State university installs fifth president-A A +A
Sunday, July 15, 2012
THE Western Mindanao State University (WMSU), now celebrating its 108th Founding Anniversary, will formally install Dr. Milabel Enriquez-Ho as its fifth president during the investiture ceremonies slated Monday afternoon at the Dr. Juanito A. Bruno Gymnasium.
Commission on Higher Education (Ched) Commissioner Nona Ricafort, who chairs the WMSU Board of Regents (BOR), will preside over Ho’s investiture to be attended by Representative Juan Eduardo Angara, who sits in the BOR as chairman of the House committee on higher and technical education and Mayor Celso Lobregat.
Ho’s formal installation to office came three months after winning the election for the WMSU presidency last April 16 with six out of 10 regents voting in her favor, besting three other candidates for the position, namely; then University Board Secretary Dr. Armando Arquiza; Dr. Marilou Elago, dean of the College of Science and Math; and Dr. Gloria Florendo, dean of the College of Nursing.
Serving WMSU for almost 34 years now, Ho rose from the ranks, having been a visiting lecturer to accredited Professor V and served various designations like university and board secretary, vice president for research and extension development, and vice president for academic affairs, among others.
To recall, the WMSU presidency was left vacant after Dr. Grace Rebollos’s term expired in September 2011.
Three women candidates vied for the position. They were former Ched Commissioner Dr. Luningning Umar, Ho and Elago.
Umar won in the first election and officially occupied the post on November 15, 2011.
However, Umar stint in the WMSU presidency was short-lived.
This, after the Civil Service Commission (CSC) disqualified her from the position on account of her being a Ched commissioner having direct supervision over the very institution she wanted to lead as president.
The issue resulted in a legal controversy, haunting the WMSU presidency until finally, the CSC declared Umar’s election null and void from the very beginning.
In effect, WMSU did not have a sitting president since Rebollos left the office in September of 2011.
Seven months later, the WMSU Board of Regents convened again in Manila last April 16 and finally elected Ho as the fifth university president, succeeding Rebollos.
The WMSU Board of Regents is chaired by Ched Commissioner Patricia Licuanan, represented by Commissioner Nona Ricarfort as the presiding chairperson, with Ho, vice chairperson; Senator Edgardo Angara, chairman of the Senate committee on education, arts and culture, represented by Renato San Agustin; Representative Angara, chairman of the House committee on higher and technical education, represented by Lobregat; National Economic Development Authority (Neda) Regional Director Teresita Socorro Ramos; WMSU Alumni Association president Charlie Mariano, WMSU Faculty Union president Grace Tillah-Alasco; University Student Council president Alvin Rex Lucero, and private sector representatives Servando Evangelista and Rafael Evangelista.
Founded in 1901 by virtue or Republic Act 372, WMSU started as a secondary school in Zamboanga City, and became a tributary normal school to the Philippine Normal College in Manila in 1909.
In 1914, it became the Provincial Normal School.
In 1961, by virtue of R.A. 3272, the school was elevated to the Zamboanga Normal College, which was converted in 1969 to the Zamboanga State College pursuant to R.A. 5492, until June 10, 1978 when it became a university by its present name pursuant to Presidential Decree (PD) 1427 with the late Dr. Juanito Bruno as the first president.
In 1986, the late Dr. Bernabela Ko became the second president and the first woman to hold the position until 1991.
From 1991 to 1997, WMSU was under Dr. Erdulfo Fernando presidency, and was succeeded by Dr. Eldigario Gonzales (1997-2007).
In September 2007, Dr. Grace Rebollos, the first summa cum laude graduate of the university, became the fourth president until September 2011. (Bong Garcia)