The future begins in La Salle

Elfren Sicangco Cruz

Posted on February 21, 2012

The Future Begins Here, the official centennial coffee table book published to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the De La Salle schools in the Philippines, will be officially launched on March 7, 2012 at the Manila Polo Club.

According to Marily Orosa, who headed the multi-awarded group that originally conceptualized the publication: "The Future Begins Here is not your regular history book. Though it is being published to celebrate an important milestone in the 100-year history of De La Salle, it was purposely conceptualized not to be a traditional history book, but a publication that would best express the spirit of the university -- that of ever-young, dynamic, bold and unique educational institutions that keep pace with the changing times while being true to the original ideals of its founder, St. John Baptist de La Salle."

In the book, the inspiring and heart-warming story of the De La Salle schools is carried out in many ways. The approach is thematic rather than chronological. It features the different strengths that made De La Salle University the finest private university in the Philippines today; and that of its different high schools and grade schools that continue to serve as role models for excellence in secondary and elementary education.

The story is related through the story of the Christian (La Salle) Brothers who have selflessly given of themselves in the name of education. It was also told through short bioclips and quotations of the most illustrious Lasallian alumni in business, public service, the arts and culture, sports, science and technology social sciences and education, environmental protection and other fields. It also offers a distinct look at the past 100 years by seamlessly marrying the past to the present to the future.

The organizer of the book launch is Raissa Hechanova-Posadas who is a member of the Centennial Executive Committee. According to her, the book has nine authors who are "heavyweights in their respective fields and mostly Lasallians." The authors and their respective chapter titles are as follows:

• Isagani Cruz: Prologue and Epilogue;

• Jose "Butch" Dalisay: Band of Brothers;

• Augusto Villalon: Heritage, Heroism, History: St. La Salle Hall;

• Elfren Cruz and Leandro Cruz: Movers of Growth and Progress: Lasallians in Business and The Lasallian Public Servant;

• Joaquin Henson: Shooting for Excellence in Sports;

• Renato de Castro: Social Sciences in DLSU;

• Alvin Culabala: On the Cutting Edge: Science and Technology;

• Carla Pacis: Arts and Culture in the Lasallian Spirit; and

• Charlson Ong: La Salle’s Green Champions.

The quality of an educational institution is best evidenced by the quality of its alumni.

My son, Roel, and I were privileged to have been asked to become part of this truly historic project. Together we wrote the two chapters. The first was Lasallians in Business and The Lasallian Public Servant.

In writing these two chapters we saw, in these two fields, De La Salle definitely deserves the recognition of being the finest educational institution in this country for the past 100 years. Many Lasallians in business have become business icons and have, through their accomplishments, become the movers and shakers of Philippine business for the past hundred years.

Some of these iconic names are Joseph McMicking, Francisco Ortigas, Jr., Ramon del Rosario, Sr. and Don Enrique Zobel. There are retired Lasallians whose family names continue to banner business conglomerates that they founded like D. M. Consunji, Alfonso Yuchengco and Enrique Aboitiz.

Even today, there are Lasallians still active in business continue to play critical and dominant roles in their respective fields. Just a few of these distinguished alumni awardees are John Gokongwei, who recently donated P250 million to his alma mater; Danding Cojuangco; Enrique Razon; Joe and Ronnie Concepcion; and my classmate Ramon del Rosario, Jr.

Then there are the professional managers whose outstanding achievements as CEOs of their respective companies, have given De La Salle the reputation of being the top business school in the country. A few of these names are Ed Chua (Shell), Gerry Ablaza (Globe and Manila Water), Francisco del Rosario (Development Bank), Nestor Tan (Banco de Oro), Lorenzo Tan ( RCBC), and my classmate, Joey Cuisia, former CEO of Philam Life and now ambassador to the United States.

There is a new generation of Lasallians who will certainly emerge as the leaders of their generation. This list includes Joey Concepcion, Mikee Romero, Jimmy Thai and the four sons of Henry Sy, Sr.

La Salle has also produced outstanding heroes in public service led by former senators Jose W. Diokno and Lorenzo Tañada, Sr. My favorite Tañada quotation was when he said: "I learned my law in UP and my values in La Salle."

Today we find Lasallians in the Cabinet of PNoy like Armin Luistro (Education), Cesar Purisima (Finance), Roger Singson (Public Works), Dondon Paderanga (NEDA), Leila de Lima (Justice), Jess Robredo (Interior and Local Government) and Gil de los Reyes (Agrarian Reform); and also in the Senate, in the House of the Representatives and in local governments.

DLSU is the only Philippine private university to be invited to join the ASEAN University Network (AUN) which is composed of the top 17 universities in Southeast Asia. AUN has also designated DLSU to be the lead school in the establishment of the first virtual university in the region.

The Future Begins Here is a 320-page hardbound book which promises to be "rich in imagery, excellent prose and even novelties." It is dedicated to the thousands of alumni who have studied and were moulded in its hallowed halls; and now bring honor to their alma mater. It is a book that will make not only La Sallians but every Filipino proud of their heritage and their history.

Dr. Elfren S. Cruz is a professor of Strategic Management at the MBA Program, Ramon V. Del Rosario College of Business, De La Salle University. Please send comments or questions to elfrencruz@gmail.com