UP Los Baños celebrated its 112th founding anniversary on March 6, 2021 with the theme of “future-proofing” itself.
According to UPLB Chancellor Jose Camacho Jr. in his opening remarks for the foundation day convocation at Baker Hall, the theme “reflects the various activities and initiatives which we have undertaken in this time of pandemic as well as the natural calamities that have beset the country the past year: our anti-COVID-19 measures, disaster relief operations, remote learning initiatives, the webinars that helped capacitate our personnel and students, and government and institutional partnerships.”
Pointing out how UPLB “rose to the occasion” and coped with changes that would “ripple throughout society” beyond the pandemic, he said, “I know that UPLB—with compassionate hearts and determined spirits—can prepare for [future] challenges and then surpass them once they arrive.”
In his message to the UPLB constituents during the convocation, UP President Danilo Concepcion reiterated his vision of a “UP for the future”, which is a future-proof UP. He described a university which is able to keep up with changes brought about by modern technology, global trends, climate change, and crises such as global pandemics.
“We will never sacrifice the quality of UP education. . . . We will never compromise the quality of our graduates,” Concepcion emphasized.
He enumerated what UP had done in the past year which gave a glimpse of UP as “future-proof”. These included employing modes of teaching-learning, research, and public service appropriate for a time of pandemic.
Foremost among UP’s distinct public service activities during the year was leading the fight against COVID-19, specifically by the doctors, health workers, and health researchers in the UP Philippine General Hospital and the UP National Institutes of Health, which share expertise with the UP Philippine Genome Center.
“Our faculty, administrative personnel, officials, and even our students and alumni are working together in applying creative and appropriate solutions that can be part of what we shall call as ‘better new normal’,” Concepcion added, in Filipino.
He commended such initiatives in UPLB, including the opening of its laboratories for pandemic viral testing.
Honorary degree for EQJ
In the afternoon, also at Baker Hall, the University conferred upon National Scientist and UPLB alumnus Emil Javier an honorary Doctor of Laws for, in summary, “his invaluable and lifelong service and commitment to improve the livelihood of Filipino farmers and fishers”.
Javier is known as an institution builder, credited for his essential roles in the establishment of the UPLB Institute of Plant Breeding, the UPLB National Institute for Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, the UPLB Farming Systems and Soil Resources Institute, the UPLB National Plant Genetic Resources Laboratory, the UP Ugnayan ng Pahinungod, the UP Learning Resource Centers, the UP Manila National Institutes of Health, the UP Open University, and UP Mindanao.
He was: the chancellor of UPLB from 1979 to 1985; chair of the National Science Development Board, revamped as National Science and Technology Authority to become the precursor of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), from 1981 to 1986; UP President from 1993 to 1999; and, the president of the National Academy of Science and Technology from 2005 to 2012. He was conferred the Order of National Scientist in 2019.
Javier’s scientific profile by DOST highlights his contributions in tropical agricultural research and crop production, which “find applications in agronomy, plant breeding, seed production and management of tropical grasses and legumes, and in the utilization and grazing management of native Imperata grassland”.
Series of foundation day events
The UPLB 112th founding anniversary was also marked by recognition of the Japanese government’s support to UPLB since the 1980s. A new Nihon torii and Nihon Koen marker were inaugurated in the presence of Japanese Ambassador Koshikawa Kazuhiko, who was also the guest speaker during the convocation.
An awarding of outstanding UPLB personnel followed the presentation of a token of appreciation to the ambassador.
Earlier, at the SEARCA building, the Jose Sotero Laurel III Professorial Chair in Agribusiness Management and Entrepreneurship was launched. UPLB alumnus and UP Regent Francis Laurel had sponsored the chair to recognize professors who make significant contributions to the development of agribusiness management and entrepreneurship.
On the same day, one-stop-shop products of UPLB were also launched; and an online founding anniversary exhibit went live at https://exhibit.uplb.edu.ph/