Silliman University held its investiture rites for its first woman president on Aug 24. Dr. Betty Cernol-McCann was sworn in as the 13 th president of this 117-year-old university based in Dumaguete City. Dr. McCann, a registered psychologist and certified specialist in social psychology, comes after a series of twelve men presidents beginning with Dr. David Hibbard who opened Silliman Institute on Aug. 28, 1901. She succeeds Dr. Ben S. Malayang III, a reputed environmental policy expert and former undersecretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
Silliman’s new president brings to the university her profound knowledge of Asian higher education and extensive network among academic institutions in the region. Prior to being elected president, she was vice president for programs of the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia (UBCHEA), a New York-based not-for-profit organization with offices in Hong Kong. Among her last engagements before retiring in 2013 was to oversee the administration of UBCHEA programs in more than 100 colleges and universities in 13 Asian countries including the Philippines.
She is no stranger to Silliman. Before joining UBCHEA, Dr. McCann had served the university for 21 years in different capacities and activity areas: in instruction and training, research, community engagement, and administration. She had been department chair, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, then vice president for academic affairs for two terms. From 1992 to 1994, she served as acting president of the university.
Silliman University is one of the two best schools in the Visayas and is one of six Philippine universities that made it to the QS World University Rankings list of top 400 schools in Asia. Silliman University holds an Institutional Accreditation from the Federation of Accrediting Agencies in the Philippines (FAAP) and a Level IV accreditation from the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (PAASCU). Both accreditations are the highest that the two accrediting bodies can grant to a Philippine university.
Silliman University has 20 colleges, schools, and institutes offering a total of 147 programs ranging from agriculture to visual and performing arts. The university also takes pride in its excellent programs in early childhood and basic education that has molded thousands of children toward a well-rounded Christian way of life. (For more details, visit the Silliman University Website at https://su.edu.ph/).
The investiture of Silliman’s new president is one of the highlights of the university’s 117 th Founders Day festivity that runs from Aug. 19 to 28 but is actually a month-long celebration. The theme of this year’s commemoration is “The Spirit of Service lives on,” alluding to a lesson Jesus Christ taught his disciples: “…whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.” Other events being anticipated by Silliman students, faculty, homecoming alumni, and guests during the week are the President’s Night, Outstanding Sillimanian Awards rites, Miss Silliman pageant, Balik-Talent lectures, Family Games, and the massive 11-night fun activity Hibalag (Meeting/Meeting Up).