CEM features 3 alumni-UP chancellors in discussion forum

The College of Economics and Management (CEM) proudly waved the banner of distinction of having three of its alumni currently serving as chancellors of UP constituent universities by featuring them in a webinar at its 40th founding anniversary celebration on July 29.

With the theme, “Future-proof CEM: Harnessing Business and Economic Opportunities in the New Normal,” the webinar featured Chancellors Corazon L. Abansi (UP Baguio) and Larry N. Digal (UP Mindanao), graduates of BS Agricultural Economics and BS Agriculture (Agricultural Economics), respectively; and Chancellor Jose V. Camacho, Jr. (UPLB), a graduate of BS Economics, to discuss leadership in the new normal. 

“This leadership forum aims to highlight the leadership best practices for navigating adaptable unexpected challenges such as the coronavirus pandemic.” CEM Dean Agham Cuevas said in his welcome remarks. 

Quoting Martin Luther King Jr.,  Dr. Cuevas said in his remarks that “the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in the moment of comfort, but where he stands in times of challenges and controversies” as he explained how vital the role of these UP chancellors during the time of COVID-19 pandemic. 

According to him, since its foundation, CEM has been true to its mission and vision to be a center of excellence in economics, agriculture, agribusiness, and cooperative and bio enterprise development.

Chancellor Digal shared his experience as the only UP chancellor among the three who served the University before the pandemic hit. According to him, they presented UP Mindanao’s  expansion program to several organizations like Regional Alumni Institute Assembly and various government agencies such as Department of Budget Management (DBM)  and National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA). 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly changed the way we work, or all organizations work since last year. Most of our work changed like our communication, from face-to-face to digital, working schedule, from fixed to flexible, and even our attitude, from tried and tested to agile and resilient,” he added. 

On the other hand, Chancellor Abansi reminisced her experiences at the then College of Development Economics, which is now known as CEM. 

“I considered myself lucky because I was educated in one of the best units in UPLB, which is CEM, under the best supervision of the best agriculturist in the country. My college life has been rewarding and career-defining. It offered me the precious opportunity to challenge and deepen my understanding of the discipline I have chosen and its application,” Dr. Abansi said. 

Dr. Abansi, who also finished her MS and PhD degrees in Agricultural Economics at CEM, is in her fourth month in office and she believes that leadership is not about power, but it is about vision and responsibility to know the way, go the way, and show the way. 

Chancellor Camacho, also known as CJCJ to UPLB constituents, considers this webinar to be a historical event. “I am very much delighted to grace this special day of CEM and take part in what I would say is a manifestation of the historic track record of CEM, the gathering of three incumbent UP Chancellors who are all alumni of CEM.” 

He acknowledged the importance of their CEM training in helping them manage the challenges in their leadership during the time of pandemic. “Under these circumstances, I learned the importance of three things – flexibility, agility, and compassion which have become requisites in managing in our respective units now,” Chancellor Camacho explained. 

He also emphasized that CEM graduates are trained to be leaders and managers. He also shared how he benefited from participating in different trainings, and passing on the information to others. 

Keith Edward G. de Leon, a student from CEM taking BS Agricultural Economics expressed his excitement about the event. “It really doesn’t come as a surprise anymore that CEM produces not just quality graduates, but also people with significant roles in the society, whether it be in industry, politics, or even in the academe.” 

According to him, it is indeed that the college has set the bar high for its constituents. “All the more that we should thrive, and we also do our best to exceed the expectations and standards set by the university,” de Leon added. 

The three-day CEM anniversary celebration began with a webinar on July 27, followed by CEM Students’ Day on July 28, CEM Alumni Day on July 29, and culminated with the CEM Faculty and Staff Day on July 30.

For more information and to view the recorded webinar series, visit CEM Facebook Page. (Ana Mariz Z. Pineda)

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