ArchivesAugust 2010Bizarre incident at Foundation U

Bizarre incident at Foundation U


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In case you’re interested, a bizarre scene unfolded this week at Foundation University, as a motley group of people conducted a meeting inside the main gate, proclaiming themselves as the new leadership of the venerable 61-year-old institution. {{more}}

Truthfully, hardly anyone paid them any heed, as the group sat and talked amid a steady stream of students, faculty, and staff, hurrying past them at the start of another day of hard work.

Nearby, the group’s conspicuous four-man contingent of armed men waited harmlessly inside a blue Toyota Tamaraw parked along Dr. Miciano Road.

The “meeting” lasted all of 15 minutes – all bluster and no substance.

If Dr. Vicente G. Sinco – our school’s founder – had been looking on, he would have shook his head as he stood beneath a large welcoming banner that says in bold print “Foundation University is a Zone of Non- violence and Peace.”

But let’s move past this laughable gathering.

Let’s walk together into the campus, first passing beneath a banner that exhorts students to develop healthy minds and bodies, another that states our mission to provide quality education to all, and yet, more signs that ask members of our University community to donate a cup of rice each month to those among us who don’t have enough to eat.

On that same day, something significant transpired inside our lush and inviting campus as academic accreditors from PACUCOA witnessed with deep admiration and respect the progress we have achieved in the last 15 years.

The school was bankrupt in 1995. Today, those dark days are far behind.

“We are very impressed by the strong sense of spirituality, morality, and loyalty among your students, faculty, administration and staff,” one accreditor stated in her preliminary findings. “Much of what we have seen and heard is highly commendable.”

During their three-day tour, the diverse, six- member team of qualified academics, noted our strong management support for faculty development, and our budgetary commitment to continuing the process of improvement.

They praised our healthy student-centered environment, and they marveled at our impressive laboratories which feature modern facilities for the teaching of information technology, nursing, and sciences.

They lauded our unique approach of uncompromising personalized attention.

Foundation University’s library rates among the best in the nation, they said. They liked our idea of digitizing books and learning materials — and our extensive use of online communication between departments and between teachers and students.

They were amazed by our progress towards becoming a completely “paperless” university. They wished that their own campuses had the same extensive WIFI coverage.

Best of all, they just loved the campus. Period.

They confessed that our facilities are far superior to those of many elite Manila schools. We made them feel welcome. They wondered how all this could have materialized at a non-stock, non-profit, and non-sectarian institution.

Basically, we told them that it wasn’t easy – that it has been the result of vision, commitment, consensus, and just plain hard work.

This group is affiliated with the Philippine Commission on Higher Education, and they have virtually assured us we will be granted Level 3 accreditation in the coming weeks, allowing us to be semi-autonomous in developing future programs and more new facilities.

Be assured that we are not resting on our laurels. We now set our sights on the full autonomy that comes with achieving Level 4 accreditation, the highest granted educational institutions in the Philippines.

Yes, we need to beef up our research component. And we will. Our relevance to our community and society depends on it. This is our highest goal.

Recently, we have embarked on joint ventures with the Buglass Institute in Dauin, as well as another industrial partners seeking to create a center for computer sciences right here in Dumaguete.

We are also exploring a program of micro-financing that focuses on small and sustainable production ventures that will have an end market that benefits all involved.

Because our agricultural programs emphasize organic food production, we have been invited by the Negros Island Sustainable Agriculture & Rural Development (NISARD) Board to spearhead its programs in the Central Visayan region.

These projects will expand research opportunities for our students and faculty, and make us ever more indispensable and vital to our community.

Today, we press on with a vision imagined long ago. We encourage people to get past their preconceived notions of Foundation University. We strive daily to provide an education unmatched anywhere in the islands. We present you an experience unquantifiable in monetary terms alone.

Earlier this month, the Foundation University community participated in the first ever Dal-uy Festival of Hope on the Dumaguete waterfront. Thousands of us launched little floats decorated with candles, and inscribed with our wishes for the future. It was a sight to behold.

Under a bright display of bursting fireworks, I thought of my late father and grandfather.

The water lapped gently at my feet as innumerable floats illuminated the darkness all around. I wished for my ancestors to be proud of all of us at Foundation U. Just then, a cool, gentle breeze swept past and at that moment, I knew they were.

Luis Leandro D. Sinco
Photojournalist, LA Times
Board Member, Foundation University

Foundation University soccer players whoop it up after winning the Engr. Arevalo cup at the
Perdices Memorial Coliseum last Wednesday. (Photo by Hersley Ven Casero)

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