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Home » Migrated » AdZU commemorates July 2016 fire; Fr Pres reports on the year that was and the years to come

AdZU commemorates July 2016 fire; Fr Pres reports on the year that was and the years to come

and greater resolve pervaded the “State of the University” report by Ateneo de Zamboanga
University (AdZU) president Fr Karel San Juan, SJ, to the faculty and staff
during the annual institutional convocation held Friday July 7, 2017, at Garden
Orchid Hotel.

as take-off point for his President’s Report, the first year anniversary of the
July 7, 2016 fire that razed to the ground AdZU’s iconic Brebeuf gym, Fr San
Juan reported that the University has a lot to be thankful for in spite of the
devastation brought about by the fire. He also related how the community has
made a turn-around from that fateful day, narrating the series of events during
the past year to the present, exactly a year later.

fire has given us a tremendous opportunity to build and to rebuild better,” Fr
San Juan related.

the many challenges, the most adverse of which was the fire, Fr President said
that everyone continues to be steadfast in their resolve to rise from the ashes
and to rebuild. “The fire has energized the community to work even harder to
rebuild the University,” he said, as he commended everyone present for their
resilience and cooperation in seeing AdZU through. He said everyone did their
share, adjusted to the changes, and for those who were displaced, put up with
the inconveniences of being temporarily sheltered in various spaces in the
campus. Recall that aside from the Brebeuf gym, nearby structures such as the
Gonzaga Hall and Sauras Hall which housed classrooms, offices, computer
laboratories and cafeteria, were also severely hit by the blaze.

solidarity shown by the community outside AdZU, he cited, is laudable. Friends,
partners in mission, alumni, and parents gave donations and extended support in
various ways to help the University recover from the tragedy.

with the challenge posed by the fire, the University also experienced other
difficulties due to the constant security threat from violent extremism, the competition
for both students and faculty from government schools, and the transition
brought about by K-12. But through it all, the University managed to pull
through and bounce back, turning the challenges into opportunities, he reports.

cited that establishing the Senior High School, a daunting task in itself further
compounded by the fire, has for this SY 2017-18, almost a thousand enrollees
for the new batch of Grade 11. Related to this was the smooth management of
staff displaced by the introduction of the additional years in high school by
assigning them to the SHS or to different offices. Overall, enrollment for this
school-year has exceeded projection, he added.

also related the transitions that have taken place – the purchase of new
instruments for the university band; the renovation and re-occupation of the
Gonzaga Hall; and the retrofitting of the five-story Sauras Hall and re-opening
of Café Atenista on the first and second floors. He then announced the
inauguration of the other floors next month which will house refurbished
classrooms, newly converted seminar facilities, and a fitness center.

new building for Senior High School is currently being constructed, starting with
a groundbreaking ceremony last April. He said that this construction project
will last for a year and is targeted to be inaugurated in SY 2018-2019.

the displaced College of Law, the JMR building was renovated. Fr President
recounted that the COL, after losing its administrative office, classrooms and
the library to the fire, had a tough time relocating. But against all odds, it
rose from the ashes of the fire. He then enthused over the 100% passing rate of
the COL during the 2016 bar exams. Success rates in the board examinations of other
programs were also noted, including the 2017 Nurses Licensure Exam, with AdZU landing
as the Top 5 performing school with two topnotchers; and the board exams for
Accountants, Electronics Engineers, Elementary and Secondary Education teachers,
Psychometricians, and Physicians (Medicine).

the University vision of the transformation of Mindanao toward pace, healing
and progress among diverse communities, Fr President reported on the various social
development engagements in community empowerment through education, health,
leadership training; cultural empowerment; advocacy, research, environment, and
emergency relief operations, in partnership with indigenous peoples (IPs),
internally-displaced peoples (IDPs), students, civil society, peace advocates
and local government.

particular, he cited the establishment of the school for IPs, the assistance extended
to IPs and IDPs in education, livelihood, health; the culture and arts programs,
and leadership and governance program for municipalities in the Zamboanga

things to be thankful for, he mentioned, were university level achievements
such as PAASCU accreditation and CHED autonomous status; and students’ and
faculty awards in film and computer animation, youth leadership, debate, and

President also highlighted the role of AdZU in this part of the country,
stating that the University has earned respect as an educational institution, as
a leader in education – in instruction, research and community engagement in
Western Mindanao. This is one of the best features of the University, a crucial
factor that has kept the University buoyant.

its strong tradition of excellence, service and spirituality, AdZU plays a
crucial role in the work towards peace through education in the region. This,
he said, is made manifest in the University – in joint religious celebrations,
crisis response, peace education and advocacy, service and outreach,
professional life, intra and inter faith and religious dialogues. He added that this is also made possible by the spirit of community which is evident among the faculty
and staff in both work and relationships – in inter-unit cooperation and
synergy, in friendships; and in the communal commitment to rise together.

the new school year has commenced, Fr President pointed out that the new
challenge now faced by the University is the implementation of the University strategic
plan. And a major component of the stratplan is the capital fund campaign to finance
the rebuilding program.

Ateneo de Zamboanga University Strategic Plan for 2017-2022 or
AdZUSTRATPLAN17/22 is in itself, he said, an achievement for it was
participated in by all members of the community. It started with planning
sessions in each unit and office then culminated in the university-wide framing
of the Vision, Mission and Identity Statement of the University.

capital fund campaign dubbed #rise, he said, is tasked to raise funds to
finance the construction of new buildings and facilities such as the New
Brebeuf gym. Aside from infrastructure, there is also the need to turn in fresh
ample funds for scholarships, research grants, and employee compensation and
benefits, among other things.

Fr President stressed, are needed to carry out the University’s responsibility
as a leading educational institution. He said AdZU must reach out to make its
“excellent, socially responsive and spiritually formative” education accessible
to more students through scholarships. “All employees, faculty and staff, are
part of the Mission, the Mission of educating and forming students,“ he said,
enjoining all to take active part in the campaign for college freshmen in 2018.

Fr President expressed confidence on the leaders of the University – those who
sit in the Board of Trustees and form part of the President’s Council – that
they will direct AdZU into accomplishing its mission. He added that AdZU is
also supported by a vibrant Jesuit community, and is guided by a spirituality as
expressed in the daily celebration of the Mass and special Masses the whole
year round.

highlights in the convocation include the introduction of new faculty and
staff, together with new MA and PhD degree holders in all units, and the
presidential appointees. Before the convocation was a recollection, with the
theme, “Building and Becoming: Reflections on the Task of Building,” with Fr
Patrick Vance Nogoy, SJ, as recollection master.

convocation ended with the highly spirited community singing of El Animo