Chair Emeritus Dr Lourdes Reyes Montinola, Members of the Nicanor Reyes family, Trustees
Of FEU, Dr Michael Alba, Distinguished Faculty, Administrators, Students, and Alumni from our extensive FEU Community, Ladies and Gentlemen
Today, Feb 4, marks the first time we will be celebrating the Founder’s Wreath Laying Ceremony – our 91st – in February , or close to the date Nicanor Reyes and family perished in 1945 during the Liberation of Manila.
2018 marked our 90th Founding Anniversary, and what a year it was.
Globally, it was an Authoritarian year and a transition year. Time Magazine featured a Cover story on four strongmen – Vladimir Putin of Russia, Viktor Orban of Hungary, Recep Erdogan of Turkey, and our own Rodrigo Duterte – without naming Xi Jin Ping of China and others. President Donald Trump had a historic summit meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.
Renowned paraplegic physicist Stephen Hawking of “ The Theory of Everything” , celebrated Chefs Paul Bocuse, Anthony Bourdain, and Joel Robuchon, as well as French designer Givenchy passed away. Paradoxically, Crazy Rich Asians was an unexpected star Hollywood movie, while Asian American Naomi Osaka upset Serena Williams to win the tennis US Open. Apple became the first company to reach $ 1 trillion in market capitalisation, but Stock Markets worldwide lost significant value in a nervous and volatile year.
Locally, probably the most memorable Political Will event was the closure of Boracay for six months for Sustainable Tourism purposes. The TRAIN tax law for individuals passed and was fairly or unfairly criticised for a spike in inflation in the third quarter. Despite this, President Duterte’s approval rating climbed back to 74%, indicating that the general public favoured his authoritarian decisions over his public rantings. Nice year end bonuses were Catriona Gray winning the Miss Universe title, and the Balenciga bells being returned to Manila. A number of Philippine heavyweights passed on, including Senator Ed Angara, cultural icons Pitoy Moreno, Carmen Guerrero Nakpil, and Augusto Villalon, as well as taipans George Ty and Jon Aboitiz.
FEU itself had a busy 90th Anniversary year in the midst of the K-12 transition. We had our first graduates from Senior High School, but we continue to have only two years in tertiary – this time, freshmen and juniors. We finished a Roosevelt Rodriguez building, and we started Senior High School and Tertiary classes in a partially completed new FEU Alabang campus. We honoured 28 Anniversary Alumni in the academic, sports, and cultural field, and we bestowed a Doctor of Business Engineering on King Tamaraw Ramon S Ang. We showed a “Be Brave” video on Nicanor Reyes, artistically lighted our Quezon Boulevard Art Deco building, and launched an FEU Art Book entitled “Silanganan” by Cid Reyes.
Our Chair Emeritus Dr Lourdes Reyes Montinola received a Go Negosyo Legacy Woman Entrepreneur of the Year for “being a well published and multi awarded author and an Educator for Genertions. Sadly, previous trustee Elizabeth Melchor and present trustee Robert Kuan both passed away.
Effectively , 2018’s (90th Anniversary theme was “Future Ready Learning in Tumultuous Times”.
Looking forward, 2019’s theme should be “ Preparing to Fulfill Aspiration 2020 in Challenging Times.”
Globally , geo politics such as the US government 30 day shutdown, the continuing Brexit saga , “Yellow Vests” in France, and Chinese US trade tensions have been bracketed by extreme cold in the Midwest – Chicago, at – 30 degrees was colder than Mount Everest or Antartica.
Locally, Mindanao has strongly voted in plebiscite for a Bangsamoro Organic Law creating a new Bangsamoro Autonomous region in Mindanao , and senatorial elections are due in May. Public debate centres around lowering th criminal age from 15 to 12 years old. The country’s Build , Build, Build infrastructure program continues , and it appears that the Philippines remains one of the more economically progressive countries in Asia.
For FEU, looking forward, the focus will be on Execution. A January 2019 Planning Session followed a May 2018 Strategic Planning Session. Key 2019 initiatives will be to renew our University Autonomous status, and to integrate FEU Alabang and Diliman into FEU Tech.
Roosevelt College will open tertiary offerings, while FEU Cavite will consider two year Associate Degree courses.
Building additional revenue generating classrooms will continue, and we expect FEU Alabang , Roosevelt Marikina, and Lerma buildings to be completed in the near future.
Overall, we are reviewing our progress towards Aspiration 2020, and we feel confident that we will achieve most of our goals in the Regulatory, Matched, and Adaptive Excellence areas.
We see a long year ahead, but we are also confident that we will rise to overcome our new challenges.
Thank you all for taking the time to be with us here this morning.
Aurelio R Montinola III
Chair, Board of Trustees
Feb 4, 2019