*By Fr. Ranhilio C. Aquino, Vice President for Administration and Finance, July 4, 2017.

As representative of the Province of Cagayan in the Interim Batasang Pambansa, then Minister (later Senate President) Juan Ponce Enrile drafted the Charter of the Cagayan State University that was signed into law as Presidential Decree No. 1436 by President Ferdinand E. Marcos on June 11, 1978. Except for provisions on the composition, powers and selection of the members of the governing board, the Charter has since remained unchanged.

It certainly was not creation out of nothing. Rather, the Charter consolidated existing post-secondary institutions, converting them into a single legal entity. These were the Cagayan Valley College of Arts and Trades at Tuguegarao, the Northern Luzon State College of Agriculture at Piat, the Aparri Institute of Technology, the Cagayan Valley Agricultural College at Lallo, the Bukig National Agricultural and Technical School in Aparri West, the Sanchez Mira Rural Vocational School, the Western Cagayan School of Arts and Trades at Lasam and the Gonzaga National Agricultural and Technical School. It is this fact that explains the present constellation of campuses of the Cagayan State University: Andrews (Caritan), Piat, Lasam, Lallo, Aparri, Sanchez Mira, and Gonzaga. When the university commenced operations, a site in Carig was developed - to which the Central Administration of the university would later transfer from Caritan. It is the Carig site that has evolved, by Board sufferance, into the Carig Campus, although the Central Administration has since returned to the Andrews Campus at Caritan.

While the university was formed from pre-existing institutions that were mainly agricultural and technical, its Charter, Presidential Decree No. 1436, made it exceedingly clear that it was the intendment of the law that the university was to provide "better service in professional and technical training in the arts, sciences, humanities, and technology and in the conduct of scientific research and technological studies". Without a doubt then and by express legislative mandate, the university was not to be an agricultural, fisheries or technological university - although these remain vital and highly crucial concerns of CSU - but a "comprehensive university", a university as that term is understood in the academic world!

Academics of note were the first university officials, headed by Dr. Manuel Corpus from the University of the Philippines, and Dr. Joselito Jara, who did a doctorate in educational philosophy from the University of Maryland as Vice-President for Academic Affairs. The officials of the pre-existing colleges that were consolidated into the university were designated as "Campus Deans" and continued to supervise their respective campuses.

It was a truly enlightened decision of the Board of Regents to authorize the opening of a College of Medicine - the very first in the region, and an agreement with what was then the Cagayan Valley Regional Hospital (now the Cagayan Valley Medical Center) made the latter the training hospital of the College of Medicine. The first dean was a nationally recognized neurologist-psychologist, Dr. Gilberto Gamez of the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery of the University of Santo Tomas.

Soon after, other professional courses followed: Medical Technology, Engineering and Liberal Arts courses. Guided by what the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has identified as priority courses of the Region, the university has always offered degree programs in the "hard sciences" - mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology - although, especially in regard to chemistry and physics, these have not been popular programs at all. But CSU now has a competent and highly credible corps of professors in these very disciplines!

Dr. Armando Cortes, then Campus Dean of the Aparri Campus, succeeded Dr. Manuel Corpus as University President. At the time, it was the Bureau of Higher Education under the Department of Education, Culture and Sports, that superintended state universities and colleges. Prof. Monserrat Babaran was the Vice-President for Academic Affairs, and together, President Cortes and Prof. Babaran devised a classification and promotion scheme that would subsequently be adopted as a National Compensation Circular, to morph later into what is now National Budget Circular No. 461.

Fr. Ranhilio Aquino who then just finished his term as Vice-Dean of the Graduate School of the University of Santo Tomas and was Executive Vice-President of the Lyceum of Aparri for several years, was designated Vice-President for Academic Affairs. He supervised the accreditation of different programs of CSU with the Accrediting Agency of Chartered Colleges and Universities of the Philippines and instituted a system for the re-training and "re-tooling" of professors of agriculture and fisheries who no longer had enough students to teach, to enable them to teach subjects of their interest. Some programs of the university were awarded Center of Excellence status, others, Center of Development, aside from higher levels of accreditation.

The Board of Regents authorized the operation of a College of Law, offering the degree Bachelor of Laws, the second law school to open in Tuguegarao City - in fact, in Cagayan.

After President Cortes, Dr. Eleuterio de Leon was designated by then Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chair Esther Garcia as OIC, Office of the President, a position he held for three years. It was then that authority was bestowed on Campus Executive Officers who were tasked to manage their campuses in behalf of the Central Administration.

The College of Medicine earned recognition as the 10th leading school of medicine in the Philippines owing to creditable performance in the licensure examination. It was quite a feat! Quality medical education was available in the province at the astoundingly low cost of hardly over than twenty-five thousand per semester. The Graduate School was recognized and respected. Leaders and executives of higher education institutions in the region trooped to CSU, to earn their advanced degrees. Law flourished as well under the deanship of Attorney Leticia Aquino who upped Bar passing levels and obtained authority from the Legal Education Board to offer the degree Juris Doctor.

Dr. Roger Perez, who had been CHED Executive Director, was appointed as the next University President, and immediately he set himself to work on giving the university a much-needed face-lift. The Andrews Campus was transformed - given new and striking buildings. The Administration Building was built to be reminiscent of the Acropolis and the quadrangle, appropriately called "Athena Quadrangle", the huge five-hundred million peso building, the "Athena Building". Several steps were taken to rationalize campus resources and to improve productivity. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo graced the inauguration ceremonies of the new buildings, and the descendants of Claude Andrews, who donated the property on which on the original buildings of the university have arisen, were present at the dedication rite. President Perez introduced the Zero-Tuition Fee scheme, and the only fees assessed of students were "fiduciary fees" - miscellaneous fees applied to specific purposes such as medical and dental services, sports, publications and other ends. It was during the presidency of Dr. Perez that many additional academic programs were offered in the University, to include Bachelor of Science (BS) in Accountancy, BS in Hospitality Industry management, BS in Human kinetics, BS in Information technology, BS in Police Administration, and BS in Criminology. President Perez was assisted by Fr. Ranhilio Aquino, as Vice-President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Perfecto Vivit as Vice-President for Administration and Finance and Dr. Rogelio Matalang as Vice-President for Research and Extension. President Perez served two terms.

After Dr. Perez' term, Dr. Romeo Quilang, who had been president of the Isabela State University, assumed the presidency of the university. It was during this particular administration that efforts were made to revive the links with Accreditation Agency of Chartered Colleges and Universities in the Philippines (AACCUP), and to return the university's program to the accreditation system. The university also submitted itself to ISO certification and was awarded certified status by Intertek. In the interval between the end of Dr. Quilang's tenure and the selection of new university president, Dr. Mariden Ventura Cauilan steered university affairs as OIC, Office of the President.

The presidency then passed to Dr. Urdujah Alvarado Tejada who had long been a member of the Board of Regents of the university. A recognized scientist who had risen to the rank of Assistant Secretary of the Department of Science and Technology, Dr. Tejada was clearly the most qualified candidate - offering the university a cohesive program of development.

Almost immediately, she shepherded the university into serious and systematic planning, training and orientation, strong in the belief that no honest-to-goodness development is possible without scientific planning. Significantly, her first activities consisted in putting together a team of qualified and dedicated designated officials of the university, and taking them through seminars on strategic planning and the avoidance of graft and corrupt practices. She also devised an Executive Training Program for Campus Executive Officers and university directors and deans. Very recently in celebration of the University Day, she recognized outstanding alumni and gave loyalty awards to those who have served CSU for 30 years or over - the auspicious beginnings of what should be a praise system within the University.

It is under the aegis of her administration that the university articulates in final form its Development Plan.

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