Message delivered by RCI Chair Aurelio Montinola III during the Thanksgiving Mass and Service Awards Night on the occasion of the 84th Founding Anniversary of Roosevelt College, Inc.
Former Roosevelt College Chairman and President Romeo de la Paz, former Education Secretary Dr. Edilberto de Jesus, RCI and FEU President Dr. Michael Alba, current Trustees of Roosevelt College, Vice Presidents Gillian Joyce Virata and Rosan Salcedo, Cainta Campus Head and Birthday Celebrant Pen Mercado, Service Awardees Representative Mr. Fernando Jorge, Distinguished Campus Heads and Faculty, Valued Employees and Members of the Rooosevelt Community, Ladies and Gentlemen
We are gathered today for the 84th Founding Anniversary of Roosevelt College, Inc., and the first under the new leadership of Far Eastern University, or FEU as it is more commonly known today.
It is a day of celebration on several fronts.
We thank the former Roosevelt owners, represented by former Chairman Romeo de la Paz.
We remember the honorable mayor of Marikina, Wenceslao de la Paz, together with a few other associates, who founded the Marikina Academy, later to be renamed Roosevelt College on January 30, 1933. We applaud their commitment to uplifting Education in the Marikina and surrounding areas for 83 years. We also are grateful for their considering FEU as a worthy successor to continue the Education Mission pioneered by Mayor de la Paz and associates.
In particular, we laud Engineer Deogracias de la Paz, the father of former Chair de la Paz, who became Chairman and President in 1979, for his 37 years of Dedicated Service to RCI.
Next, we would like to thank and congratulate the 52 Service Awardees as well as all the faculty and employees who have decided to stay with Roosevelt College under a new FEU administration. In turn, we assure all that we will always conduct ourselves in a professional and ethical manner, and that those who wish to stay with us and meet our job expectations will have meaningful careers in the FEU system.
Third, we are grateful to all of you for a relatively smooth transition. To the former owners, we appreciate the cordial but frank negotiations on a number of topics, as well as an orderly execution on closing and post-closing matters. To our new Management Team as well as our existing Roosevelt administrators, we note some implementation ups and downs, but generally a forward-looking, business-as-usual atmosphere. To our faculty, students and parents of students, we appreciate your faith and confidence in the new Team, as we were pleasantly surprised to see full maintenance of RCI’s 5,000 student population.
Looking forward, we see several challenges on the horizon.
First will be financial, as the whole country has to weather the K-12 reform, which I characterize as short-term pain, but long-term gain. For Roosevelt itself, we have to balance future investments in capital expenditures as well as faculty and employee compensation with negative financial returns at the current time.
Second will be strategic, as your Board and Management Team have been reviewing and analyzing current program offerings as well as defining areas where Roosevelt should be focusing on. For example, at FEU, we have a well discussed Road Map 2020 that has served as a guideline for academic directions and budget allocation.
As an aside, globally, we continue to have youth unemployment and underemployment. Industry complains that Academe does not produce the skills Industry needs, while Academe complains that Industry does not have the appropriate jobs for its graduates. As RCI is primarily a Basic Education institution, we must find a way to have our Grade 12 graduates be either job-ready or college-ready at the end of their Senior High School.
Third will be increased competition, as we note the emergence of free college tuition at the State Universities. We note a significant RCI dependence on DepEd student vouchers and, hopefully, this program will not be severely impacted by the Free College Tuition initiative.
Despite all these potential roadblocks, I would like to end on a positive note.
Both FEU, born in 1928, and RCI, born in 1933, are culturally intertwined with a commitment to an education mission. Our ancestors and your predecessors believed in education as a means to give value to deserving students and prepare them for civic and professional life. This, we pledge, will continue, as we work hand-in-hand to rationalize and fine-tune the Roosevelt education offering.
FEU itself believes in long-term investment in education institutions. As such, we are faithfully complying with our contractual commitments under our Purchase Agreement; among others these include settlements on back wages, retirement pay, and union dues. In addition, we have committed to significant capital expenditure in the various campuses on a sequential basis—aside from emergency repairs in all campuses, I am told that we have 8 new classrooms as well as an almost done Multipurpose Gym in Rodriquez, as well as plans for renovation in both the Marikina and Cainta campuses.
The road ahead may not always be a smooth one, but if we all work together, we should be able to get to our intended destination. From my point of view, this means jobs or college for our mainly Basic Education students, meaningful careers for our administrators, faculty, and employees, significant community contribution where our campuses are located, and adequate return to our shareholders so that in turn the corporation reinvests resources for future expansion. What we all will need to succeed are the character traits I see on your stage— Resilience, Competence, Integrity or R C I for short.
Good luck, Happy Anniversary, and Mabuhay to Roosevelt College, Inc.
Aurelio Reyes Montinola, III
Chairman, Board of Trustees
Roosevelt College, Inc.
January 30, 2017