UB makes history as Hernandez-Bohn installed as its first lady president

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University of Batangas installs Lily Marlene J. Hernandez-Bohn as its 3rd University President during the Presidential Investiture Ceremony held at the Juan Y. Javier Culture and Arts Building, University of Batangas – Batangas City, Jan 4, 2024, 2:00 PM. 

The inauguration of a president is as significant as the presidency, as it is a formal ceremony that confers the authority and symbols of the office onto the new head. The presidential investiture of Hernandez-Bohn is to signify her jurisdiction at the University of Batangas and ascendance to the position of University President—to open a new chapter of leadership in UB history. 

Hernandez-Bohn, the first-ever female president in the University of Batangas’ 78 years of existence, marks a new milestone in UB history. She was formerly the Vice Chairman of the Board of Regents, Treasurer, and Executive Vice President, and comes from the prestigious Javier bloodline. 

The investiture was attended by the members of the academe from the different universities in the Philippines, Local Government Units (LGUs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), members of the University, administrators, the Board of Regents, and internal and external partners in the academic and business industry. 

The Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Aurora Pargas-Tolentino delivered her greetings. According to her, Hernandez-Bohn’s forefathers’ legacy adds a distinctive layer of commitment and reverence to her role, demonstrating professional dedication and a deep personal connection to the values instilled by her forebears. In her speech, she said, “I have witnessed her exceptional ability to seamlessly merge vision with pragmatism, accentuating the crucial process of transforming dreams into achievable realities.” Furthermore, the children of Hernandez-Bohn—Keian and Andrea Bohn delivered the poem entitled “Mga Gunita at Pag-asa” written by Dr. Victor M. Arguelles, son of the Founder Atty. Jesus Arguelles. University of the Philippines President Angelo A. Jimenez and Miriam College President Laura Quiambao-Del Rosario also joined the ceremony as they delivered their citations to the newly installed University President. 

Meanwhile, Atty. Jesus V. Mayo led the investiture ceremony through the imposition of the Presidential Medallion, the presentation of the University Mace—bestowed by the Corporate Secretary, Mr. Jose Carmelino V. Quizon, and the Oath of Office administered once again by Atty. Mayo.

President Lily Marlene J. Hernandez-Bohn took an oath of office to the University held at Juan Y. Javier Culture and Arts Building at the University of Batangas Main campus last January 4, 2024. Photo by Gabriel Aron Kyle Legua.

In her speech, she shared her desires, aspirations, goals, and plans for the betterment of the UBian community, with the mindset, “Guided by the past, challenged by the present, and inspired by the future.” The investiture was participated by the Indayog Kultura Dance Company, performing Subli Talumpok, Komintang, Prinses ng Komintang, Mantones, and Balse, along with the UB Chorale, who sang the UB Anthem, composed by Atty. Jose Antonio Hernandez, Vice-Chairman of the Board of Regents, together with Eric Kalaw, conductor. The said program was spearheaded by Dr. Augusto C. Africa, UBBC Senior High School Principal and Basic Education Director. 

Upholding the forefathers’ legacies 

After the Second World War in 1946, Mr. Juan Y. Javier and Atty. Jesus Lorenzo A. Arguelles were eager to provide education to Batanguenos who wanted to study but could not afford the educational cost in Manila. The two invited Rev. Father Vicente R. Catapang, Atty. Francisco G. Perez, Mayor Roman L. Perez, and Atty. Pablo C. Umali—men of the same vision and regard for education, to lead the establishment of Western Philippine Colleges (WPC). 

Rev. Fr. Vicente Catapang, a strict disciplinarian, was the first President of Western Philippine Colleges (WPC) and his administration saw the rise of the school population while opening his flagship project: the College of Law in 1949. It was through him that the vision of the founding fathers broadened. 

Following his footsteps, Mr. Juan Y. Javier’s administration sought the construction of two buildings in WPC: The M.H. Del Pilar Campus and the inception of “The Westernian Advocate”. The college also participated in student government electoral practice, ROTC, All-Students Brass Band, and the WPC Orchestra. Additionally, the college’s reputation soared due to its exceptional rates of passing in both the Bar and CPA Licensure. After he passed, the Board of Regents reorganized the management and administration of WPC and bestowed leadership to Atty. Manuel Panganiban. Under his term, the Executive Committee was created to ensure the policies. 

Mrs. Flordeliza Arguelles, the fourth president of Western Philippine Colleges. Her positive publicity efforts prior to the school’s opening helped to position WPC as a provider of affordable and quality education. The college saw continuous growth and expansion, including the need for additional school facilities for PE classes, ROTC military drills, and other school initiatives. 

In 1974, Dr. Abelardo Perez, succeeded Mrs. Arguelles. He transformed Western Philippine Colleges into the University of Batangas (UB), the first private university in the province of Batangas. His tenure flourished UB into a stock corporation registered at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). He was a man who valued history and causes,and this was reflected in the erection of the Culture and Arts Building. Moreover, he encouraged the faculty and employees to finish their Master’s Degree Programs to ensure development and professional growth among UB’s workforce. 

Dr. Hernando B. Perez came after Dr. Abelardo as the second University President of UB. In 16 years of leadership, the university achieved numerous milestones such as CHED autonomous status, PACUCOA accreditations, ISO certifications, producing government licensure examination topnotchers, and countless championships in various premier leagues in the country. 

He saw the emerging City of Lipa and deemed it fit and strategic for the opening of the UB Lipa Campus as an extension of the main campus in Batangas City. Dr. Hernando sought to construct new buildings equipped with new facilities and technology and offered new programs at par with the latest in the industry and educational realm. 

True to the forefounders’ mission, and leadership, UB stands as a testimony of excellence and a vision fulfilled: providing opportunities for students, enhancing their knowledge, and cultivating a sense of service. 

UB’s Accomplishments and Further Plan 

Pres. Hernandez-Bohn recalls going to several events with her parents as a child, revealing her involvement with the university since her youth. She saw the numerous events and accomplishments of the institution as it evolved steadily—seeing firsthand how the organization grew from nothing. 

UB’s recent achievements can be seen from the establishment of the UB Lipa Campus to now having three major buildings. It boasts top-of-the-line laboratories for tourism and hospitality management offerings. It also showcases a crime scene and plaza for criminal justice students and a fancy business and innovation office for business incubators. 

At the same time, the land area in Hilltop, La Blanca City, has also recently increased, allowing the construction of the Millennium Campus. It upholds a massive gymnasium that caters to 4,000 people. It was completed a year ago, but graduations, sporting events, concerts, and many other events have already transpired at the venue. 

Apart from the facilities of UB, Pres. Hernandez-Bohn also proudly claims that the academic field of the institution has also drastically improved and become better than most. UB’s distance education program is the first and only CHED-approved private distance education in Calabarzon. This system helped tremendously when the pandemic hit, becoming ready to implement distance learning in the institution. With that in mind, it is now the turn of the third generation of UB, the 3Gs, to continue what our founders and 2Gs have started.

For Pres. Hernandez-Bohn, managing the institution is not only about the highs. “The last 78 years were not all easy years. Just like most institutions, we also had our share of difficulties. Some years of declining enrollment, dismal exam results, poorly maintained facilities, outdated or inadequate equipment, and worrisome cash balance due to sluggish financials. We’ve gone through ups and downs, but mostly ups.” 

In addition, Pres. Hernandez-Bohn had issues she wanted to face directly as the new president. One of those is the worry of technology replacing people. There is a high probability that people’s jobs will be replaced by machines and automation in the near future. She questions how they can prepare students to be future-ready, considering that artificial intelligence is evident. Instead, the new president wants to utilize and maximize the benefits brought by technology through adaptation. 

Another issue discussed by Hernandez-Bohn is mental health, particularly but not limited to the youth. The alarming rise in cases of depression among youth portrays an issue not only for educators but also for parents. And with all the requirements to keep up with this fast-changing world, the institution still has to be financially viable. Thus, it became a mission to provide quality, affordable education. 

With all the achievements and issues to face, Pres. Hernandez-Bohn shares the first plan—the expansion of the connections. There are ongoing plans to build a campus in Pallocan, Batangas. This proposed campus will be housing the engineering school, initially planned to accommodate at least 4000 students, and phase 1 of its construction will happen soon. Further details are soon to be announced. 

“It is our turn to lead. And just like our founders and 2Gs, we remain strong in our commitments. First, our commitment to quality education. That has always been our front. But today, we recognize that the educational landscape has changed. And therefore, we need to provide education that is relevant to today’s environment,” Hernandez-Bohn concluded. 

Expectations and Realities 

As a leader of a big institution, people expect you to face many expectations and challenges. These include upholding integrity and transparency. Providing a clear vision for academic excellence, managing finances effectively, ensuring campus security, and promoting a campus environment rooted in social justice and equality. 

As someone who also recently had their investiture ceremony, UP President Angelo A. Jimenez shares in kind the feelings of being a newly elected president. He admired individuals who have chosen to dedicate themselves to education by establishing schools, “What we are truly proudest of, are the men and women who ventured into education and built schools. Because this is our reason for being. Those who build schools build something eternal.” 

President Jimenez also highlighted the University of the Philippines’ notable contributions, producing a majority of national artists, scientists, and political leaders in the country’s history. This underscores the university’s significant influence across various fields in the Philippines. President Quiambao-Del Rosario also claims that in UP’s system, many may be called, but only a few are chosen. Hernandez-Bohn is one of those people UP produced—proof of how educators can change the nation. 

His speech was closely followed by President Laura Quiambao-Del Rosario, a co-alumni of Hernandez-Bohn, acknowledging Pres. Hernandez-Bohn is one of the alumni that they are very proud of. Pres. Del Rosario mainly addressed the challenges that Hernandez-Bohn will experience as the new university president. 

“The problem comes when the institutions behave like industries. Schools shouldn’t be called industries. I don’t think we entered education to line our pockets. And so it is this challenging world of industries crossing into institutions, and institutions crossing industries that we become modeled as a nation,” Pres. Del Rosario conveyed the issues she deemed critical, and she followed, saying she is confident that Pres. Hernandez-Bohn can live up to her expectations. 

A short video-recorded message was then presented, displaying the President of Santa Clara University of California, Julie Sullivan. She shows regret for not being able to attend the ceremony in person and instead expresses her belief in UB’s new president. Apart from UP, Pres. Hernandez-Bohn was also an alumna of Santa Clara University and holds a special significance to the educational institution. 

Asia Pacific College President Ma. Teresita P. Medado expressed her feelings about the event. For her, the most important part of the ceremony was Pres. Hernandez-Bohn’s articulation of the plan on how to boost the growth of the university. In an interview with The Brahmans’ Journal, Pres. Medado questioned, “Right now, the world is being bombarded with the idea that college degrees are just as important as a certification. The challenge to us is how are we going to preserve the idea of a university degree when you can get hired and better paid with just a certification. How do we blend that? I think that is the challenge for now.” 

Atty. Vicente Bernardo Mayo, the president’s cousin and head of the legal department, also gave his evaluation of the new president. “She is very good with details. Very organized. Men’s minds can’t do the details that women can do. We expect her to be more systematic, more resource-oriented, and as a parent of youth, she must know the minds of different generations,“ Atty. Bernardo Mayo shared with The Brahmans’ Journal. 

Atty. Jesus Mayo also left a few words about his expectations to the president. As Pres. Hernandez-Bohn is from the Javier clan, she came from a long line of educators, making her a very fitting leader for the University of Batangas. He believes that her passion and dedication will serve UB well.

Lily Marlene Hernandez-Bohn, the new 3rd President of the University of Batangas, stowed the University Mace, signifying the academic community’s trust in her leadership. Photo by John Paul Campued.

Article by Prinsses April Linatoc, Katherine Gwyneth Peramo, and Julius Rayven Bool (The Brahmans’ Journal) 

Photos by Shaira T. Calibo, Gabriel Aron Kyle Legua, and John Paul Campued (The Brahmans’ Journal)

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