PROF. TOMAS B. LOPEZ JR.
For almost two decades, the University of Makati was shaped by the vision and leadership of Prof. Tomas B. Lopez Jr. A long-standing academic and marketing and communications practitioner, he ushered UMak into its current educational philosophy – education that is relevant and responsive to the needs of its primary constituents. Understanding that UMak was a local university that must serve the children of the underprivileged citizens of Makati, he strongly espoused that education must lead to jobs. This education-for-employment and education-for-development model became the foundation of UMak – to ensure that young Makatizens would obtain education that will allow them to be highly competitive in the current job market and empower them to create opportunities for individual progress.
One of his favorite stories on UMak was that early on in his presidency, he asked then-Mayor Jojo Binay if he could convene the heads of different Human Resource offices of Makati-based companies. He asked them why they weren’t hiring UMak graduates, somehow expecting them to respond that they preferred schools like Ateneo, DLSU, UP and the like. To his surprise, many of them answered differently, saying that UMak graduates weren’t qualified for the positions they were offering. And so, he invited them to contribute to the reforms he intended to institutionalize in UMak. This led to the creation of the UMak Industry Partners Program, which, almost two decades ago, was a novel concept of direct participation of the private sector in education delivery.
His vision on education has led to the creation of programs like the Dualized University Education System (DUES) – a program that aimed to break barriers between the academe and industry by integrating industry needs with academic education development and delivery. With this, UMak has been able to engage more than 2,000 industry partners on various capacities - ranging from curriculum development and delivery, faculty development and internship and employment programs for UMak students. To date, UMak’s Industry Partners Program continues to thrive and create opportunities for UMak programs, its students and alumni.
This was developed further with UMak’s Public-Private Partnerships (PPP), which led to the creation of the College of Allied Health Services and the College of Maritime Leadership Innovation.
A champion of innovation in education, Prof. Lopez continues to advocate for relevant educational programs that truly responds to the needs of young Filipinos. Especially so for public institutions entrusted with the future of those who need governments the most. For him, the most important value each UMak employee must embody is to never forget why institutions like UMak exist, and whom they exist for – young Filipinos whose education will allow for them to create better lives for themselves and their families.