Universidad De Zamboanga: A New Name, a New Beginning and a Brighter Future Providing Quality Education to One and All

Manila Bulletin, June 5, 2005 | Go to article overview

Universidad De Zamboanga: A New Name, a New Beginning and a Brighter Future Providing Quality Education to One and All


Attracted to the land of promise Mindanao Arturo "Kiko" Eustaquio left Marikina in 1933, with a University of the Philippines degree and a Civil Engineer license, and arrived in Zamboanga City la villa hermosa. For three years, Kiko stayed in the construction business. In 1939, his marriage to Rosa Fargas, gave way to the realization of his dream of putting up a school when Marcelo Mendoza, the then Customs collector and one of his sponsors, lend him R40,000 to put up Zamboanga A.E. Colleges.

HUMBLE BEGINNINGS

All could have been well, had it not with the capture of Kiko by Japanese soldiers alleging him as spy. It was almost a miracle that Kiko survived the torture he went through under the hands of the Japanese soldiers. After his recovery, he was then sent to prison in San Ramon, where he met Tomas Castillo and Leon Dannug.

While in prison, the triumvirate confided with each other their dreams and aspirations. But what was mutually shared was the dream to establish a school as a way to improve society through education. In their plan, Dannug, an Ilocano with a Masters degree, would take care of the academic operation, while Castillo, a Batangueno with a bachelors degree in education, would serve as the school principal and registrar.

After the triumvirates release from prison, work assignments separated them. Kiko then decided to solely concentrate on realizing their dream of establishing an educational institution. On October 12, 1948, Zamboanga A.E. Colleges was established. His two "blood brothers" then joined him in undertaking all initiatives necessary to establish the college.

All was ready with the first ZAEC policy-making board of trustees and founders led by Arturo Eustaquio as the president. It then opened its doors to welcome its first 479 high school and college students. ZAEC started with three colleges, namely the Colleges of Education, Commerce, Liberal Arts. Today, it has evolved from a three-college higher education institution (HEI), into an academic organization offering 44 curricular programs.

Since then, this institution has been considered as one of Western Mindanaos largest educational institution catering to students across the Zamboanga peninsula. Since its establishment, ZAEC has built on a tradition of "education for all" regardless of social, economic status and religious background. As a concrete proof to this claim, ZAEC has maintained low tuition fees but high quality education. The school pioneered in the "Study-Now-Pay-Later" scheme long before the government implemented the same program, making the school known as the "School for the Masses."

Today, the greatest reward ZAEC could boast of is the product of its quality education. Its alumni is composed of congressmen, mayors, councilors, judges, law enforcers and heads of local, regional and national government offices. In the private sectors, ZAEC alumni are occupying supervisory and/or managerial positions. In the educational field, ZAEC alumni are in top positions such as commissioner, university/college president, school director, principal, and/or head teacher in various education institutions in the region and of the country. Furthermore, ZAEC graduates are finding their niche abroad specifically in the medical field.

The existence of this institution has contributed a lot to the multi-dimensional development of the City of Zamboanga. This is in terms of the economic multiplier effects of the financial operation of the school, the impact of its physical and infrastructure development, and the various facets of the social and political contribution of its graduates to society.

As the institution progressively addressed the growing demands of the educational needs of the city and the region, it expanded into a six-campus HEI with one branch in Ipil, Sibugay province. This gigantic move is in line with the schools working philosophy of accessible and democratized education and service to the people. …

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