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President Oscar B. Mapua: The Fulfillment of MIT Philosophy

President Oscar B. Mapua: The Fulfillment of MIT Philosophy

February 1993

Dennis Liwanes, The New Builder

WHEN DON Tomas passed away in December 1965, Mapua Institute of Technology (MIT) found itself in its most lackluster form. The transitory years from the MIT founder’s presidency to the inauguration of Pres. Oscar Mapua in January 1967 was in every way encountering rough sailing. Transformation to a modern technological school and smoothing out of new and fresh policies dragged itself on a turtle pace.

Closely dawning then was the rise of student activism during the late 60’s and early 70’s, the years before Martial Law was imposed. Students were “trashing” the place: riots within the campus were rampant and hurling of benches and desks was an everyday activity. Contemplation of an imminent phaseout of MIT was then brought out. Classes were suspended for months; the new president of the Institute had been going through his most crucial days.

Yet in an unwavering dedication to the philosophy that has been laid upon by his father, Oscar Benjamin Maya Mapua found and knew what it would take to be the new man in steadfast pursuit for a humanistic, scientific, and technological education. The civil engineer from Massachusetts Institute of Technology went on with his new job, made his crucial decisions and brought MIT back to its old form, and better.

President Oscar Mapua saw the growing need for skilled engineers. He built up MIT’s population from 5,000 to about 19,000 during his early years in office. The streamlining of administrative systems and academic instruction procedures also topped his list. He is known as one of the Philippine pioneers of computerization. MIT thus became one of the first few schools to use computers for its administrative and management operations.

Due to his commitment to quality and excellence, he was geared to achieve more not only for the Institute but for the country as well. Possessing a fine academic record (aside from being a Civil Engineer, he also holds a degree of Master in National Security from the National Defense College of the Philippines, Master of Science in Management from Mapua Institute of Technology, and a Doctor of Technology ‘honoris causa’ from the Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok, Thailand) and an inherent drive for the development of science and technology, he was named to various positions which late proved helpful to his objectives. He was a member of the National Science and Development Board. He was a founding member of the Philippines Association for Technological Education. Through his efforts, he got the different engineering schools coordinated; of late, there are over 200 schools in the Philippines offering engineering programs, and the number is still growing. He is also a trustee and former chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Asian Institute of Technology in Bangkok, Thailand.

He was once president of the Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities and Coordinating Council of the Private Educational Association. He was a director of the Pan Philippine Life Insurance Corporation. He is a member of the Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Club Filipino, Rotary Club of Manila, American Management Association, Philippine Constitution Association, Philippine Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Research Council of the Philippines.

He goes through everyday life with a happy marriage which is approaching its golden mark, and a prosperous family of five children and ten grandchildren. For 25 years now, President Oscar Mapua, of the better known technological developers of Asia, continues to fulfill the underlying philosophies and objectives of the Mapua Institute of Technology!

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