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.
From Delicia Gaje St Denis:
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
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.
Let us celebrate and take time to remember Dr. Juanito M. Acanto on his birthday, 5 April 2013. He was CPU’s former president. He continues to help CPU as board of trustees. Who could ever forget his leadership, Christian ministry, friendship, wit, humor, and most of all, his passion for beautiful CPU.
From Rinand Escuban and family:
Whenever the name Dr. Juanito Maca Acanto is mentioned several things come to my mind:
Central Philippine University, which he led with competence, respect and distinction for 12 years, as Acting President, 1996-1998, and as University President, 1998-2008; a public servant, whose unsullied integrity made him one of the most respected and trusted elected official in the Province of Iloilo; a trial lawyer, whose courtroom savvy and intellect were admired by the bench and the bar, and by his clients, many of whom are the poorest of the poor.
Beyond these, I know Dr. Acanto as the one who opened me the opportunity to serve CPU. He gave me his trust that motivated me to be excellent in my responsibilities.
He rewarded me with his confidence that allowed me to pursue programs for the good of the University. He taught me what it means to be a Centralian. He exemplified to me what service to Central Philippine University is all about.
Happy birthday Sir Juaning. My mentor. My friend. God bless you.
From Carmelle Frances Romero:
Ang indi ko gid malipatan abut Sir Juaning or Sir JMA is his way of making things light or mamag-an. While he is meticulous, he does not burden you with his presence.
Amo ina ang akon na appreciate sa iya; because of that mas na-challenge pa kami sa office to work harder and make sure that the trust he has given us is not in vain. And of course, who could forget his legendary humor? Incomparable!
Sir Juaning, you are a blessing. God bless you more.
Dr. Acanto has great influence in my career and I’m thankful to God for his life!
He has a positive attitude that motivated me to work harder. He reminded me to always wear a smile even if my heart is aching.
As a leader, he set the best example to put a smile on your face which brightens everyone he meets. You can always approach him without hesitations. He is a good listener and willing to help and give his full support. Everyone is important to him.
I didn’t expect that my professional growth and life’s journey would come this far after he said to me “Charity, you have to get out of your box!” I will never forget those words.. Those words that encouraged me to embrace and explore the world with dignity and responsibility. Every time he gives his advice he would tell me to look up to God and that he will also pray for me.
He is not only my great mentor but a great friend whom I can count on even if I don’t work for him anymore. Happy birthday my former boss, Sir Acanto!
From Sandy Lim:
During my first year sa CPU, permi ko na Makita si Sir Acanto nagalibot sa campus. Students greeted him with such a big smile. Nabatian ko permi sa ila, “Uy si Tay Juaning nag agi” and they will greet him “Good morning Sir”. And with a smile, mamangkot sya na “kamusta kamu?”.
That’s how he is, very approachable sa tanan.
For 4 years as a work student sa President office, nahibal-an ko na the reason ngaa damu gid nga tawu gapalangga sa iya, it is because Sir Acanto has a huge heart.
Kung pwede nya lang buligan ang tanan, giubra ya na. Personally, Sir, damu gid nga salamat sa tanan. You may not know it pero kung hindi dahil sa imu I won’t be able to reach my dreams.
Sir, as you celebrate your birthday today. I always wish you good health for you, Ma’am Ruth and your family.
You are always blessing and inspiration to us. May you continue to inspire other people Sir. Again, happy birthday!
Happy Birthday Sir!
There are people who think that to be in a position of leadership; one has to have good education, preferably a doctorate, academic honors in college, no record of immorality, and a good following.
As far as standard qualifications are concerned, these would really place you in a managerial position. Above all else, to have an attractive leadership you must have the gift of wisdom.
Wisdom guides the leader to know what is right, true, and just
What great irony to know that after studying at prestigious universities of the world, gaining expertise in one’s chosen career, acquiring much knowledge, a leader flip-flops on discerning what is a very simple case of right and wrong, good and bad, just and unjust.
A leader who has wisdom is able to discern what is right, true, and just. He has that hindsight to check that the words and stories that come his way are either credible or mere gossips.
Wisdom directs the leader into correct discernment
Wisdom allows the leader to differentiate who among his subordinates are sincere and committed; who are glib talkers who wish to build up themselves through talking bad about other people.
When dishonesty and injustice pervades an organization, the real good and talented people lose zest in perpetuating whatever ideals or vision the organization has.
Without wisdom, a leader leads on mere trial and error bases and he is still learning from both good and bad decisions that he makes.
A leader will certainly bring about lackluster leadership if he cannot come up with wise decisions. What is sad, for every wrong decision the leader makes, there are people under him who suffer. The organization that he leads also downgrades.
Wisdom motivates and inspires
The leader who has no wisdom is easily persuaded to believe the story on first come first believe basis. He is inclined to appreciate fleeting traits because his eyes are veiled from discerning what is wise and right.
Basically, a leader who lacks wisdom would attract people who also lack wisdom, most of them have pleasing personalities but they do not have real goodness in their character.
The leader who is full of wisdom is a good motivator. He inspires people around him through his sound judgment, amiable personality, and encouraging word.
Most of all, the wisdom-filled leader has the uncanny ability to create a vision of the future; rally many people to work on the realization of that vision.
He exudes a very attractive leadership, so viral that one can’t help but be motivated and inspired to take part.
Wisdom is gift from God
It cannot be bought nor can you pretend to have it. Maybe you can feign knowledge, act as if you have good character, but you cannot make yourself believe that you have wisdom. The only way to have wisdom is to have a genuine relationship to the only wise God.
The leader who has wisdom freely enjoys his skillful application of Godly knowledge.
He exacts sincere loyalty and he is not insecure with his leadership even if he goes on a long Mediterranean vacation or spends some weeks driving through the interstate on an Edmonton Dodge.
He continues to inspire and motivate the people under him through his abundant use of common sense; making his leadership very attractive, shining, sterling and lasting.