Former prexy honored

18 June 2009

Dr. Consuelo S. Blanco, the first woman president of a state university in the Philippines, was conferred the PLM Luminary Achievement Award.  Dr. Blanco was given a tribute for her exemplary performance as the second president of PLM. Dr. Blanco was known to have implemented a development plan that advocated for a caring and compassionate educational strategy for the poor but deserving students of Manila.

Dr. Blanco holds the distinction as the first lady president of a state university when she became the second president of PLM in December 1972. She has so distinguished herself in the field of education that it came not as a surprise when she was elected as the first woman president of the male-dominated Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges (PASUC). In 1975, PLM became one of the few state universities in the country to be admitted to the Association of Southeast Asian Institutions of Higher Learning (ASAIHL).

Her first stint with the Pamantasan started with her regency when the school was beset with most unsavory concerns -- lack of funds and facilities, and ultra student activism, among others. After convincing the Commission created to study the feasibility of retaining the Pamantasan, it was evident that the university that was earlier on the brink of dissolution is finally heading its way to a more solid ground and its continuation as a first tuition-free university.

Teachers of the Pamantasan were not as well paid as the teachers in the private universities then. The alarming turn-over of professors who were lured to leave for the proverbial greener pastures was almost the order of the day. But many were goaded to stay on and not give up on the old-fashioned ideals of sacrifice and devotion to duty by the lady president's enthusiasm, innovative spirit, and boldness.

She was known to be a solicitous mentor and school manager, not quite the ivory-tower or swivel chair academician that some are wont to be. Many attest to her familiarity with the workings of every unit or section of the offices under her charge. Students alike trooped to her office to unburden even their non-academic problems or concerns.

Her warm and caring aura befits her tireless volunteerism. She would travel to even the far-flung areas to attend education seminars and meetings -- to touch base with fellow workers and those of their children and families.

The lady president's personality was like a compass that propelled the university to take on a socially-concerned direction. Her leadership took the path towards releveant education -- one that produces a culture that enrich the texture and quality of lives of students.

Realizing that some Pamantasan students have yet to shirk the timidity that comes from being poor, she launched a program of social orientation. She wanted Pamantasan students to have a self-respecting image; to imbue in them self-esteem and eventually, social esteem.

Dr. Blanco's administration was marked by the development of community oriented curricula so that Pamantasan students, faculty and staff were no longer boxed inside the classrooms. Practicum programs were conducted in partnerships with industry leaders. The University ventured into consortium agreement with the University of the Philippines, United Laboratories, Solid Industries, Inc. and DMG Inc., allowing faculty and students to undergo in-service, and on-the-job trainings. Practicumers were given the opportunity to be hired after the practicum.