Sat, 8 August 2020


Dr. Francisco Benitez’ Message to the Alumni

October 13, 2013

To the alumni of PWU,


Having just experienced the first grand nursing reunion in San Diego, I am humbled by the spirit and enthusiasm of the nursing alumni and their faculty. Their zest for life is infectious and congregating them in one room filled the halls with laughter. Walking incarnations of the school, you alumni re-affirm the continuing relevance of PWU’s educational mission.

As I once said, we are all fellow stewards and equal heirs to the founders’ noble dream: a school that provided useful education for virtuous citizenship. For almost one hundred years, the university has deliberately and consciously dedicated itself to educating Filipino youth for community formation and nation-building. Let us recall that PWU was a “house of learning founded by teachers who were at the same time citizens with a social consciousness and missionary zeal.”

Establishing a school under the aegis of empire, theirs was the fundamental belief that education cultivated the capacities for the participative citizenship required of a strong democratic and independent republic. They believed our democracy is only as strong as our civic life, only as virtuous as our citizenry. Emboldened by the Jones Law that finally promised Philippine Independence, the founding mothers sought to prepare women for professional and civic life before women’s suffrage had even been passed. With its particular focus on women and gender empowerment, PWU has always sought to bridge the structural and cultural gaps between work and home, the professions and the family, the academy and the community, in the interest of active and public life. It has endeavored to transform the fragmentation of social life into cohesive forces for building the capacities of people and communities.

Emerging out of the experience of gendered exclusion from the public sphere, PWU has sought to provide a holistic education not only for all individuals regardless of sex, but an education that cultivates an awareness of civitas—the social bonds and conditions that unite us as communities—spiraling from the individual, the family, the professions and civic society. We at PWU feel that these thrusts are as relevant today as they were at the school’s founding.

PWU alumni are dedicated to social transformation as well as to gaining professional and academic competencies. It is no wonder then that PWU alumni are experts not only at forming communities, but also of turning these communities into constituencies. PWU alumni, in all walks of life, are seen as movers, as dependable participants in all worthy endeavors, great or small. As fellow stewards of PWU’s educational mission, I once again enjoin you to take part in the university’s growth and sustenance. The previous years had seen some serious decline in the university’s enrollment and even though the enrollment in the university as a whole is improving, the current transformations in the educational terrain of the Philippines—the increase in the number of higher education institutions, the opening up of ASEAN 2015 as well as the looming transition to K-12 in basic education—all herald even more difficult years to come. I challenge the alumni, all alumni and not just nursing, to help preserve and nourish our educational mission; and toshow your support now, as we begin to face the transition years of K-12 while improving the quality of our programs, and think of our centennial in 2019.

I am extremely grateful for the funds already donated to the PWU School of Nursing from the Grand Reunion, and look forward to receiving more from the commitments many have already made in San Diego. One time lump sum donations are certainly welcomed, but even small and continuous support would also be appreciated—as I had mentioned, anything from $10, $20, or even at $30 a month (that’s just $1 a day, less than half the cost of a cup of coffee!). Can you imagine if every one of the one hundred or so registrants at the Reunion committed to do this for at least a year? In the end, the amount is less important than your participation in our bayanihan enterprise, for these are seeds from which much can grow.

As the university transitions into a research university as well and struggles to maintain its tradition of academic excellence, the university projects to which such donations can help range from the continuing renovations and upgrades of our facilities (we intend to transform as many of our classrooms into smart rooms as we can afford, upgrade laboratory equipment, refurbish the concert hall, create a digital media lab, return the Taft facade to its original high ceiling and welcoming arches, among others); to providing scholarships both for our most needy students as well as for our academically excellent recruits; to creating or replenishing professorial chairs like the one dedicated to Dr. Diamante to help us engage and retain excellent faculty with research capabilities. For individuals or batches that donate the most significant amount, allow us to recognize you and perhaps rename the nursing skills lab in your honor! Butfunds are not the only way you can help us sustain our educational mission.

We invite you to come home to PWU and see our campus, visit with our faculty and our students and share with us your knowledge and experiences. As models of what PWU graduates can accomplish, your presence can only inspire our teachers and the succeeding generations of PWU alumni.

I invite you all to attend the alumni homecoming and reunion this February, 2014 to once again renew ties to the school. 

Fellow stewards, heirs and stakeholders in the university’s educational mission: now is the time to pay it forward. Aware of the can-do attitude of PWU alumni, I am encouraged to know that together we shall build the scaffolding for another 100 years.