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The 60th Foundation Day celebration of the University of  Nueva Caceres is not only a celebration of a learning institution which contributed immensely to the development of the region and the nation; it is also a celebration of a life-long dream of a visionary. When Don Jaime Hernandez founded the UNC in 1948 together with its other incorporators, they envisioned the realization of homegrown education that was “comparable if not better that any compared in Manila.”
60 years after, the UNC has lived up to Hernandez’s dream. And more.
With Atty. Jaime Reyes, Ambassador Jose Fuentebella, Atty. Edmundo Cea, Atty. Buenaventura Blancaflor, Atty. Juan F. Triviño, Atty. Antonio M. Sison, Dr. Manuel Abella and Dr. Domingo Abella, Hernandez established what would be “the first university in Luzon outside of Greater Manila.”
Education is not simply a matter of “information-dissemination” or transfer of a body of doctrine from a teacher to her students. It is not simply skills-training where the employment of the said skills (the “how” and, more importantly the “why”) are left to the caprices and whims of a prevalent consumerist culture which promotes self-centeredness. Education is the formation of individuals to be citizens who contribute to the common good.
The business of private education is not primarily business. It is to educate, to form a learned community. While it is unfortunate that private learning institutions do not receive substantial support—say, in the form of subsidies or tax-cuts—from government while it performs the latter’s responsibility, earning money has not been the prime objective of a private university such as the UNC. Instead, as attested by its numerous scholarship grants, the UNC continues to straddle the often difficult situation of facilitating student learning while at the same time, earning enough to maintain its operations and develop its human and non-human resources.
In these respects, the UNC achieved Don Jaime Hernandez’s dream and even beyond it. In its 60-year history, the UNC has lived truly its motto of non scholae, sed vitae: it has endeavored to provide a kind of education that prepares one for life.
Neither is education merely a matter of developing the intellect. For so many intelligent people in recent history have used their talents to prey on and gain unjustly from the disadvantaged masses of our communities. Education is the formation of the “heart” too: it entails promoting authentic values to students and helping them imbibe these. This, the UNC does.