I HAVE some favorite quotes from great minds that have transcended time and space. Among them is Aristotle who once said: “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” Will Durant has this interesting quote: “Education is the discovery of our own ignorance”. And the more profound is this by Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam: “the greatest minds in the country can be found in the last benches of the classroom.”
I had the privilege of seeing the administration of two presidents: Don Rodolfo T. Lizares and Gregorio Lizares Escario of the Cebu Institute of Technology (CIT) now University. I was too young to witness the presidency of its founder Dr. Nicolas Escario, but the CIT-U will not be where and what it is today with countless board topnotchers in practically all fields of engineering and conquering new areas , had he not have the brainchild of founding the school.
A third generation president was installed not too long. Young, quite shy but full of promise to carry on what his predecessors have accomplished, Bernard Nicolas (Bernick) Escario Villamor had this to say for his inaugural speech:
“President John F. Kennedy’s unforgettable line was, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” What can I do for CIT-U? I know that I cannot give what I do not have. In Latin, “ego potest non id quod non habet.” So what can I give? As I reflected, I found something. I have something to give. Something that I received from three sources.”
“The first source is family. Dad (Dr. Abdias Villamor) showed humility as he thought more of others – he was a pediatrician, who emphasized the patients’ welfare above all. When he passed away last February, this trait was highlighted when patients expressed their gratefulness to my dad for his care. He was the perfect role model that Rick Warren described in his book, A Purpose-Driven Life. “Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less. Humility is thinking more of others.” Another hallmark that I got from him was to: “always be quick in action.” After all, doctors have to act quickly during an emergency.
“Mom demonstrates selflessness and generosity. Even if you do not have money, one can be generous in its alternate forms. You can be generous by listening, understanding, praising, rewarding, and in being honest, even though it hurts sometimes. Clem my wife, Bianca, Niño, and I value education. It is the best gift. As parents, we have to be consistent role models in showing them the right values.”
Bernick continues: “The second source is education. Schooling plus experience, plus schooling plus experience is education. If I were to associate virtues and lessons to milestones, it would be like so...”
The new president had his earlier education at the Colegio de la Inmaculada Concepcion; high school was spent at Don Bosco and College at De La Salle University.
His five-year work at a Japanese camera manufacturer that included a two-year intensive training in Japan improved his engineering skills leading to establishing his own camera assembly factory and running it for a decade. Studying briefly at the Ateneo-Regis University and earning an Executive MBA from the Asian Institute of Management honed his strategic thinking. An unfinished PhD at USC impressed the power of theoretical frameworks. Now, on an ongoing Executive DBA from the Business School of Netherlands, he is visioning for the future of CIT-U in the digital era.
The third source is CIT-U itself, according to Bernick. Under the mentorship of his Tito Greg, he gathered countless nuggets of his wisdom. But his Tito Greg taught him that the real secret to CIT-U’s success is here in the halls – the greatest asset of CIT University, the committed people in front and behind the scenes. CIT-U has become an autonomous, accredited university because of the untiring efforts of the academic community.”
Also, the gems of CIT-U are the successful alumni all over the world. You have given CIT-U its good name.
After 70 years, CIT and now CIT-U has garnered over 70 first placers and almost 670 board topnotchers. The school’s favorite slogan: “CIT Tops Again” will expand to include students who excel in the international arena.
As Bernick ends his speech, he says: “These three sources, family, education, and great people have given me something that I consider a gift. Now I have the answer to what I can do for CIT-U. And that is to give this gift. And this gift is my hunger, will, and passion to make CIT-U the best university! My eye is on student success and a beautiful campus. We will do it with precision and with agility. That is what I can do for CIT-U, and that is what I can do for our country. As Pablo Picasso said, “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”
Congratulations Bernick! More power to you!