An eight-year ride full of progress, reflection, and challenges certainly deserves a celebration for its well-deserved heritage.
In the culmination of the series of festivities and University activities that celebrate the leadership, innovation, gratitude, heritage, triumphs, and success of the University of Southeastern Philippines (USeP) dubbed as the L.I.G.H.T.S. of LOURDES, Dr. Lourdes C. Generalao delivered her final State of the University Address (SOUA) as the 6th University President on November 10, 2023, at the University Gymnasium and Cultural Center (UGCC), USeP Obrero Campus, Davao City.
The University also recognized and honored outstanding and exceptional individuals, offices, and partners who played a significant role in the development and progress of the University. As USeP aims to foster a culture of excellence and inspire others to strive for professional growth, the event highlighted the University’s dedication to cultivating talent and commitment and instilled a deep sense of appreciation within the community.
Moreover, the “Pagpupugay at Pasasalamat sa Pangulo” offered a heartfelt tribute to the outgoing president, Dr. Generalao, for her invaluable leadership, dedication, and service to the University in the past 43 years- with the last eight years serving as the University President.
This activity is attended by the USeP Board of Regents, University officials, family and friends of the outgoing President, Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges (PASUC) XI and other SUC Presidents, Faculty and Staff, Student leaders, Alumni Federation Officers, and other University stakeholders and partners.
Generalao’s final SOUA: Triumphs, wish lists, hopes
Dr. Generalao opened her SOUA with a personal take on the official tagline of the University, “We Build Dreams Without Limits,” stating that it is more than a fancy tagline as, according to her, since the inception of USeP, the University has been instrumental in turning the dreams of each member of the community – from students, teaching and non-teaching personnel, and its community partners.
She also recalled how the University became her first and last employer, as she will retire from public service after her tenure as the 6th USeP President. She recalled,
“It took me back to the year 1980 when I first applied to the University as a fresh graduate and was hired as a temporary instructor, oblivious to what lies ahead. As most of you know, USeP is my first employer, and who would have thought that it would also be my last? Perhaps, my loyalty to USeP has always been ingrained in my heart. From being a temporary instructor with a simple dream of earning a decent salary to provide for my family to retiring as the University President who propelled the institution to greater heights, it is true: if one aspires and does it with excellence, success is attainable. Forty-three years in public service has been a humbling experience.”
Dr. Generalao also reiterated her vision of USeP as a future-ready University which she recalled the need to reposition the University amidst external factors such as ASEAN Integration, K-12 (Kindergarten to 12) program, Roadmap for Public Higher Education Reforms (RPHER) 2011-2016, and Davao Regional Development Plan (DRDP) 2011-2016, and the Covid-19 pandemic in late 2019.
Read the accomplishments of the University under the administration of Dr. Generalao through this link: (Link ng FINAL Presidential Report)
In closing, Dr. Generalao expressed her excitement for the next chapter of her life as well as of the University under the new leadership. She also conveyed her confidence in the incoming President- Dr. Bonifacio G. Gabales, Jr. “To Dr. Bonifacio Gabales, Jr., our new University President, I believe that you will continue the work we started and surpass it. The weight of responsibility that comes with this role is immense, but remember that you have been chosen to lead because of your vision, integrity, and the promise of positive change,” she said.
She also rallied support from the USeP community for the incoming administration. She highlighted that varying viewpoints can strengthen the collective growth and success that can lead the University to richer discussions and innovative solutions. “Together, we can build a brighter future for ourselves, our children, and the people on the fringes of society. Let us move forward with hope, determination, and unity. Let us be the change that we want to see in the world,” she said.
Acknowledging the Generalao Legacy
Internal and external stakeholders of the University were recognized in the Presidential Awards part of the activity. Moreover, members of the University Governing Board who served under the administration of Dr. Generalao since November 2015 were also honored.
Messages of thanks and appreciation for the service of Dr. Generalao filled the gymnasium in the Pagpupugay at Pasasalamat sa Pangulo segment. Commission on Higher Education Commissioner and the incumbent Chair of the USeP Board of Regents (BOR), Dr. Aldrin A. Darilag, gave his message, followed by the President of PASUC and the Batangas State University, Dr. Tirso A. Ronquillo.
Others who gave their inspiring messages were National Economic and Development Authority XI Regional Director, Dir. Maria Lourdes D. Lim; Court of Appeals- Judicial and Bar Council Associate Justice Rogelio G. Largo; Dr. Maxima M. Cirunay, Ms. Imelda C. Lin-ao, and Dr. Irvin C. Generalao, the husband of Pres. Generalao.
Dr. Generalao was then bestowed with the USeP Presidential Medallion as a symbolic memento of appreciation for the President’s service to the University.
Reverend Father Emmanuel “Bong” Gonzaga and Reverend Rueland D. Badoy facilitated the gratitude and farewell benediction for Dr. Generalao.
The program ended with the singing of the USeP Hymn and USeP flag lowering to signal the end of a chapter of the University’s life with Dr. Generalao as the President. Dr. Generalao then turned over the folded USeP flag to the incoming president of the University, Dr. Bonifacio G. Gabales, Jr., as a gesture of heraldic handover of responsibilities and the task to enrich the USeP heritage to the next administration.
The members of the community of the University doff our hats off and show respect to an unwavering public servant whose heart and existence were committed to serving USeP for 43 long-fruitful years in various capacities, with the last eight years of which as the University President. Indeed, Dr. Generalao’s tireless efforts and visionary leadership have left an unforgettable mark on the University- transforming it into a bastion of knowledge and innovation for the region and beyond.
As the University bids farewell to Dr. Generalao’s term, the community looks to the future with anticipation, ready to embrace the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.