Agrupis Assumes Office as 7th MMSU President

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More than 30 years ago, the fearless student leader of the College of Arts and Sciences led rallies against Dr. Consuelo S. Blanco, first MMSU president, because of alleged suppression of student organizations and student publications. Last August 2, she entered the president’s office, no longer armed with protest placards and leaflets, but with an agenda for change and a clear vision for the 39-year-old state university.

Dr. Shirley C. Agrupis, 52, of Batac, Ilocos Norte was voted upon as the 7th MMSU president by the 11-member Board of Regents (BOR) in a special meeting held at the central office of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) on July 31. She was shortlisted from among the six applicants for the position that was vacated in 2015. Her appointment, which will end on July 31, 2021, was signed by CHED Chairperson Patricia Licuanan.

“God is so good. I am overwhelmed on what is happening to me right now,” the teary-eyed MMSU president told her well-wishers as she approached the entrance of the administration building lobby. She remarked that she stepped into the building “not to wield power but to become a university president for all.”

Dr. Agrupis arrived at the administration building at 8:00 am using her private car. Just after she alighted from the vehicle, she embraced and hugged the small crowd of about 50 employees who gave her bouquets of flowers and smiles. The group was composed of faculty members, administrative and non-teaching personnel, security guards, researchers, and laborers.

Dr. Agrupis said the first thing she must do as she begins a herculean task of leading a big university is to meet all the vice presidents and heads of offices to discuss her plans for the first 100 days. Marching forward to attain her vision for MMSU, she requested all employees to support her in bringing in positive change to the university.

At the president’s office, Dr. Prima Fe Franco, MMSU’s officer-in-charge and VP for academin affairs, gave the office’s key and the university mace to Dr. Agrupis as a gesture of turning over to her the leadership which she held for two years.

The two other vice presidents, Dr. Nathaniel Alibuyog, research and extension, and Atty. Ramon Leaño, administration and business, were also present to welcome the new president. Both Leaño and Alibuyog also ran for the presidency.

After that, Dr. Agrupis proceeded to the Teatro Ilocandia to deliver her first keynote speech before the guests and participants in the 4th Regional Agriculture and Fisheries Extension Network (RAFEN) symposium.

At noon, she had a sumptuous luncheon meeting with the heads of offices in the administration building followed by a brief press conference with the members of the local media.

In the afternoon, she had her meeting with the representatives of various stakeholders for the MMSU bio-ethanol project.

The president hopes that this pet project, which is now in full swing, will start to maneuver for the successful implementation of the country’s bio-ethanol program.

“I have so many things to do in my first day of office, but I will see to it that I will do a short retreat for my mother in Aparri, Cagayan who just passed away last July 31,” she said adding that despite this tragedy, she, too, is very much excited because “I know that God will guide me all the way until beyond the end of my four-year term.”

Before her appointment as the 7th MMSU president, Dr. Agrupis was a Professor from CAS. She is a researcher, teacher, and scholar with 30 years of diversified work experiences in research, teaching, and administration.

Before joining MMSU in 2000, she was science research specialist at the National Tobacco Administration (NTA) where she pioneered alternative uses of tobacco as particleboard, pulp, and paper material. At MMSU, she rose through the ranks to become full professor in 2012.

She finished BS Biology from MMSU in 1985, MS Botany from UPLB in 1992, and PhD in Agricultural Sciences from the Shizuoka University, Japan, in 2000. Her vision for MMSU is to become one of the country’s top 10 universities, recognized for its innovative approaches to teaching, research, community outreach, and income generation.

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