Dr. Eliezer D. Mapanao was born on December 24, 1926 in Aringay, La Union. He is the youngest of six children in the family of the couple Mr. Floro Mapile Mapanao and Mrs. Maria Cresanta Dulay Mapanao. He finished his elementary education at Aringay Elementary School and high school at La Union High School in 1947.Dr. Mapanao earned degrees in Associate in Arts and Associate in Theology at Union Christian College, Bachelor of Arts in Silliman University). While in Silliman, he worked with the Silliman University Church many years before going to Manila to work with Ellinwood Malate Church. He was a Pastor at Ellinwood Church in Malate sometime in 1964 when the call and challenge of serving Southern Christian College in Midsayap came.He earned a Bachelor of Divinity in Union Theological Seminary and Master’s in Theology, Ethics Studies at Harvard Divinity School, Harvard University. He took up Master of Arts in Educational Administration at the University of California in Berkeley. In early 1963, he served as Resident Director of the International Study Fellowship at Princeton University. He and his family left California and went home to the Philippines to start the leadership role as President of Southern Christian College in Midsayap in August 1965.His term as the second President of the College commenced. He succeeded Proculo Rodriguez who served as the first president of SCC, his father-in-law. While in SCC, he initiated the formulation of a seven-year development plan, which covered the years 1967-1974, which outlined the goals of the College (Carbon, 2000:211). During his time, SCC was able to acquire seven modern new buildings on campus, twenty-five housing units for students, sixteen units for faculty housing including a well-apportioned President’s residence. The developments of the College Hill for various agricultural programs and farm laboratories, program support for a Student Rural Development Corps (SRDC) and Faculty Operation in Community Understanding and Service (FOCUS) have been facilitated. General Endowment Fund and a Scholarship Endowment Fund with several millions of pesos as principal of the funds, several creative programs in partnership with the churches and other development agencies were accomplished. After retirement from the long service of twenty-two years as President of SCC in March 1987, he accepted the leadership as Acting President of the Union Christian College then for a full-time service in January 1993.In August 1994, he came back to SCC and served as interim president after Dr. Felimon Lagon retired as SCC President. Renovation of the Elementary School Building, setting up of the School of Theology, rebuilding the old Bishop Proculo Rodriguez Hall, and the establishment of the SCC Chapel named as Paul Minear Chapel of the Dawn were completed during his term.
As a brilliant person, he has received various recognition and awards. To name a few, he was conferred a Doctor of Development Education degree, honoris causa, by the College of Maasin in Southern Leyte. “During the 50th anniversary of SCC in October 1999 and in recognition for the long and untiring service to SCC, the Board of Trustees honored Dr. Eliezer D. Mapanao with the title of President Emeritus. During the golden jubilee of SCC in March 1999 marked the conferment of a doctoral degree, Doctor of Humanities (honoris causa) to Mrs. Portia Rodriguez Mapanao, his wife. Dr. E. Mapanao was recognized as the Father of TASSEL during the first meeting of the Planning Board of CREATE, where he served as Executive Director of CREATE-UCCP. In 1974, he was the General Secretary of Consultative Council on Rurban Development (CONCORD) and became the consultant with United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN-ESCAP) in 1989.
As more challenges came towards the sunset of his life, he continued to metamorphose each time into a new persona. As visionary, pastor, preacher, speaker, educator, creator of institutions and organizations, community development initiator, ecumenical leader, international personality, and even as reluctant politician, his achievements remain unsurpassed. Throughout his life, the rainbow lured him to many unexpected places in Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao, and to far-away lands in different regions of the world-Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin and North America.
Dr. Mapanao married Portia Rodriguez on March 15, 1954. They are blessed with children namely: Mario, Jemuel, Jowena and Maryssa and have eight grandchildren. After 47 years, they continue to share the interest, passion, and commitment to social and ecological concerns. He is presently living with his wife, Portia in Poblacion 5, Purok Vanda, Midsayap, Cotabato.