AFTER THREE years of service to the Loyola Schools (LS) as Vice President (VP), Ma. Assunta Cuyegkeng, Ph.D. will be stepping down from her position by the end of the school year.
University President Fr. Bienvenido Nebres, SJ released a memorandum early September stating that Cuyegkeng will be stepping down as VP due to personal reasons.
“It was with regret that I accepted Dr. Cuyegkeng’s resignation. I would have wished she could complete her second three-year term, but she has cogent personal reasons for asking to step down at this time,” Nebres said.
In an interview with The GUIDON, Cuyegkeng preferred not to state the exact reasons of her stepping down. “I’ve given my reasons to people who are close to me,” she said.
Since 2006, Cuyegkeng has implemented many programs for development of the LS. According to School of Humanities Dean Luz Vilches, Ph.D., Cuyegkeng is perhaps known for her efforts in further improving Ateneo’s scholarship program, its faculty and staff development, its student formation and services, and its campaign for a better environment.
“[She’s] very driven and dedicated to carrying out the vision that has been set before her for the LS,” Vilches said.
According to former Sanggunian president Omi Castañar, Cuyegkeng is also a leader who expects results.
“She is a leader who … has spent her years of service pursuing that vision. Although she often delegates tasks to other administrators, she will always be known as a very hands-on VP … She is a woman of action who expects results,” he said.
Castañar added, however, that Cuyegkeng was more of a mother-figure when he served as Sanggu president. “I thought of her as someone like a fierce school principal or headmistress. But when I got to know her, I found out that she was more of a mother than a headmistress.”
‘A family woman’
When Castañar learned of Cuyegkeng’s resignation, he was initially surprised, but he understood Cuyegkeng’s reasons.
“I understand her reasons for it. She remains a family woman and I admire her for that,” he added.
Vilches said that she wished Cuyegkeng had finished her term, but like Castañar, she also respected her decision and her reasons.
“She has done wonderfully well in a job that is not easy. Now that she has to attend to more personal concerns, I wish her blessings and have nothing more than deep gratitude for her selfless service,” she said.
Nebres was also thankful to Cuyegkeng for her efforts for the LS.
“I am particularly grateful for what she has achieved in terms of articulating and organizing the Integrated Non-Academic Formation of our students. She has also worked very effectively to strengthen research and scholarship. I thank her also for the care she has given to the non-teaching staff,” he said.
The next VP
Cuyegkeng said that it is hard to say what she will miss about being VP. “I don’t know if it’s a matter of missing things, because this job can be thankless. You’re expected to do a lot of things. There’s a lot of pressure, I don’t know if I’ll miss that.”
She added, however: “I think people who take on this position realize that the Loyola Schools is what it is in the Ateneo because of the people we work with. Generally, the community is quite generous and quite supportive, so it’s good working with various offices. That is what I’ll miss.”
According to Nebres, a Search Committee has been formed to create a list of nominees for the next Vice President.
“[The committee will] interview them and then submit recommendations of three names from which the Board of Trustees will decide,” Nebres said. He also added that the LS community shall be consulted in the creation of this list.
“Ideally, the VP should have a strong background in teaching and research, as well as be a capable leader in terms of people (faculty, staff, students, parents, alumni), finances (budgets), and the overall concerns of the Loyola Schools,” Nebres said.
The Search Committee is expected to submit its recommendations for VP among the nominees by the end of November or early December.