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Bienvenido Maria Gonzalez was a two-term president of the University of the Philippines.

Early Life

Gonzalez was born on November 22, 1893 in Apalit, Pampanga. His father was the illustrious Joaquin Gonzalez, the rector of Universidad Literaria de Filipinas, the first institution of higher learning that was created by President Emilio Aguinaldo during the Philippine Revolution.

He took up agriculture at the same state university and pursued further studies as one of the first Filipino pensionados at the University of Wisconsin, where he obtained a master in science. He took up doctoral studies at John Hopkins University.

Career

Upon his return to the Philippines, he was named an assistant professor of animal husbandry at the university and reached tenure in just six years. He was promoted to become the department head, followed by successive stints as dean of the UP College of Agriculture in 1928.

Presidents of the
University of the Philippines
1911-1915 Murray S. Bartlett
1915-1921 Ignacio B. Villamor
1921-1925 Guy Potter Wharton Benton
1925-1933 Rafael V. Palma
1934-1939 Jorge Bocobo
1939-1943 Bienvenido Gonzalez
1943-1945 Antonio Sison
1945-1951 Bienvenido Gonzalez
1951-1956 Vidal A. Tan
1956-1958 Enrique Virata
1958-1962 Vicente G. Sinco
1962-1968 Carlos P. Romulo
1969-1975 Salvador P. Lopez
1975-1979 Onofre D. Corpuz
1979-1981 Emmanuel V. Soriano
1981-1987 Edgardo J. Angara
1987-1993 Jose V. Abueva
1993-1999 Emil Q. Javier
1999-2005 Francisco Nemenzo, Jr.
2005-2011 Emerlinda R. Roman
2011-present Alfredo E. Pascual

He was appointed the sixth president of the University of the Philippines in 1939, amidst opposition because of his animal breeding provenance. At 46 years old, he was the youngest ever to be named UP president and he was the very first alumnus to be so honored. His term was characterized by his open attitude to students and faculty and the encouragement of theuse of Tagalog as a national language.

He encouraged the establishment of a UP College of Nursing. Along with Juan Nakpil, future National Artist, and UP Music Conservatory director Ramon Tapales, he conceived the UP Carillon in 1940.

Upon the outbreak of World War II, he resigned from his position rather than serve under the Japanese. President Jose Laurel of the 2nd republic designated Antonio Sison as his successor.

When the Philippine Commonwealth was re-established in 1945, Dr. Gonzalez was reappointed as the eighth president. He holds the distinction of being the only 2-term head of the state university.

Dr. Gonzalez' second term was characterized by extreme difficulty and poverty. The UP Diliman campus which had been just recently inaugurated before the war lay in shambles. The Padre Faura campus was destroyed. Libraries and laboratories were lost. He made the momentous decision to transfer the bulk of the university's operations to the then distant and barren area of Diliman, insisting that the bulk of new construction be located on the 493 hectare area donated by the Tuason Family. Amidst attacks from media and opposition figures, he persisted with his vision and succeeded in having the United States War Damage Commission pay P13 million for rehabilitation and construction.

Dr. Gonzalez had strong opinions, even against the the incumbent Philippine President Elpidio Quirino. He lobbied for the disapproval of an honorary degree conferment on Indonesia President Sukarno. He invited the president's chief critic Senator Claro M. Recto to speak at the commencement exercises. He refused to accept the Philippine president's offer to join the cabinet. He resigned from his position in 1951.

He died two years after on December 30, 1953.

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