soil.  It must not be transplanted from foreign shores.  It can serve the world best by serving best the Filipinos.    UP President Murray Bartlett (1911-1915)

The University is a partner of government rather that a collaborator.  It keeps a critical detachment from its policies and official acts, but is never aloof.  It is grateful for its share in the national budget, but keeps its autonomy.  It is by nature constructively critical, and zealous of its freedom; but inspired by the moral integrity and selfless dedication of public servants; it commits itself wholeheartedly through its teaching and research to the support of national goals and the realization of our people’s aspiration.    UP President Jose Abueva (1987-1993)

There is but one cause which can effectively write finis to UP’s existence.  And that is when it can no longer advance the frontiers of human knowledge; when it ceases to be an instrument of intellectual freedom; when students and professors in their classrooms and laboratories grovel in abject obedience to authority; when it submits its judgment to outside directives.    UP President Vicente Sinco (1958-1962)

While the idea of being UP’s first woman President sounds exciting, I know very well that in the end, people will judge me not on the basis of my being a woman, but on the basis of my performance and accomplishments.  However, during quiet solitary moments, I catch myself in the act of thinking, “You had better do a good job so people will conclude that women do indeed make better presidents than men!”    UP President Emerlinda Roman (2005-present)

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