University of the Philippines Los Baños

Four years ago, Dr. Fernando Chinte Sanchez, Jr., associate professor of landscape horticulture at the College of Agriculture (CA), designed and decorated the stage of Quirino Grandstand in Manila for the then inauguration of Pres. Benigno S. Aquino III in 2010. Fast forward to Oct. 29, 2014, and Dr. Sanchez found himself standing on a beautifully designed stage at the Makiling Botanic Gardens (MBG) Pavilion where he took his oath as the ninth chancellor of UPLB.

By holding the turnover and his oath-taking ceremony at the MBG, Chancellor Sanchez was paying tribute to the memory of his grandfather, Dr. Felix Oraa Chinte, Sr. Dr. Chinte started the teaching vocation in the Chinte-Sanchez family as a pioneer faculty member at the then College of Forestry.

In his first official address as UPLB Chancellor, Chancellor Sanchez recalled how he accompanied his grandfather to Mount Makiling during the latter’s field works. In these trips, he witnessed the old man’s dedication, perseverance, and commitment to the University.

Who would have thought that by inspiring teachers in his family, one of them would rise to the highest position in UPLB? Dr. Chinte would have been proud of how Chancellor Sanchez enjoined the UPLB constituents to perform their roles towards making UPLB a globally competitive research university.

In his acceptance message, Chancellor Sanchez provided a picture of his desired form of leadership. Using the quote from the late senator and education secretary Raul Roco, he said that “leadership today should be like the leadership of an orchestra conductor.” He may not be an expert pianist, violinist, or other musician in the orchestra, but at the wave of his hand, he can direct the musical artists to give their best efforts or play their respective instruments and “create a beautiful symphony.”

With this analogy, he reminded his vice chancellors to do what is right so that the sound of their collective leadership would “produce pleasant music to everyone.”

Likewise, he enjoined the UPLB constituents to help one another in achieving a globally competitive UPLB. He said, “Our objective to make UPLB a globally competitive research University is not just my mission, but also yours. Everyone has the talent and capabilities. As I have always said, let us make unity in diversity happen.”

In his turnover message, Dr. Rex Victor O. Cruz, outgoing chancellor, thanked his vice chancellors, the deans, faculty, staff, students, and alumni for their contributions to the University’s achievements in the past three years. He cited the milestones of his administration and expressed his hope that these will be continued by the incoming administration. Dr. Cruz reiterated his full support and cooperation to the incoming administration and called on the deans to work closely with Chancellor Sanchez for the continuous modernization and improvement of UPLB.

UP President Alfredo E. Pascual, who administered the oath-taking, thanked the outgoing administration for its initiatives to make the University world-class. He assured the UPLB constituents of the UP System’s support to the goal of Chancellor Sanchez to make UPLB globally competitive. UP’s direction as a regional and global university is a clause in the UP Charter of 2008.

President Pascual challenged the new administration to address the need to “stanch the bleeding” of faculty to lucrative opportunities outside the University and outside the country. He cited providing incentives to faculty members and research, extension, and professional staff (REPS) through performance-based payments as one of the solutions to the issue. He also encouraged the Sanchez administration to optimize resource-generating assets of the University to increase its budget and bridge its scarce resources. He then enjoined everyone to cooperate with the new chancellor to meet these challenges.

Chancellor Sanchez also formally introduced his new vice chancellors: Dr. Portia G. Lapitan for academic affairs; Prof. Rex B. Demafelis for research and extension; Dr. Marish B. Madlangbayan for planning and development; and Dr. Serlie Barroga-Jamias for community affairs. Dr. Crisanto A. Dorado has been retained as vice chancellor for administration, while Atty. Damcelle T. Cortes is the new assistant to the chancellor.

Meanwhile, the new assistants to the vice chancellors are Prof. Juliet A. delos Reyes for academic affairs; Dr. Susan F. Calumpang for research and extension; Engr. Gregorio S. Pascual for planning and development; Prof. Genaro A. Cuaresma for community affairs; and Dr. Florentino C. Monsalud for administration.

Chancellor Sanchez’s parents, retired CA professors Dr. Fernando F. Sanchez, Sr. and Dr. Priscilla Chinte-Sanchez witnessed the occasion along with his wife, Dr. Patricia Ann Jaranilla-Sanchez, only son Tristan Fernando, and mother-in-law Julie Ann A. Jaranilla. Despite the venue being far from the University’s academic core, constituents overflowed in the park to witness the event.

The music played by Harmonya: The String Ensemble of UPLB, the hymns sung by international champion UPLB Chorale Ensemble, the lush and colorful flora of Mount Makiling, and even the intermittent drizzle lent more drama to the occasion. The event ended at dusk as some of the flora of Mt. Makiling nurtured buds to welcome a new chapter in the University.