By Noreen Jazul and Alex San Juan
Mathematics professor Dr. Fidel Nemenzo has been elected as the new chancellor of the University of the Philippines-Diliman.
JUST IN: Dr. Fidel Nemenzo is the 12th UP Diliman chancellor.
— Philippine Collegian (@phkule) February 3, 2020
UP’s official student publication, the Philippine Collegian, made the announcement of Nemenzo’s appointment on its social media pages Monday.
UP President Danilo Concepcion, co-chair of the Board of Regents (BOR), also confirmed the selection of Nemenzo during the BOR’s 1350th meeting on February 3.
Nemenzo succeeded Dr. Michael L. Tan who will step down from his post on February 25.
“Salamat sa lahat ng suporta, ang tagumpay ngayon, ay tagumpay nating lahat,” Nemenzo told members of the UP community who attended the massive protest for academic freedom Monday.
(Thank you for all your support, today’s victory is everyone’s victory)
“Alam ko nandito kayo hindi para ipaglaban ako, para ipaglaban ang UP. Narito kayo para sa academic freedom, narito kayo para sa demokratikong pamamahayag, narito kayo para marinig ang boses ng ating komunidad sa mga gagawing desisyon ng BOR, narito kayong lahat para sa UP Diliman,” Nemenzo added.
(I know you’re here not to fight for me, but to fight for UP. You’re here for academic freedom, for free speech, for our voice to be heard by the BOR; you’re all here for UP Diliman.)
In a press release Monday, the Philippine Collegian said members of the UP community’s Monday protest was done “under the banner of academic freedom, integrity and autonomy amidst feared Malacañang intervention in the Chancellor selection.”
Nemenzo was up against incumbent College of Engineering Dean Ferdinand Manegdeg for the top admin post.
Prior to his appointment as the 12th UP-Diliman chancellor, Nemenzo served as Vice Chancellor for Research and Development from 2014 to present.
Since 1992, Nemenzo has been teaching in the UP Institute of Mathematics and has held the positions Deputy-Director for Academic Affairs in the Institute of Mathematics; Associate Dean for Academic Affairs of the UP College of Science; OIC Director of the UP Institute for Small Scale Industries.
The newly-appointed chancellor also served as president of both the Southeast Asian Mathematical Society and the Mathematical Society of the Philippines, and has held research and teaching posts in Singapore, Tokyo, Amsterdam, Munich and Phnom Penh.
Nemenzo was a graduate of UP Diliman with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics in 1985, and earned his Master and Doctor of Science in Mathematics degrees from Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan, in 1992 and 1998, respectively.
He is a recipient of the Achievement Award in mathematics from the National Research Council of the Philippines, and the UP Diliman Gawad Chancellor Para sa Pinakamahusay na Guro.
Just last year, Nemenzo was elected to the Governing Board of the National Research Council of the Philippines and is Chair of its Mathematics Division.
‘A modern research university’
In Nemenzo’s vision paper presented during the chancellorship selection process, he vowed to transform UP Diliman as a “modern research university with a public mission,” and an “academic center of excellence” that is inclusive, diverse, inter-disciplinary and public service-oriented.
Nemenzo also pledged to continue to cultivate UPD’s spirit of critical inquiry and academic excellence “guided by a strong moral compass,” and committed to safeguarding academic freedom in the campus.
“If being an activist is siding with the oppressed, then I am an activist. If being an activist is working for change, then I am an activist. Red-tagging has no place in this university,” Nemenzo said in a forum between nominees for UPD chancellor and the community last month.
He has also vowed to be guided by the principles of democratic governance, administrative and operational efficiency, and sustainability and resiliency. (With a report from Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz)