The University Presidents and Superintendents
Spotlight on CLSU Leadership
Implementing an Ingenious Brainchild
This section of clsu website provides a glimpse into the persona of those who were accorded the distinct honor and privilege of serving this great institution as its administrators and leaders. It chronicles, albeit briefly, their major contributions and accomplishments towards its growth and development. The section also offers an insight into the priorities, management approaches, system of governance, and leadership qualities of those who charted the course of this school through trials and tribulations, problems and difficulties, constraints and obstacles, and challenges and opportunities.
Taking up the Greater Challenge
Leadership runs through the veins of Dr. Tereso Angeles Abella. He was born to the former CLSU Acting President Dr. Pedro Aguilar Abella and Mrs. Emilia Ferry Angeles in 1954. A multi-awarded and accomplished educator, scientist and administrator, he is a proud alumnus of Central Luzon State University where he obtained his Bachelor of Science in Agriculture major in Inland Fisheries in 1976. His impressive academic preparation and track record in research and teaching earned him scholarship grants for graduate studies in prominent and reputable universities abroad. He finished his Master of Science in Biology major in Fisheries Biology in Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, USA in 1980 and completed his Doctor of Philosophy in Fish Genetics in University of Wales, Swansea, Wales, United Kingdom in 1984.
The wide spectrum of his leadership experiences, most notable of which are as former Vice President for Academic Affairs, former Dean of the College of Fisheries and former Director of the Freshwater Aquaculture Center, provided him the necessary administrative preparation and acumen as he presently holds the highest post in the University as the President. His forthright yet contemplative headship of the Academic Affairs Program opened doors to many international exposures of faculty and students, external funding for research programs, innovations in academic procedures and amendments in several guidelines that concern the academic sector, among others. His stewarship of the College of Fisheries was instrumental in catapulting it to being the Center of Excellence for Fisheries Education and the National University and College for Fisheries (NUCF) of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED). Numerous scholarship grants for fisheries students came in as a product of the strong linkages he established with the private sector.
Dr. Abella’s teaching and research portfolio demonstrates his expertise in the field which earns the respect of the academic and scientific communities in the national and international arenas. His leadership of the Sustainable Aquaculture and Fisheries Research Program made CLSU as the CHED’ss Best National HEI for Research Program in 2008. He has sourced out research grants for the University from international and national funding agencies such as the International Foundation for Science (IFS) based in Sweden; International Development Research Centre in Canada; Food and Agriculture Organization in Italy; Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and National Resources Research and Development - Department of Science and Technology; Department of Agriculture - Bureau of Agricultural Research (DA-BAR) and CHED. He has been a Technical Consultant for the WorldFish which is a member of the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) - Consortium of International Agriculture Research Centers and the DOST - Consultancy for Agricultural Productivity Enhancement (CAPE). He has been a member of the Board of Judges for the DA Gawad-Saka for Fisheries. He is at present a member of the CHED’s Technical Committee on Fisheries Education and National Agriculture Fishery Education System (NAFES) Evaluation and once a member of the Technical Panel for Agriculture Education (TPAE).
His works in aquaculture and fish genetics were published in refereed high-impact journals, presented in national and international conferences, and shared to the local fisher folks through extension and training. Furthermore, his unparalleled leadership and dedication to bring the Freshwater Aquaculture Center to a higher stratum are concretized by the number of generated technologies that have contributed to the aquaculture industry through his engagements in extension and training.
As testaments to his exemplary teaching, research and administrative profile, several awards and recognitions were given to him. He was a recipient of the Most Outstanding Professional of the Year in the Field of Fishery from the Professional Regulation Commission, a member of the Research Team which received the Julian Banson Award for Outstanding Applied Research from DOST, National Finalist in the 2012 Metrobank Foundation Search for Outstanding Teachers (Tertiary Education), Natatanging Anak ng Nueva Ecija Award for Science and Technology, and several institutional awards such as the Distinguished Service Award, Outstanding Director Award (PRAISE), Centennial Award for Science and Technology, and Gintong Butil Award in the Field of Science and Technology.
Dr. Ruben C. Sevilleja, the 7th President of the Central Luzon State University (CLSU). An educator and administrator, he was bestowed the PANTAS Award by PCAARRD on November 8, 2013 in recognition of his notable achievements, significant contributions and leadership in CLSU towards the advancement of agriculture and natural resources R and D in Region III.
Dr. Rodolfo C. Undan knows about overcoming long odds. Unforgettable anecdotes which bring back poignant memories are proofs of his perseverance if only to move on and rise above his present state - poverty. After graduating from the elementary as a class valedictorian, his one great desire was to set foot at the agricultural high school of then CLAC. For some time, he lived through his high school years walking a 3-km route from their house to the highway to be able to get a ride to the school. Fragile and small-boned, he needed a sponsor to make it to the agricultural high school as he fell short of the basic requirement which was the capacity to carry a 1 cavanload. He was however lucky to have acquired a private scholarship that earned for him likewise, a free board and lodging.
Prior to the next phase of his educational ladder, it was told that his great weapon then to prod his parents to make him continue on with his studies was crying his heart out the whole night through, literally drenching his pillow with tears. To help augment the expenses, he made it through from the sale of the produce as an independent student farmer.
In 1962, he obtained his BS in Agricultural Engineering from CLSU. He made his Alma Mater proud when he landed 7th in the first licensure examination for agricultural engineers in 1965. Since then, there was no stumbling block to bar him from attaining his quest for higher learning. From a secondary teacher at CLSU in 1963, he rose to full professor in a span of 21 years. Prior to his presidential stretch, he served CLSU in varied capacities, among others: Dean of the College of Engineering, Vice-president for Research, Extension and Training (RET), concurrently Consortium Director of the Central Luzon Agricultural Research and Development Consortium (CLARRDEC), and Presidential Assistant for External Development. While Vice-President for RET, he headed the Small Farm Reservoir Project, his brainchild. He was an elementary school teacher though in 1962 before he came to CLSU.
In 1969, he went to Bangkok, Thailand to pursue a Master of Hydraulic Engineering degree from the Asian Institute of Technology. Moving on in 1978, he traveled to the USA to complete his Ph.D. in engineering with majors in agricultural and irrigation engineering at the Utah State University. In between his years of service in CLSU from 1986-1988, he underwent post-doctoral research fellowship on water management at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Los Baños, Laguna. His rise to distinction is not however limited to the local scene. He also is a national figure. His expertise in irrigation engineering earned for him the highest post at the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) as Administrator from 1996 to 1997. He served in concurrent capacity as Officer-in-Charge of the Department of Agricultural Research while being Assistant Secretary of the Department of Agriculture from February 1997 to July, 1998.
The research and development arena is where Dr. Undan captures the limelight. Relative to numerous irrigation and water resources researches conducted locally, regionally, nationally and internationally, he was either a project team leader, a program coordinator, or a senior researcher. It is no wonder that he has been recognized by various celebrated award-giving bodies for the indelible mark he has imprinted in the field of research. To mention: ASEAN Engineering Award given to selected engineers from ASEAN - member countries upon nomination by the Philippine Technological Council; Achievement Award in the field of engineering from the National Research Council of the Philippines; Outstanding Asian Institute of Technology Alumnus given by the AITAA-Philippines; three most Outstanding Agricultural Engineer/Professional Awards; and Natatanging Novo-Ecijano ’95 sa Larangan ng Agrikultura. In addition, he holds membership with 12 professional societies and various civic organizations.
Given another four-year term by the Board of the Regents, seems like Dr. Undan is one of those chosen few who have a gift for luck, but nonetheless deserving of this good fortune. Ever the pragmatist, albeit with even more challenging tasks ahead, he persists to set grand but realizable goals for the university. Further realizing that what the human mind can conceive and believe, it can accomplish, the man of the hour is not likely to fail.
Dr. Rodolfo C. Undan is a leader whose inventiveness, skill and brilliance were sharpened by years of experience, perseverance and conscientious efforts. A veteran administrator, he is also an acclaimed researcher, scientist, technical consultant and educator. He was first propelled to the CLSU presidency on January 4, 1999; then again for a second term on January 4, 2003. He became the second alumnus and second Novo Ecijano president. His re-appointment is indicative of his contribution in blazing the trail of greatness for CLSU.
As the father of the institution, the students are at the very heart of his governance. At the beginning of his term, Dr. Undan laid down a 31-point course of action primarily comprising of academic-related programs, research breakthroughs, infrastructures, facilities, to mention some. One of the infrastructures constructed during his term is the Philippine-Sino Center for Agricultural Technology which showcases modern technology for increasing rice production and related agricultural engineering and mechanization technologies. Notably, this is a collaboration and complementation of minds toward coming up with advances in agriculture and agricultural-related research and technology.
The educator that he is, he moved for the increase of grants to poor but deserving students. From a total of 960 scholars at the onset of his term, it rose to a figure of 2642. This gesture is a guarantee that those commendable less fortunate could avail of quality and excellent education. Worthy of mention, likewise is the recognition given to the Colleges of Agriculture and Fisheries as Centers of Excellence; and the College of Education, Departments of Biology and Chemistry as Centers of Development. Noticeably, students carry on the tradition of excellence by rating high in licensure examinations, more often landing in the top twenty up till this time of Dr. Undan’s leadership, a proof that he never fails to encourage and motivate his constituents to aspire and maintain that standard of excellence CLSU has long time lived by.
Conspicuously, Dr. Undan’s strength lies in forging linkages and tie-ups with places and institutions he has been to, here and abroad. A number of faculty have taken advantage of travels to international institutions either on exchange programs, trainings or scholarships. Students likewise are beginning to enjoy the privileges of undergoing their on-the-job training before they graduate in institutions, particular in Maejo University in Thailand. Another notable achievement credited to Dr. Undan’s leadership came last October 19, 2001 when CLSU was acclaimed by the Department of Tourism and the Department of Agriculture as the Model Agri-Tourism Site for Luzon in acknowledgement of CLSU’s share in the upliftment of agriculture in the country.
Given another round to serve CLSU, Dr. Undan is endowed with even greater enthusiasm and optimism to further boost the university at the limelight, more than the prestige and distinction it is enjoying at present.
One would note that he holds a special attachment to students. Among his plans, particularly for foreign students, include giving them interested foster parents who would provide them a home to stay during vacation, something like adopt-a-student scheme. This would in a manner strengthen relationships of students coming from other places abroad with the faculty and staff. Leading by example, Dr. Undan himself adopts Thai students and occasionally dines with them, whenever possible. Subsequently, this could result to a sustained special bonding between the foster parent and the student even when the student has already long graduated.
In addition, Dr. Undan aims to build a center to serve as the umbrella that would oversee the marketing of all CLSU products. He would like it called Product Development and Management Center which will cater to a centralized marketing scheme. He plans to have this built near the main gate.
Further realizing the wonders of communication and information technology, the incumbent President has included in his action plan a wider computer distribution to all colleges and units in the campus for everybody’s accessibility. Alongside is building an Internet library.
On faculty growth, he intends to encourage more members of the faculty to hone their writing talent by coming up with textbooks and materials for instruction.
Survival was nothing new to the Battad family. At a young age, being the eldest in a brood of seven, he has always known and understood the meaning of responsibility. Comfort was never his way of life because while boys of his age were at leisure during holidays and vacation or warmly cuddled up during the cold months, he was either gathering firewood, or joining rice harvesters, or bartering goods to earn money. Accepting varied tasks became his norm even when he was at the University of the Philippines, Los Baños, if only to earn his tuition in college. This could have been the reason why he had the genuine penchant for competition. Competing has become almost a part of his being. This was his way of showing that anything is possible provided you invest discipline and hard work to make things happen, thereby ultimately, creating a difference.
A fanatic at sports, he used this to a great advantage. His physical strength, good coordination and a mix of quickness, perception and sharp thinking are the very attributes that served him well to excel in the sports world. This obsession for sports not only became his valued asset in his entry to the academic world on to becoming the leader of institutions, but also the vehicle that brought his family closer. Expectedly, the love for tennis went down to his children and grandchildren like a living tradition. It was responsible for generating in the Battad clan the virtues of discipline, endurance and the confidence at winning.
Dr. Battad’s professional career and journey as a leader of institutions may be said to be more than just a design of destiny, fate or circumstance; it is, of a strong determination and will. It began at Mindanao Institute of Technology (MIT), now University of Southern Mindanao where he manifested his two key words at work: service and responsibility. Rising from assistant instructor to Assistant Principal then later as secondary School Principal within a period of 17 years, he manifested his natural inclination and adeptness at organization and management. It was also at MIT when the chance for professional advancement came. He went back to UPLB on a faculty development program scholarship to complete his MS degree in 1962, and his PhD degree in Agricultural Education in 1973 under a SEARCA fellowship grant.
From MIT, he transferred to Central Luzon State University (CLSU) to become principal of the University Agricultural High School in 1975. Two years after, he became president of the Pampanga Agricultural College (PAC). While his tree planting environmental strategy was displayed at MIT, it was at PAC where he built the biggest nursery in Central Luzon. Amidst scarcity of resources, he focused his attention at improving the facilities and buildings, research and extension and complemented by a strong sports development program. His trademark at setting the right example was demonstrated and recognized. And more importantly, he placed premium on human resource development which has become a patent symbol of his governance in all the institutions he went to. More than all these, he showed his ingenuity at interpersonal relations which he used to advantage when dealing with political leaders and when sourcing out funds for projects and faculty and staff incentives.
Not long after, he was summoned to lead Mountain State Agricultural College (MSAC) now Benguet State University. Persistently, he patterned his management with the PAC experience, thereby generating successful impact and results. Fate has always worked in Dr. Battad’s favor where leading is concerned. The aftermath of the 1986 EDSA revolution bringing forth changes in the political arena could have been a disadvantage. However, destiny had it that Dr. Battad knew how to turn expectations to his advantage. At a time where factionalism was rampant at the Nueva Vizcaya State Institute of Technology (NVSIT), he was appointed as its president. His response when asked what his convincing power was to gain acceptability in the chaotic environment was coined in one word- sincerity. Once again, he embarked on the colossal task of renovating and rehabilitating the institute. Above all, he worked his way to creating harmony in the academic community. Concurrently, he held the highest post at the West Visayas State University (WVSU) as its Officer in Charge, maintaining its peace up till a full time president was appointed.
CLSU may be considered as the eventual test of a leader’s mettle. Times were critical. The campus was in crisis; there arose a culture of antagonism, factionalism, chaos, professional bickering and personal squabbles. These were aggravated by a fire of undetermined origin reducing to rubble the grandstand and the College of Arts and Sciences. Truly, the period between 1989 to early 1992 was at most, a tough time for the academic community. However, with all due fairness to the then incumbent president, Dr. Battad knew and believed that no good leader would wish to destabilize his domain, neither would he want to create turmoil while at the helm of power. He understood that every leader has nothing but the best intentions for the welfare of his constituents. Hence, with the challenges ahead and without undermining his predecessor, Dr. Battad buckled down to his leadership role.
Dr. Battad sternly instituted reforms that would redound to the welfare of his people. Primordial in his administration was initiating dialogues with key officials and student leaders for ventilation of concerns and problems in their respective spheres of responsibilities. He challenged every member of his executive family to be keen on the principle of service, as it is the pathway to the real significance of a leader. To an extent, he was harsh, demanding and dogmatic. Surprisingly though, his way would often produce positive results. True to the paradox: he had to be “cruel in order to be kind”. In essence, it ignited the challenge in people to prove their worth and meet his expectations, thereby, earning his generous display of appreciation and approval, however, not to discount the fact that he could also be as willing to make amends for wrongs or shortcomings.
Undoubtedly, his win-win approach has served him in good stead particularly in his interpersonal relations with influential political figures and dignitaries. His convincing power worked best when pushing for the increase of the university’s budget, sourcing out funds and establishing linkages. Expectedly, this redounded to a sufficient allocation of benefits, incentives and professional growth of the academic community. Dr. Battad will be long remembered for his immediate attention to the following concerns: increase among masteral and doctoral degree holders among the faculty; creation of plantilla positions for 78 casual employees, thus assuring them security of tenure and retirement benefits; commodities for household consumption like rice, eggs, meat, vegetables, fruits and fish, enjoyed at subsidized rates; and monetary benefits which he was willing to grant despite the risks involved.
“Even if I die tomorrow, I will still plant trees today,” indicative of Dr. Battad’s zeal at greening all the institutions he has been to and CLSU was no exception. Visitors, both near and far, delight in their beauty as they behold the splendor of these trees as their leaves sway with the cool air giving off a fresh minty, lemony scent. It cannot be denied however that mango trees have been standing tall in CLSU, years before his administration, but having to proliferate different varieties of fruit and forest trees was characteristic of Dr. Battad’s term. More importantly, trees have become synonymous to his person - “Like a tree planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such a tree is not bothered by the heat or wearied by long months of drought. Its leaves stay green and it goes right on producing delicious fruits.”
Markedly, his achievements, too numerous to enumerate, were felt not only in the local and national sphere but also in the global environment. In time, recognitions and awards came one after the other in the areas of research; technology resource and generation as in the likes of breakthroughs in the super male tilapia production and Malakas and Maganda as the first test tube carabaos, vegetable and seedlings production, and the strengthening of the university agribusiness program; extension; production; linkages and public relations through publications and media; human resource development; and in the sourcing of funds for projects, scholarships, trainings and personnel incentives. An exponent of excellence, he caused upgrading of curricular offerings; accreditation of programs; and the establishment of the Information System Institute (ISI) which later was chosen by CHED to be a Regional Training Center. Likewise, CLSU was selected to be the venue of the Regional Science Teaching Center (RSTC) which was provided a building by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).
Dr. Eliseo L. Ruiz is credited as the first Novo Ecijano and the first alumnus of the institution to be appointed President of CLSU. Graduating Cum laude with an agricultural engineering degree from CLSU, he pursued his Masters in Agricultural Engineering and Doctorate in Food Engineering both at the University of Missouri, USA. Add to his list of firsts, is his being the youngest CLSU President, so far. He is a native of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija. In 1976, he was granted the prestigious Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) award for his exemplary achievements in agriculture and food technology.
Suave and stylish, Dr Ruiz at 43 was an achiever. His achievements as an innovator, inventor, scientist, entrepreneur, educator and farmer are impressive and laudable. “There is no growth without change, no change without fear or loss, and no loss without pain.” Almost inevitably, Dr. Ruiz was faced with aggravating circumstances both by student and staff activism in the campus and national scenarios like strikes, rallies and demonstrations which were goaded by the EDSA revolution or the so-called people power. Prior events developed an utmost use of self-governing communicative space or extreme freedom of press, speech and assembly. For a new administrator, tiding the university over was a tall job as it wobbled from two successive natural calamities- the 1990 killer quake and the 1991 Mount Pinatubo eruption.
Nonetheless, Dr. Ruiz staunchly took off to continue the modernization of CLSU. For a starter, he introduced what he referred to as the CLSU farm-to-farm agri-system model. This is a flexible bio-cycle of a fully integrated agro-industrial development program which is modifiable depending on the most suitable crops grown or raised and processed in a diversifying economic district. Cluster barangays and municipalities engaged in crop, animal or fisheries production systems make up an economic district. Underlying this concept is establishing the complete cycle of food production from the farm to food processing to organic fertilizer production then back again to the farm.
This innovative scheme opened gateways toward the operation for instruction of research, extension and production the Food Feed Grain Processing Center (FFGPC) which has remained a white elephant for years. He operated the FFGPC for technology commercialization of meat processing under a tolling fee contract. Moreover, he undertook competitive enterprise building, agriculture technology education, GO-NGO networking and academe-industry-bank link for sustainability.
Meanwhile, he also activated the feed mill as a forward tie-up mechanism toward rousing grain production as raw materials for the animal industry from the economic districts. With FFGPC in the hub, a complementation was formed between and among the Land Bank, farmers, local government organizations within his farm-to-farm framework of agro-industrializing communities. Among others, this livelihood program stipulated the following concerns, to wit: implementation of a joint program for upliftment of livelihood in the rural areas; creation of new employment opportunities; and formulation of prototypes for development and management-oriented modules in agricultural production.
It is worth noting that prior to his CLSU stint, he was affiliated with the private sector as food scientist and entrepreneur which served him in good stead in administering university affairs. Undoubtedly, he was ready, armed with an adhocratic and corporate management style of private business, coupled with his entrepreneurial experiences in food processing, feedlot cattle fattening, mushroom, grape and passion fruit production and processing and other food and agri-business ventures with Puyat Industries, and food technology and entrepreneurship education at the Philippine Women’s University (PWU).
In addition, he designed and implemented a P1 - million government- subsidized bio-gas run, zero-waste recycling project which produced organic fertilizer, electricity, and ice simultaneously out of farm wastes which is a vital component of his farm-to-farm agri-system. The produce is a nutritionally balanced and scientifically processed biodegradable farm and animal wastes named fertile mix. An all-time ecologist, this is his way of contributing his share in the rehabilitation of Mother Earth. Subsequently, his enterprising nature gave way to the initiation of the University Agribusiness Venture (AGriVen) upon which the present University Agribusiness Project (UAP) was patterned. In the limelight during his time, CLSU was identified as a zonal agricultural university in Luzon.
Note that faculty development program, albeit already being pushed in the previous years, it was during the administration of Dr. Ruiz that a Human Resource Development program was institutionalized. It saw to the allocation of scholarship funds for formal and non-formal training, as a continuing education of both faculty and staff. This became a guarantee that the needs and demands of professional upliftment were met along their areas of expertise. Along this line, the university embarked on academic exchange programs with institutions here and abroad.
Another center established and institutionalized during his helm of leadership was the Public Relations Information and Media (PRIME) which became the dynamic promotion arm considered to be a national model responsible and proactive in meeting public relations, information and media needs. The PRIME stands as the foundation upon which the present Public Affairs Office is based.
The physical havoc caused by the 1990 killer quake beckoned Pres. Ruiz to act in urgency to cause the reconstruction of a new P20 - million worth library, alongside with the Research, Extension and Training complex, faculty and staff cottages, fences and roads, and the replacement of the burned College of Business Administration Building. Through his efforts, these were all realized before his term was over.
A take-off point in his environmental campaign strategy was converting the Little Baguio into Lingap Kalikasan Park, an environment management module prototype of a man-made forest, fishery and recreational resort. For a time, the Park offered sanctuary to nature’s bounties and a soothing refuge to people sharing silent joys after a tiring day as they listened to the sound of wind chimes in the summer breeze.
Even a scientist would agree that flowers are a feast to the senses. This was true of Dr. Ruiz who initiated a beautification drive through a massive planting of bougainvilla in varied hues as well as red santan landscaped with bermuda grass at the main gate. He also had mini forests of eucalyptus, acacia and guavas positioned in the RET area. In addition, he decreed that every graduating student be required to plant and nurture at least two trees in the College of Agriculture and in the carabao ranch sites.
Life is not always the way we want it to be and that held true for Dr. Ruiz. It was unfortunate that prevailing circumstances cut short his leadership stint, barring him to implement his other brilliant ideas for CLSU. To date, notwithstanding the struggles he has gone through, eventually emerging triumphant over his adversaries and adversities, he is now at peace with himself and with the world. He is presently engaged in his flourishing organic fertilizer business, a product of his own ingenuity. Vindicated at last from all his court charges, he was selected to sit in the CLSU Board of Regents as a prominent private citizen representative.
To recall the words of one great writer who wrote: “every human being is either a missionary or a mission field.” It may be deduced that Dr. Ruiz is both. Literally, he lives his life with a religious mission - when he is not at work, he serves as an evangelist while his hands and heart, a mission field as he actualizes his purpose-driven life with a strong sense of industry, commitment and dedication to his craft. On a lighter side, as the saying goes: “when life throws you lemons, make lemonade; when life gives you scraps , make quilts. Life is 100% of what happens to you and 90% of how you respond to it.” And in a serious vein, while life may not always be the way we want it to be, what matters is we live with good intentions and touch the hearts of those we meet along the way.
For a person who walks in the counsel of the good, Dr. Ruiz has remained trusting because in his heart, he has always believed that: “when you reach the edge of the cliff and must trust God enough to let go, one of two things will happen: either He will catch you when you fall, or He will teach you how to fly.”
Dr. Amado C. Campos was installed as the Second President of CLSU on February 19, 1970. It was during this period that student activism was already rampant in most schools in the whole country. During the period from 1968-1970, CLSU was not immune to the prevailing situation. Pres. Campos may be one of those long line of administrators whose remarkable contributions to CLSU will go a long long way. Because, men of true grit are not easy to find; they are like the eagles. They fly with grace and soar to great heights.
Born September 12, 1924, Dr. Campos was called Ading by family. He finished elementary at the Dasmariñas Elementary School and secondary schooling at the Cavite High School. He acquired his Bachelor of Science in Agriculture degree from the University of the Philippines, Los Baños; his MS in Agriculture, major in Poultry Science; and a Ph.D. degree both from the University of Maryland, USA. While he did not achieve his childhood dream of becoming a pilot, he has gone through life, fulfilled and accomplished.
As a young boy, Ading was no different from other young boys of his age. His was a childhood filled with boyhood escapades, ballgames, fights and scuffles, good times, embarrassing moments, childhood crushes and puppy loves. While it may be said that all seven boys were treated fairly by their parents, one disadvantage, however was, being third in the brood, he would always get the hand-me-downs from his elder brothers. Perhaps, just perhaps, this has worked to his advantage as he has learned early in life to treasure those things that may not even be looked at with value by other boys born to affluent families.
A late bloomer, it may be told, he did not show much enthusiasm in his elementary and high school years, particularly in extra-curricular activities because he looked fragile due to his small size. However, he was always close to the top, academically. As to participation in class programs, in a dance or in any presentation, participation was more like a matter of privilege, probably because the name Campos carried a great influence, his mother, being principal of the elementary school. He only started to bloom both as a campus leader and figure when he was at the University of the Philippines, Los Baños. He was elected to the highest campus political post, the President of the Student Body Organization. It was during his participation in campus politics that his leadership aptitude served him in good stead. In fact, it became his groundwork for the more challenging headship role he had to play in the succeeding years of his life.
The kind of upbringing Dr. Campos had shaped the kind of man he has become. It was his mother who has played a tremendous influence on him. This does not mean however that his father had become insignificant in his growing up years; rather, it was because his father was preoccupied with working for the family’s subsistence. His mother was his teacher and was the disciplinarian in the family, often setting aside emotions, if only to instill discipline, honesty, industry, frugality, love and fear of God, and other desirable virtues on all seven of them. What he could not understand as a boy was why they should be doing the household chores when they had regular househelp; gathering and chopping firewood, when they had their tenants to supply them with regular rations of chopped firewood. Later in life, he would realize that this was his mother’s way of inspiring discipline, initiative, self-reliance and hard work. These traits would later serve him well as he began his stint at fulfilling the highest function in academic institutions.
Prior to his CLSU presidential bid, he served the University of the Philippines, College of Agriculture (UPCA) as Asst. Instructor to Associate Professor from 1948-1960. Being lowest in rank during the early part of his academic career, he was saddled with too much work but he took all these with commitment and dedication in preparation for the next higher rank. Undoubtedly, his efforts paid off and his star continued to shine when at age 42, he was offered the presidential seat of the Central Mindanao University (CMU) in December 1967. By and large, his life in CMU, while a daunting task in the beginning, was otherwise assuring and rewarding. In his four years stay at CMU, he obtained additional budget appropriations which he used in constructing academic buildings, faculty and staff cottages and dormitories, as well as allocation for library materials and resources and for faculty professional growth. More importantly, while he was at CMU, he manifested his love for nature’s creatures by issuing a university policy prohibiting human intrusion of the wild ducks’ habitat. In addition to physical restructuring, he also set aside salary adjustment for the succeeding year but implementation never became possible due to an invitation to be at the helm of the Central Luzon State University.
During his first night in CLSU, the first thing he did was to meet with the student leaders. Notwithstanding the long tiring trip he had, he listened to their list of grievances and took it as an opportune time to establish rapport with them and an adjoining pledge of support. Both parties satisfied with the appeasement, they agreed to proceed with the planned rally in Rizal Park the following morning. As decided, the morning program followed and so with the reading of the manifesto discussed the night before. The morning activity was a mere dramatization of what was earlier enacted which ended with a public pronouncement of the pledged support for reforms. As Dr. Campos’ life’s chronicle would attest, the strategy worked as that rally was the first and last the students staged during his term. This dialogue with student leaders was his first strategy at reaching out to the students who are the very core of the academic community.
Early on during his presidency, Dr. Campos emphatically stated that his vision was “to build a real university that would meet the desire and dream of the youth of Central Luzon.” With this in mind, Dr. Campos devoted the first few months of his stint as CLSU President to problem identification and planning. In addition to verifying for himself the prevailing conditions, he acted as a pacifier to the warring factions between and among students, faculty and staff. These included settling professional and personal differences. Moreover, there were the most pressing problems that he saw such as: scarcity in academic buildings, classrooms and supplementing structures; inadequate staff and faculty housing and student dormitories; limited and unreliable electric and water supply; meager funds for a dynamic faculty development program; outdated curricular programs and degree offerings; research and extension, not given proper attention; university land used mostly for rice production; poorly maintained roads and fences; and lack of linkages with regional institutions and government agencies.
Putting his shoulders to the wheel, he began implementing his strategies at administration and management. However, identifying the more urgent problems was one thing; providing the more apposite solutions to the problems was another matter. Imperative was a leadership with an iron hand and a true grit to impose discipline and more importantly, to reform the prevailing culture.
During the problem identification and planning, he solicited the help of his Executive Committee and formed respective committees and waited for their reports. For the physical structure and lay-out, he hired consultants from the UP Institute of Planning and the Architectural Division of the Department of Public Works and Highways and employed the services of people in the university whom he believed were able, honest, competent and reliable. One would surmise that an administrator to become effective should profess some faith and trust in his people if he wants them to equally stay honest and loyal to his administration and public service, as well. For the needed funds, he sourced out support from foreign agencies like United Nations Development Program (UNDP), JICA, Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the USAID.
One of the first bold and controversial moves of Pres. Campos was the phase out of the high school agricultural curriculum in favor of a science-based program. This was initially opposed by a number of parents who even threatened to protest and march to Malacañan to have him ousted from his post. The phase out was later to be proven as the right move because the new program created an astounding attraction among enrollees coming from adjoining towns in Nueva Ecija. Adjacent to the adoption of the science-based curriculum, Dr. Campos initiated the conversion of much of the land to commercial rice production, thereby introducing scientific diversified farming to students. This meant leasing some areas to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) for breeding and hatchery place for tilapia and other fishes; a few hectare
The Transitional Leaders
The university was again wanting of a dependable leader after Dr. Campos’ retirement from the presidency. The man on deck was the Vice-President in the person of Dr. Pedro A. Abella.
Dr. Abella, a native of Pasig, Rizal graduated from the University of the Philippines, Los Baños with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture; took his Master of Agriculture at the University of Florida, USA; and his Ph.D. likewise at the University of Florida. He was a college scholar and an ICA-NEC and Rockefeller Foundation grantee. Prior to his employment in CLSU, he was a student assistant in UPLB; then a laborer at the Bureau of Plant Industry; and subsequently, a public secondary school teacher.
Dr. Abella rose from acting instructor in CLAC on January 17, 1952; instructor in October 1952; assistant professor and department chairman from 1964-1967; associate professor; dean and professor in 1970; director for instruction and professor III in 1974; professor V in 1976; and executive vice- president and professor VI on June 1,1977. He was in the roster of the Philippine Men of Science (National Institute of Science and Technology) and the International Who is Who in Education (International Biographical Center, Cambridge, England). He was a participant in the School Executive Development Program sponsored by the ACAP-DAP in 1978. He served as Chairman of the Board of the CLSU Credit Union, Inc. for many years and was Financial Secretary of the Knights of Columbus, CLSU Council.
Dr. Abella became the Acting President of CLSU on May 1, 1986. While he did not aspire for the position, it was by twist of fate that brought him to the post by virtue of a designation from Education Minister Lourdes Quisumbing, Fundamental in Dr. Abella’s administration was an appeal for unity and cooperation among the university constituents. Waves of agitation and shake up in the national scene were still very much felt as an aftermath of the 1986 EDSA Revolution, hence the call for peaceful reconciliation in the university was in order. In his own words, Dr. Abella sounded off the message: “Be loyal to the institution. Be loyal to your duties and responsibilities and avoid personal loyalty.” He articulated on his desire for a smooth and diplomatic administration of university affairs.
He stressed on the principle of shared and participatory management. This put into focus that resolution of any problem or conflict should be given solution in respective offices thus, no longer to be elevated to the office of the president. He also underscored on a government of consultation, particularly on certain major issues that would demand crucial decision-making. It is also worth noting that during his term, a number of faculty were elevated to the next higher ranks after the second and succeeding stages of evaluation were accomplished.
Nonchalant, relaxed, cool, considerate and endowed with a strong sense of empathy - aptly descriptive of the man and the administrator that he was. In the end, the highest reward for Dr. Abella’s toil is not what he got for it, but what he became by it. On May 13, 1987, he was accorded the honor and the privilege to retire as CLSU Acting President.
Dr. Santos’ leave of absence as President brought about by the strong upsurge of protests for a change of CLSU government created a fissure in the leadership of the university. This prompted the Board of Regents to designate an Officer-in-Charge, and subsequently, Acting President of CLSU effective May 23, 1969. The choice was Mr. Juan P. Viray.
It is worth mentioning that Mr. Viray was then acquainted with the affairs of the institution having become the Acting President of CLAC for six months in 1958 when Dr. Matela went on leave then retired. Subsequently, when Dr. Caray passed away on November 13, 1960, Mr. Viray was likewise designated officer-in-charge by the Board for another six months. A sequel to this was when Dr. Santos went to the United States for his doctoral degree (honoris causa) at the Colorado State University; again when Dr. Santos had his three-month observation spree of foreign institutions of advanced education, and for the fifth time when Dr. Santos took a leave of absence.
Born in Estanza, Lingayen, Pangasinan, he had an exemplary academic record having completed his Bachelor of Secondary Education in three years time. He acquired his master’s degree at Michigan State University.
He had his first teaching assignment in Cavite and then went to Central Luzon Agricultural School. From high school assistant principal, college dean, secretary of the Board of Regents, he rose to being Executive Vice-President of CLSU. He was one of the nominees for CLSU President during the selection of a new President in 1970 but failed to make it to the post.
Nonetheless, Mr. Viray is best remembered by his friends and associates as an “Officer and a Gentlemen”; a man of character; a man of dignity and worth. If there ever was a good man in office, more often misunderstood, being too kind and unable to say no, that man was Mr. Viray, as featured in the student paper. However, in times of turmoil, this reference would be more of an accusation than a compliment. But at his end, Education Secretary Corpuz commended Mr. Viray for his “enlightened forbearance” during the difficult years in the University, further articulating that people like Mr. Viray are likely to last and endure.
It could very well be said that Mr. Viray made his mark in the university not on the aspect of advocating reforms or of physical restructuring, but rather in the manner he approached the great challenge that he was forced by circumstances to meet. His demeanor was his inestimable capacity- the character within him to adapt to the prevailing situation. As the expression goes: “character is victory, not a gift”. During those turbulent years in the university, he stood tall, true to the words of Dwight L. Moody : “Character is what you are in the dark”. His dedication and commitment to the university went on for seven more years as Vice President until his retirement in April 1977.
Keeping the Torch Burning: The College Presidents
Dr. Santos was born in Tarlac, Tarlac on January 14, 1912. A consistent honor student in the elementary grades in his hometown, he graduated valedictorian at the UP Rural High School, College of Agriculture, Los Baños, Laguna in 1932. He completed his Bachelor of Science in Agriculture degree in UP, Los Baños in March 1936, obtaining the second highest grade point average among the members of the graduating classes.
From a classroom teacher of agriculture in 1937, he rose to the positions of supervisor, superintendent of vocational education and Chief, Vocational Information and Placement Division, Bureau of Public Schools. His professional calling covered a range of expertise and propensity on agricultural-vocational education, administration, and civic affairs.
In 1948, he topped two civil service examinations, that of Pensionado in Vocational Education and Superintendent of Agricultural Instruction. Having earned the credit of government pensionado, he was privileged to pursue post graduate studies in Colorado Agricultural and Mechanical College (now Colorado State University) at Fort Collins, Colorado, USA earning a Masters in Education degree major in vocational and agricultural education in June, 1949.
His stint abroad also included participation as a trainee under POA-PHILCUSA (now AID-NEC) Technical Assistance Program from September 1954 to February 1955 at Teachers’ College and Colombia University, New York City. His US stay afforded him the opportune time to visit and learn from country and state departments of education, general and vocational schools, colleges and universities. He took time to confer with educators, educational leaders, lay citizens and public school finance connoisseurs. Lessons derived from these visits served as his foundation for leading and dealing with people.
He was a member of several honor societies and civic organizations which included among others: board member of the Philippine Association of School Superintendents; International Honor Society; Phi Kappa Phi, UP Chapter; National Honor Society of Soil Science; Pi Gamma Mu; Colorado Agricultural and Mechanical Chapter; Alpha Tau Alpha; Honor Society of Agriculture; Gamma Sigma Delta, UP Los Baños Chapter; Philippine Association of Vocational Educators, Inc.; and Board of Directors, Rizal Center Academic Brotherhood, UP Los Baños Chapter.
As a writer, he has authored popular writings; as an educator, he was administrator of departments responsible for vocational training; as a consultant, he manifested his soundness of judgment over domestic school legislation and international studies relative to education and economic development of the country.
He was conferred the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa by his alma mater, Colorado State University. In recognition of his achievements as an educator, government advisor, educational administrator for 24 years in government service, a military officer of the Philippine Armed Forces during the Bataan Campaign of WWII; likewise for his scholarly undertakings and leadership in Philippine and foreign schools and colleges.
People who had the pleasure to associate with Dr. Santos would note a unique character in the man: idealism and good taste. This idealism has developed in him the perfectionist stance that anyone could not but admire and be awed by his impetus for excellence. A charmer and a debonair, he set the trend in good grooming and neatness in the campus. His pleasing personality earned for him the esteem and high regard of the people and community he served.
Undeniably so, life was never easy for every administrator. However, Dr. Santos’ ingenuity and eruditeness helped him overcome the barriers. As early as his first ascent to power, he embarked on his beautification program for CLAC which he pursued throughout his term. He got on with the physical improvement of the college by constructing a new administration building. On the academic aspect, he strengthened the research-extension program, and raised the level of instruction, thereby earning for him the distinction “most outstanding educator” for Central Luzon in 1962. This award of distinction was granted during the annual recognition day of the seven Central Luzon provinces.
Dr. Hilario J Santos, by unanimous vote was installed in as the First President of CLSU. In his address, he articulated his happiness at having been given the formidable challenge and vowed to hold dear the “coveted position” thus to exert his level best for the university to achieve its goals as expected by the Board. In no time, the core of Pres. Santos’ leadership was leading the community in the structural, functional and academic concerns; hiring of qualified personnel; and the increase in budget outlay. New curricular programs were developed, while all existing curricular programs were revised.
Formulated were certain conventions for the academic program to abide with such as: scientific and applied instruction to prepare the students economically and make them contributors to national progress; an ambiance of independent critical thinking and free expression; development of nationalism with its core on cultural heritage and tradition; fostering in the students the “one world” idea and international brotherhood; emphasis on value formation and character building; and stress on the dignit of labor.
Significantly, two projects were set off by Dr. Santos during his term of office. The first one, a five-year project from 1969-1973 was called UNDP/SF/PHI 20 which gained assistance from the United Nations Development Program for strengthening the agricultural training. The budget covered personal services of consultants, field specialists, faculty fellowship and procurement of supplies and materials. The other project had to do with social and economic development of students which allocated a portion of their food requirements implemented from 1968-1972. The project was called UN/FAO/World Food Program.
Participation of CLSU among others, included: partaking in a step up manpower training initiated by the national government from 1968-1969; launching a rice demonstration farm for micro-mechanization applications; establishing a seed bank to dish up Central Luzon farmers; and carrying out a Murrah buffalo dispersal program.
His administration, sadly though, was destabilized by a fire of undetermined origin that burned down the two-storey Science Building. However, what was more agitating was the growing discontent in the national scenario. Clamors and protests were heard everywhere and CLSU was no exception. The call for reform was so intense that preempted the official exit of Pres. Santos. His parting words: “I can look straight into the eyes of everybody in that university. I have no regret and I welcome this so that I could be with my family since I have been out for so long a time.” That fateful day was February 15, 1969. He took a leave of absence and eventually retired as President of CLSU on January 1, 1970. The educator and civic leader had indeed gained his eventual triumph despite the storms that assailed his human spirit. His was the true courage to have consented to leave the helm of power for the welfare of all concerned. What mattered was, he saw his cherished dream realized.
The presidency of Mr. Elias Caray may be said to be the shortest in the history of Central Luzon Agricultural College, not for any reason of influence or politics but due to his untimely death on November 13, 1960 after only one year and 8 months in office. He assumed as president of CLAC on March 16, 1959.
A native of Lemery, Batangas, after finishing his elementary and high school, he proceeded to the University of the Philippines, College of Agriculture where he obtained four degrees: Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, Bachelor of Science in Education and Master of Science in Agriculture. This was exemplary though. It was no wonder that not long after that, he began treading the pathway of his professional calling.
In 1927, he started as assistant instructor in organic chemistry, then was appointed as a high school teacher. After three years, he acquired the post of principal up till 1939. Adding to the roster of his administrative line of work, he served as supervisor of the general secondary schools at the Bureau of Education for three years; one year as superintendent of secondary education and took charge of the vocational education; 12 years as division superintendent of schools in four provinces and for four years as technical assistant and adviser on vocational and technical education in the Bureau of Public Schools.
His affiliation with the Bureau of Public Schools brought into fore his involvement in multifarious national assemblies relative to economic, technical, vocational and science education interests. He also was actively busy with his participation in national and international organizations.
Preceding his appointment to the presidency of CLAC, he was awarded the Smith-Mundt scholarship that brought him to Pennsylvania State University in the United States for special graduate training in agricultural education, vocational education, adult education, and guidance and counseling courses. While in the US, he observed and learned from the many and varied secondary and collegiate programs of vocational and technical education, vocational teacher training and other related fields. Moreover, he visited other countries in Europe, Asia, Middle East and Africa to enhance his experiences and encounters with the aforementioned countries’ agricultural and industrial applications.
President Caray’s accomplishment in CLAC was highlighted by the construction of a market which was inaugurated on October 10, 1959. The “CLAC Supermarket” as it was called then, was the venue of business activity in the campus. The market became a place to acquire the community’s basic and subsidiary needs. Among others, the market housed groceries, general merchandise, bookstore, newspaper-magazine stand, eateries, tailoring and dress shops, and barber shops. More importantly, while the campus residents, particularly the student farmers, may not realize it then, it gave them a feeling of self-esteem and an enhancement of their entrepreneurial acumen, it being the place where they sold their produce. Added to this, was that items were sold at reasonably lower prices than outside, hence they helped in promoting the market sales thereby, also helping in augmenting other finances of the college.
The period also saw the construction of a Kindergarten Building funded by the resources of the Women’s Club. “Little Baguio” was improved and renamed “College Park”. It featured a place called “Lovers’ Island”, probably called such, as it was where loving couples shared and spent their romantic hours together. The fishponds were further expanded for recreational purposes. One environmental move was planting agoho trees and ornamental shrubs in the park.
One indication of his fund raising ability was a grant-in-aid sourced out from the Rockefeller Foundation amounting to P75,000 which was used for procuring science and laboratory equipment and supplies. This was a sequel to the $9,000 assistance granted by the Foundation for faculty professional growth abroad.
Mr. Arcadio Matela was recognized to have been accorded the honor of serving CLAS as its last Filipino Superintendent. He was Superintendent of the Vocational Education Division of the Bureau of Public Schools when the assignment to become CLAS Superintendent beckoned. This assignment was tailor-made for him because he was a teacher at heart. As a young boy, his dream was simple: to become a teacher, which would have been considered strange to most young boys. A native of Tanay, Rizal, his parents have always been supportive of the dream. His childhood was characterized by diligence and industry. Poverty did not in any way deter him from continuing his education. He worked as a houseboy for the mayor in his hometown. What he earned from this, he used to augment the expenses he needed to study.
After pursuing his studies at the College of Agriculture, University of the Philippines, Los Baños, his chance to make real his dream came. He was appointed as an agricultural teacher in San Carlos Rural High School. His display of dedication to his work was rewarded when he was promoted as Industrial Arts Supervisor for Cotabato schools. Thus, his ardent drive for vocational education began. Not long after his persistent work on the promotion of vocational education in the Philippines, war broke out. He could not just ignore the country in peril, He served as a USAFFE lieutenant and as a guerilla during the war.. During the Japanese occupation, Mr. Matela continued to serve as general industrial supervisor, and later was in command of agricultural guidance in the plant industry. While serving those functions, he pressed on with his mission of encouraging the people to take advantage of every opportunity to study. He tried to help those who manifested interest in such endeavor.
More staunch than ever, he went to Adamson University in 1946 and completed the degree of Bachelor of Science in Education. A year after, he was awarded a scholarship to pursue a masters degree at Iowa State University. Completing the degree within a year and with his scholastic achievements, he was installed as a member of Phi Delta Kappa and Gamma Sigma Delta honor societies in education and agriculture, respectively. His stay at the Iowa State University provided him the chance at getting a close examination of contemporary educational trends and surveyed no less than 25 states for a visit of farms and industries. Moreover, his US experiences and the people he met provided the foothold for more challenging jobs ahead especially concerning vocational and agricultural education.
After his stint at Iowa State University, he was made technical advisor to the Joint Congressional Committee on Education in Manila. Primordially, his task was to assist in drafting plans for the improvement of vocational education in the Philippines. That was in 1948. Consequently, in recognition of his indelible efforts at promoting agricultural education, Mr. Matela was honored with a gold medal and a certificate of merit for “dynamic, progressive and forceful leadership in agricultural education” in line with the celebration of the Golden Jubilee of the Philippine Educational System.
The damages brought by the war were sufficient proofs of the urgency to rehabilitate the school. The money amounting to P696,990 donated by the United States-Philippine War Damage Commission was used to construct 84 new buildings.
As Superintendent, he was credited with the following: made modern, practical and productive the improved schools projects; strengthened the linkage with adjacent municipalities which allowed students to extend services on grafting, marcotting and plant propagation techniques and visitation of farms and orchards; emphasized on media linkage; and reinforced the placement and guidance services units; constructed more cottages, swimming pool and dormitories; introduced intercropping; and improved the irrigation system from Magtanggol going to the school.
Vocational education was his mania. Or probably, it was more like a passion to him because of the growing lethargy on the subject not only from among the people of his province during his school days but even more from the leaders of education themselves. This was exactly what spurred him to advocate vocational education when he began his rising career in the academe. Mr. Matela was to be given more opportunities to pursue this passion.
At the Helm of Power: the Filipino Superintendents
The Filipino Superintendents had a tough act to follow, but they were up to the task. In fact, they were able to weather the most difficult period of the school’s existence: the war years and post-war era.
After serving as principal of CLAS, Mr. Saddul was promoted as head of CLAS during the post liberation era. He was ascribed to have worked toward the restoration of the debilitated CLAS due to the severity of the war. Remarkably, Mr. Saddul’s achievements were rehabilitation works of buildings and improvement of the social amenities in the school; acquisition of supplies, facilities and equipment, and farm machineries for instruction and practical or hands-on activities; rehabilitation of livestock, poultry rice farms and other agricultural projects; seeing to the peace and security of the campus employing students as police guards; initiation of the CLAS elementary school; increasing the production of staple and secondary crops; enhancement of faculty growth via the offering of Saturday classes; and provision of fair and proper food rations to student farmers.
It was also during his administration that young girls were provided a place in CLAS through the offering of a four-year Agricultural Homemaking Course. More importantly however, was that CLAS acquired back its dignity and morale.
At the time the school was ordered for closure, the Japanese occupied the place as their garrison. It reopened in July 1942 under Mr. Ramos, who was a non-resident of CLAS. He held the Nueva Ecija Division Superintendent post. During his term, there was a handful of students in campus and who were involved in doing intelligence work for the Americans. In essence, school activities were only for maintenance and school subsistence.
However, it is worthy to note that despite the critical times, 84 students managed to graduate in 1944 and 10 in 1945. Remarkable likewise was the organization of a guerilla unit known as Squadron 222, Luzon Guerilla Armed Forces (LGAF) under Capt Jose Saddul, who eventually became the next official CLAS superintendent. Likewise, Mr. Ramos was credited to have taken charge of evacuating the school constituents to the nearby barrios in December 1944.
As the first Filipino Superintendent, Mr. Asinas was the first to put CLAS in the limelight of the academic world. He was credited to have completed the physical lay-out of the school. Foremost among his accomplishments were the construction of modern teachers’ cottages; transfer of the bowling alleys from the Concordia Hall to the telephone central and barber shop building; putting up additional shoe repair and tailor shops, and the main and sawmill gates; construction of a giant flagpole; establishing the Salvador natatorium at the Little Baguio, a greenhouse and a floriculture garden; provision of 16,000 volumes of reading collections for the library; and one of his most notable accomplishments was putting up a 120-piece military brass band, string band and orchestra.
It was unfortunate, however, that while Mr. Asinas was registering approval for his noteworthy achievements, World War II broke out. With a heavy heart, he ordered the closure of CLAS and along with the other faculty and staff who were reservists, he answered the call for active military duty. He survived the rigors of the war and was a hero in his own right. Later, he became President of the Mindanao Institute of Technology and in the next succeeding years, held the highest post at the University of Eastern Philippines.
The Pioneering Leaders
Notable during the American regime was the proliferation of literacy in the country; in essence, free and compulsory education. Those selected to study in American universities returned to the country to teach the arts, sciences, journalism and economics. The clamor for white collar jobs and glamorous professions created in the students the dislike toward vocational education.
Laying Down the Foundation: The American Superintendents
The establishment of the Central Luzon Agricultural School could be likened to the birth of an ingenious brainchild. Its realization could be attributed to the pioneering leaders, notably the Americans, who laid the foundation of a unique agricultural school. Their task was made more notable because of the general dislike among students toward vocational education at that time. Nonetheless, the repugnant attitude toward vocational education even sparked the enthusiasm among the American officials to promote this area of specialization and even brought to the frontage the wealth of Philippine soil. This became evident during the administration of American superintendents and while their administration was at some time, short, nonetheless, each superintendent’s little star in his own right shone brightly, each in his own time.
If the other administrators were all scientifically inclined, Mr. Reimers was of a different breed. Being the artist that he was, his concentration was on the aesthetic aspect of the school. It was however unfortunate that during his time, the gourami fishpond was wiped out by flood. Among his artistic showings were the following: established the botanical garden which housed rare species of plants and likewise the sunken garden fronting the Infirmary; planted rare species in the horticulture project; improved the acoustics of the cinema building formerly called Concordia Hall but which was later renamed Reimers’ Hall as a tribute to him; and bought oil paintings and more resources for the library. In addition, he constructed bowling alleys in Concordia Hall; built a Malay guardhouse at the main gate; constructed a tractor shed; modernized the students’ exchange store; improved the management of the students’ bank; and extended the water system to the animal project.
He was a very exacting administrator and stern in his rules that no outside animals were allowed to graze inside the campus. Foremost in his administration were relocating the expansive poultry project to Little Baguio; introduction of the talkie; and increasing the library collection.
It was another short year for a superintendent. However, Mr. Spiller was able to accomplish the construction of the following: a modern bakery at the back of the insiders’ mess hall; a tennis court; the improvement of the theater building; continuing the fencing of the areas of Sawmill and San Juan; expansion of the poultry project; and the offering of a short term course in farm mechanics.
Mr. Hartman served as principal under Supt. Comer, subsequently becoming Superintendent in 1931. Uniquely, Hartman initiated the expansion of the library which was considered the biggest in the country during that era. Among others, Mr. Hartman caused improvement on the blacksmith shop and the pump room; bought farm tractors for the farm machinery section; constructed additional houses for student farmers and for swine; fenced the animal projects’ lots as well as the Bantug and Bagong Sikat areas; expanded the goat and dairy projects; and put up the gourami fishponds.
Mr. Comer focused his concentration on additional construction, foremost were student cottages and utility houses in San Juan Bassit and the Sawmill place; modern concrete hospital known now as the Infirmary; and the concrete 80-foot high water reservoir and silo. He also fenced the entire reservation with barbed wire. He expanded the animal projects and started the dairy goat farm.
It was a short stint for Mr. Roth. Nonetheless, he would be remembered for having put up a faculty court consisting of cottages around Rizal Park.
He continued on with the construction work of his predecessor and came up with two-storey dormitories, a Gabaldon-type building, superintendent’s cottage and teachers’ cottages. In addition, he had the cattle and carabao pasture area enclosed with barbed wire to ensure the security of the animals. The poultry and swine projects were concentrated in the animal project area. To enhance the greening effect, he had more mango trees planted in the school grounds.
Characteristic of Mr. Oesch’s time was the construction of permanent buildings in 1924. He also put up the Trust Bank Building which was used as the administration site. The building was donated by high school Class 1925.
He was Assistant Superintendent to Mr. Moe, subsequently becoming his successor in 1922. In his one-year stint, Mr. Wright bought horses for transport and supervision over the vast farm area. In addition, he acquired three hangars or sheds from the Philippine National Guard at Camp Claudio. He had these used for property bodega, carpentry, printing and cinematography shops.
Mr. Moe may be attributed to have been the longest staying CLAS Superintendent and among them, with the most accomplishments. During his stay as administrator, he expanded the school reservation and had 653 hectares cleared and cultivated for students’ entrepreneurial activities. Moreover, he caused the planning and construction of six provincial dormitories, temporary classrooms, house and office of the superintendent, student exchange, power plant, theater, and a 2 - storey building (10x26 sq m) with upper portion used as offices and the lower part for storage of farm supplies. He also had an athletic playground established and had it planted around with acacia and mango trees.
Mr. Moe launched a breakthrough in the academic curriculum. He phased out the 5th to 7th grade farm school paving the way for the take off of the agricultural high school. It is likewise worthy of mention that Mr. Moe also supervised the new school district when Muñoz was made into a town in 1913. He then commissioned CLAS students to extend teaching services in the central and barrio schools. Part of extension service was excavation of canals and diverting streams for irrigation. For teachers all over the country, CLAS extended training in gardening skills. Alongside, he organized CLAS as a community equipped with basic amenities supervised by the teachers. Such services included a general store, a bank, a hospital, post-telegraph, printing press, barber shop, photograph studio, woodworking shop, rice mill, sawmill, bakery, iron working shop, tailoring, electric power plant and a moving picture theater. The students elected their council officers. A judge was appointed by the superintendent housed in the office for justice. Meanwhile, a police to maintain the peace and order was also appointed and a sanitary service was instituted to safeguard the health of the community.
It was also during his administration that a monthly publication called Student Farmer was put up giving way to a display of writing prowess among students and faculty. Distinctively, Mr. Moe put up the first Carnival and Exposition Fair held in 1917 which showcased the school’s progress.
Mr. Helms assumed the post of CLAS Superintendent in April, 1910 at a time when CLAS was on a crisis and physical condition was in shambles. To alleviate the prevailing situation, Mr. Helms brought with him boys from Cuyapo, Nueva Ecija to help him restore the school facilities. Some 29 students stood by him through the difficulties and rose to 84 in June 1910 then to 127 in December. His administration saw to the clearing and cultivation of 15 hectares and came up with a production of 400 cavans of palay, plentiful ears of corn and 20 cavans of peanut. In addition, he built bigger dormitories to accommodate more students; caused the digging of irrigation ditches through the fields; organized a system of administration; and recruited qualified pool of faculty.
Mr. George Whiting was the first resident superintendent. He was the first to open the school formally, starting with 50 students. His administrative tasks constituted of acquisition of materials, installation and construction of facilities. Among others, he acquired one tractor engine, a dish plow, 14 work animals and varied farm accouterments; installed a sawmill, cattle and sawmill sheds; and built one dormitory with a kitchen and mess room, one schoolhouse that served to stock up the farm tools and as a granary, and one cottage each for Filipinos and Americans.
A series of natural calamities and an epidemic of malaria and dysentery almost resulted in the closure of the school. Mr. Whiting was not spared and became ill. The plan of closing down the school almost won over if not for the Bureau of Education putting the CLAS under its direct administration and control. Hence, CLAS was temporarily safe. Mr. Whiting was however relieved from his post.
Mr. Thompson, then division superintendent of Nueva Ecija schools, blazed the trail toward the establishment of the Muñoz Farm School, later known as Central Luzon Agricultural School (CLAS). His administration lasted for barely two years (1907-1909) but his most significant contribution was giving birth to a concept. As the saying goes: “one small step may become a great leap for mankind.” True enough, that small step became the entry point to the future.
Following through as division superintendent in 1909 was Mr. C.D. Whipple. Providing form to the idea, he introduced farming as a profession. The farm school was organized and made a pilot training school for boys on the practical and scientific methods of agriculture. He had three buildings of light materials constructed - a dormitory, schoolhouse and a mess hall. Mr. Thompson and Mr. Whipple were generally recognized as the founders of the Muñoz Farm School.