Introduction of Fr Guillrey Anthony “Ernald” M Andal SJ by Fr Joel E Tabora SJ during the Investure of Fr Andal as University President
As the oldest of the sitting Ateneo Presidents, I have the honor of introducing our youngest.
Fr Guillrey Anthony Andal was born in Quezon City on March 5, 1976 to Erlinda M Andal and Reynaldo S Andal, both of them Doctors of Dental Medicine. From his mother, Erlinda, and his father, Reynaldo, is derived the nickname, “Ernald”, which outshines the more formal Guillrey Anthony, and which, when called, normally earns you a cheerful smile.
Fr Ernald received his basic education, grade school and high school, from the Ateneo de Manila University.
For college he stayed at the Ateneo de Manila and graduated in 1998 cum laude with a degree in management economics.
On the strength of this degree he worked after graduation for five years (1998-2003) as a branch officer of the Bank of the Philippine Islands. In the first two or three years this was an exciting experience of his competence and success in the world of business and finance as he moved up the ladder of the BPI, but in the fourth and fifth year of this period, the excitement turned into a dryness and discontent that helped him recall how as a member of the ACIL he would go to Barangay Pansol and find joy telling children stories about Jesus and his parables. He also recalled the joy he had helping Bro Jim Dunne lead Ateneans to a personal encounter with Jesus through the Days with the Lord. From a bank occupation that had become life-sapping, Ernald discerned a call to an occupation that would be more life-giving…
He joined the Society of Jesus in 2003. Eleven years later, in 2014, he was ordained a Jesuit priest.
Towards the Priesthood, his graduate and ecclesiastical studies included a Bachelor’s Degree in Sacred Theology at Loyola School of Theology in 2014, Summa Cum Laude, which he followed up with a Masters in Pastoral Ministry at the Ateneo de Manila University.
The Jesuit formation course includes a generous amount of formative-apostolic activities. For Fr Ernald, just to mention some, these included being the political program development officer of the Simbahan Lingkod ng Bayan, being a radio commentator at Radio Veritas, being the executive director of the Jesuit Music Ministry, being the Asst. Parish Priest of the Parish of Our Lady, Mediatrix of All Grace in Zamboangita, Bukidnon, as well as being the School Director of St. Isidore High School in Zamboangita.
This experience of providing formal basic education to youth in Bukidnon made a lasting impression on him. When he completed his doctoral studies in education (EdD) at the Jesuit University of Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles in the USA, 2020, he had written his dissertation entitled, “Leading from the Margins: The Educational Leadership Experiences of Jesuit Directors of Mission Schools in the Philippines and the Implications for the Leadership formation of Jesuit Leaders.”
When Fr Ernald came back from his studies in the USA, Fr Provincial Primitivo Viray thought it would be a good idea to expose him to the actual operations of a University in the Philippines. That is how he came to the ADDU on July 14, 2020, well after the pandemic had begun. It was during his two year stint at the ADDU that I was able to experience in Father Ernald his extraordinary giftedness in being able to balance the demands of the Jesuit community with the demands of the University community, to balance the call to leadership and direction with the ability to listen and discern, to balance the need to personally coach administrators and faculty members with the ability to learn from those whom he coached, the ability to admonish with the ability to affirm, the ability to demand big time in the name of the Kingdom of God with the humble ability – over and over again – to say thank you. With astonishment, I experienced how he could get people to dance to the intense tune of the Academic Vice President, even as he could sing and dance to the K-Pop Hip-Hop of the BTS. I guess I also experienced how those old days teaching children in Pansol about Jesus and his parables turned into an awesome ability to deliver memorable homilies about how – among other things – Jesus continues to challenge us today in our shared mission of Jesuit, Catholic and Filipino education in the Philippines.
It is in this light that I am privileged to introduce to you the Jesuit who today needs no introduction, the President of this Ateneo de Zamboanga University as of March 15, 2023: Fr Guillrey Anthony “Ernald” Andal SJ.