Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Long-Overdue Tribute Post for Dean Alfredo Vicente

It is apparent from her daughter's Facebook status that the Vicente family has heard many people testify about how admirable he is:

"Wherever and whatevet Daddy does, he hast left a legacy. It was from the accumulated legacies and testimonies coming tat made me realize what a great man Daddy really is."
(-Liezyl Vicente-Frias)

Amidst that plethora of testimonies, my contribution may be negligible in value but I'll proceed anyway. Alfredo Vicente was a long time dean of the College of Accountancy and Business Administration (CABSA) in Virgen Milagrosa University Foundation (VMUF, my Alma Mater). Of course, his influence on me is not on the spiritual level for most probably, he does not adhere to the evangelical battle cries (five solas), but we have to give honor to whom honor is due. We also have to praise God whenever the Imago Dei is displayed. Yes, the Imago Dei in every man has been broken by the fall, but it is not totally destroyed.

After graduation, I never had the chance to practice accountancy. And what we don't review and practice, we will soon forget. I have long forgotten Dean Vicente's lectures on the income statement and the balance sheet, but the lessons he gave transcending accountancy shall surely last.

1. He knows how to encourage and motivate. His strong desire is to produce Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), and so whenever he has a chance, he motivates his students to press on. In the classroom and out, he was like a basketball coach who is fond of giving pep talks to the team.

During our first semester as freshmen, he offered the best motivation I heard. He announced that whoever tops the periodic exams shall receive free books from him. And whoever does it for three consecutive exams shall receive a scholarship for the next semester.

I received two books from him (with his patented signature) for topping the Prelim and Mid-Term exams but I failed to grab the scholarship prize when I did not do well in the midterm exam. Yet the fault is not in him but in me. He offered the best he could to motivate us to study well.

2. He taught us to keep our focus on our goal. For him, even if an activity or a hobby is not inherently bad or even useful, you have to get rid of it if it might disturb your focus on your main goal. Cross-stitching may be fine but you must study accounting. Learning how to play the guitar may be fine, but you have to learn accounting.

I think this is where he was upset about me (for joining The Virginian, the official student publication of VMUF) and my friend Albert Calimlim (for joining the Council of Student Leaders). Perhaps he was correct in Albert's case; but in my case my performance in the Accounting classes was already deteriorating even before I joined The Virginian.

3. He has his own share in fighting for students rights, like his crusade in mortifying the Workbook business in the university.

4. He was insistent that if we will be resourceful, there is a way to earn income. He rejects the idea that money is found by working overseas. "No" he objects. Money is right here in the Philippines, if you will find ways to earn it.

5. He desired the political maturity of the people. He offered his services to the people at least twice I think but never won. I had a chat with him at least twice on this issue and he was really upset about the voters who are more interested in vote-buying politicians rather than on candidates with substance.

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