Tag Archive | Academic Dean at New York Theological Seminary

This Letter Makes Me Wish He’s CPU President

We got this letter that Centralian Delicia Gaje St Denis posted on the Kun Ako President sang CPU FB page and other Centralian FB pages.

It says:

From Delicia Gaje St Denis:

Hello everyone,

After reading posts from fellow Centralians,I had to wonder why there is so much animosity , curiosity,or simply just plain old jealousy to a fellow Centralian , by some . He is one we call our own, a brother, a friend, a colleague ,so I dared to ask him a question directly, when no one has ever done so. I do not know him personally, in fact I became acquainted with him through this FB page, he did give me a reply, and for that I am grateful. now we do not have to speculate, because , ladies and gentlemen, Dr. Lester Ruiz, has indeed given us his direct and honest reply as to who, what, where and why……

Thank you Dr. Lester Ruiz….God Bless…

LESTER RUIZ RESPONSE ON THE CPU PRESIDENCY

Delicia,

Thank you for your question regarding the presidency of CPU. This is a very old question that goes back to the time when the university was searching for the successor of President Pulido.

At that time, I was approached by the search committee of the Board if I was interested, and subsequently was interviewed by the Board’s search committee. Similarly, during the time of President Acanto, there was a similar interest on the Board (and others), in having me consider the presidency of the university.

For those who knew me well then, as now, my answer was something like this: It’s an honor to be asked. My interest is in being part of a process of discernment by the entire university about what kind of president CPU needs; and for that reason, I am willing to be interviewed, willing to present my views, and be fully engaged”–which I did.

But, I want to be very clear: the presidency of CPU is first and foremost a call. I have not sought it; I have not dreamed about it. Any one who really knows me, will vouch for that.

It is those who don’t know me that think I want to be president of CPU–and believe me, there are many who think they know me, or know about me–and who have spoken both in front of me and behind my back, about how I am seeking this position.

Let’s be perfectly candid. Any clear thinking person who has followed my career, from my being a student at Princeton Theological Seminary in the 1970s-80s, to my being Director of the Transnational Academic Program at the World Order Models Project in New York, to being professor of political science and peace studies at International Christian University in Tokyo, Japan, to being Vice President for Academic Affairs and Academic Dean at New York Theological Seminary, and now, as director of Accreditation and Institutional Evaluation of the Association of Theological Schools in the US and Canada, should wonder why I would want to go back the the Philippines and seek out the presidency of CPU?

Why would I be interested? My career trajectory would suggest that I am doing something that has some meaning and value already.

Perhaps, more important, why would I, having worked hard all my life, enter into the twilight of my life, and take on leadership of an institution of such complexity–extremely contested, deeply divided–a thankless job? There is a wonderful life during retirement.

I still have so many things I want to do: travel the world, see the Galapagos, climb Mt. Everest, go back to Prague, ride the Trans Siberian railway from Helsinki to Vladivostok; also write and publish, do some lecturing, and spending more time with Jean and other family members? Why would I exchange this for the presidency of CPU?

I recognize there are many people who love CPU and who are disappointed in the directions it is taking–who are looking for people who might lead it well into the future. There are well meaning people out there who care deeply and who believe that I can and should lead CPU as its president. Truth be told, I don’t interpret their desire as wanting me, as such, to be the president.

Rather, I see this as a reflection of their hope for a better future–for a particular kind of leadership qualitatively different than the previous or existing leadership.

And, truth be told, I also know there are not so well meaning people out there, some who claim they know me, or who say they are my friends, who, in fact, have continued to gossip about me, my lifestyle, my character, my morals, my leadership capacity–who are discrediting me.

I would like to interpret this gossip, not just as a personal attack on me, but, rather, as a statement that I am not an ideal candidate for the presidency.

I don’t begrudge these people. Their comments, their gossip, only illustrates who they are–it is a commentary on who they are, rather than who I am. It is both sad and laughable. If it were true that I was seeking or desire the CPU presidency, then, their gossip should be taken seriously. But, in fact, they just are wrong.

I am not interested in the CPU presidency. I love CPU–or the idea of CPU, and what it represents. But there are more ways to serve CPU than being its president.

In this, my record, is clear. I have served CPU by offering/giving my teaching expertise over the past ten or fifteen years. That is what I have chosen to give CPU.

But I will be dammed if I will give CPU and those who think they have a franchise on character and expertise regarding what CPU needs, the remainder of my life. There are just so many avenues of service, some even more fulfilling, than being president of CPU.

I write this to you while at the biennial of our association of more than 270 schools in the US and Canada, including schools like Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Duke, the University of Chicago–all those schools that are markers of excellence in this world.

My current work, which I imagine will be mine to do for at least another ten years, is of such quality and joy, that I can’t see how CPU, at least currently, can provide an attractive alternative to.

I’m not suggesting CPU is without value, or that it is not accomplishing or meeting a need in our world. It is. That is why I love the school and what it represents. But such love does not mean I want to give myself to it.

So, Delicia, I know this is probably more than what you asked for. Thank you for giving me a chance to reflect and to state very clearly what I think of this gossip regarding my pursuit of the CPU presidency.

It is without basis. Totally wrong, and probably carries with it other agendas other than an assessment of my suitability for the presidency. I don’t envy anyone who wants that job. But, that is not what I want for my life.

All the best.

Lester

Advertisements