The Mindanao State University: A Historical Glimpse

(2nd in a Series)

The Mindanao State University: A Historical Glimpse

(2nd in a Series)

Dr. Sarangani is an alumnus of MSU. He is a member of the initial batch of 282 students in 1962 and of the group of 63 constituting the first graduating class of MSU in 1966. Dr. Sarangani earlier served as Chancellor of MSU General Santos (1988-90) and MSU Marawi (1990-91),and retired as University Secretary/ Secretary to the Board of Regents on concurrent capacity as Executive Vice President (1990-2011).

The Period of Growth and Expansion

Under the leadership of its second president, Dr. Mauyag  M. Tamano, the University pursued its plan for growth and development that was started in the Isidro period. New academic programs were introduced. The number of student scholarships and study grants was increased to cater to the financial needs of poor, but deserving students. The faculty development program received additional funding support and more faculty members were sent for further studies. Additional faculty members and administrative staff personnel were recruited in response to increasing student intake, developing campus facilities, and a growing campus community. Graduates of the university are now bringing honors to their Alma Mater on the account of their sterling performances in their respective professions as well in copping top ten finishes in government board examinations. Cultural activities and presentations by the Darangen Cultural Troupe and the Sining Kambayoka Ensemble reached further heights, in addition to performances of external entities being held in the campus on a periodic basis.

From 1970 to about 1975, but in 1972 when martial law was declared, student activism has reached alarming levels and this affected institutional development. Leadership instability, as well as peace and order concerns, has troubled the University, causing the leaving for good of some students and faculty members. These setbacks, however, were temporary. University activities were carefully restored to normal levels, although much of the glory of the 60’s was already a part of history.

After a brief switch of university leadership in 1974-75, then Gov. Mohammad Ali Dimaporo took over the helm of the University in 1976, first as Officer-in-Charge, and later as Acting President. In his ten years of overseeing the University, the expansion trend continued. Curricular programs emerged and/or were improved, while faculty and staff development increased. External units of the University increased in number as well, bringing now the total of six (6) campuses. Iligan Institute of Technology, Sulu College of Technology and Oceanography, Dadiangas Community College, Sulu Development College, Dinaig Agricultural College, and the Institute of Fisheries Research Development in Naawan. MSU Marawi remained the mother campus.

In addition to sustained institutional growth in the academic sector, the leadership era of Gov. Dimaporo also witnessed a massive infrastructure development program. Academic and administrative buildings, dormitories, residential units were erected, complimented by a paved road network linking the different sector areas of the campus. This campus and institutional physical buildup also triggered the setting-up of a nearly complete sports complex, and this led the entrance of the University to national sports activities, having hosted the National UAAP games in 1983 and other regional sports competitions in a later period, The first half of the 1980’s might easily be referred to as the “halcyon” days for the University.

Towards a University System Set-up

The appointment of  Dr. Ahmad E. Alonto Jr,  as the 3rd  regular President of the University, after the EDSA People’s Power of  February 1986, witnessed startling changes in the institutional character and buildup of the University. Through an act of the MSU Board of Regents, the University was re-organized from a single to multi-campus setup, the University now evolved into a university system. Under the arrangement, the external units of the University are now considered autonomous campuses, uniformly headed by a chancellor. Moreover, these campuses were now encouraged to embark on academic programs and other institutional activities that are deemed in congruence with the overall mission of the University, while these are also meant to address the differing needs of every campus towards further growth and continuing relevance.

From 1986 to 1992, the University continued to withstand the perils of growth due to dwindling government subsidy and a seemingly irretrievable foreign assistance program. However, the University still managed to hold on to its quest for academic excellence as shown in its programs, faculty activities, quality of graduates, and outputs in instruction, research, and extension  activities. The ever changing directions of Philippine higher education saw the University spearheading massive efforts towards relevance and renewal under the lead efforts of the PASUC ( Philippines Association of State Universities and Colleges), with Dr. Alonto as president of the latter. Existing academic programs and other institutional mandates continued to be pursued with renewed vigor, despite meager resources.

Academic Excellence through Accreditation  

As the mother campus, the MSU at Marawi holds aloft the noble desire of the University to maintain quality education through the quest for academic excellence. In addition to curricular innovations and continuing faculty development, the university submitted itself to the accreditation process with the ACCUP. Under the leadership of the 4th University President, Dr. Emily Marohombsar (1993-98), seeds of accreditation were planted and his complimented well the various institutional activities geared to captured relevance and practicality. Five (5) colleges of the University at Marawi have successfully gone through at least the first level of accreditation. Another two colleges were on deck, while other campuses of the university were preparing to submit for accreditation.

The latent impact of accreditation has spurred enthusiasm from the academic sector to continue with existing institutional efforts to accelerate growth and in pursuing academic excellence. Centers of Excellence and Development were achieved by the University and in other autonomous campuses .The administration as Acting President Diamel Lucman (1999), though very brief, saw vigorous support of these institutional objectives through institutional renewal, relevant personnel reorientation schemes, and necessary repairs of physical infrastructure and facilities.

Institutional Growth through Peace Development and Information Technology

The University seeks to hold on its steady course towards development, despite recurring problems on resources and instability. Under Dr. Camar A. Umpa, the 5th President of the University (1999-2005), the pursuit towards sustained institutional growth and progress, still under the loft goal of academic excellence, must consider issues impinging on organizational stability and continuity of work. Given the additional pressures of competitiveness in the global market, the university has embarked on a twin approach to organizational growth .These are the institutionalization of programs on peace development and information technology. This institutional outlook is anchored on the perspective that no development is feasible and possible where there is the lack or absence of peace and stability. In the same vein, attainment of peace may be possible utilizing a number of proven methods, but the role of information technology is very crucial as well. The acquisition and dissemination of information may now be passed on from the more traditional procedures of broadcast and print media to computer-assisted and Internet Web facilities. In considering these two-pronged options to institutional growth, the primordial goal of the University to maintain academic excellence in its institutional activities and mission is not at all a matter of wishful thinking succeeding university administrations sustained and improved on the foregoing institutional thrust, while exploring other avenues of continued growth and relevant growth directions.