Today we begin a dynamic process of collective re-visioning for De La Salle University.

      The generations of Lasallians that have come before us can take justifiable pride in the achievements of this great institution. By any respectable yardstick, De La Salle University can lay claim to being an excellent academic institution at the service of God and country.

      At the same time, it is precisely because of the public esteem and prestige that the university enjoys that we feel a tremendous responsibility to re-view, re-vision, and re-plan how we can respond more effectively to the great moral and economic crisis that we face today.

      First, let me comment on the moral and spiritual crisis. I am convinced that the global and national crises we face are rooted in humanity’s loss of a clear moral compass. Almost everything has become relative; there are very few clear boundaries regarding morally acceptable public behavior. Laws are flagrantly violated and no effective sanctions are in place. Given this, how is De La Salle to educate its students?

      This is the most important question for us, and we will address it through a serious process of multi-sectoral dialogue and consultation. I have my own views, but I want all the University stakeholders to be fully involved in a clear articulation of the moral and spiritual values formation that should form the core of the DLSU vision for 2011 and beyond.

      Second, let me comment on the crisis of poverty and underdevelopment. I think most of us have our pet theories as to why the Philippines is poor, relative at least to our richer Asian neighbors. Most of these theories are based on economic, political and sociological analyses. Most of us also have a fairly clear idea of what needs to be done to conquer poverty. So, why can’t we do it?

      My own view is that our main problem is lack of sustained good governance, both at the local and national levels. If we can find a way to have the kind of good governance that, for example, Malaysia and Singapore have enjoyed for the past four decades, we have a chance to conquer the institutionalized corruption, incompetence and injustice that breed poverty.

      With the University’s available resources, we are building a research culture that aims to provide solutions to our national problem. We call on our people in the campus to develop research projects that will support the government and the private sector. I am putting together an ambitious multidisciplinary study for the next two to three years. This “Green Paper” is a kind of blueprint that should help guide our leaders in the near future!

      Among the primary goals for De La Salle, we have identified a few: (1) to make DLSU’s educational services more accessible to poor but deserving students, and (2) to further strengthen our research culture. We our floating our own DLSU bonds, as pre-need plan that can generate substantial funds for scholarships and research, and we will strengthen our proven fund raising efforts. We hope to generate substantial funds for scholarships and research, and we will strengthen our proven fund raising efforts.

      I am confident and optimistic that our re-visioning and strategizing for the next ten years will succeed to the extent that the whole Lasallian community will come together and work in a genuine spirit of love, unity and solidarity. Therefore, I call on all of you to join us in this grand celebration of a glorious past and a bold response to a challenging future.

      May Jesus continue to live in our hearts, and may St. La Salle continue to inspire and guide us in our mission to serve God and country. Animo La Salle!