The year 2020, with all its misfortunes and tragedies, is a not-so-good year to begin this decade. Not spared by the ongoing crisis, Southern Christian College humbly acknowledges the profound effect that COVID-19 pandemic has on the many aspects of its operation. However, with our resilience, we keep our hopes high and our hearts continuously sing our prayers that we would make it through this year and the next years to come. This indomitable spirit is one crucial legacy that the late President, Dr. Eliezer “Ely” D. Mapanao had left to SCC when this great school was once at the brink of its doomsday.
Recalling the life of Dr. Mapanao and all his contributions to SCC, there is so much that every SCCian of today should be thanking him for. To account, here are some of them.
In 1965, Dr. Mapanao, together with his wife and four children, left California to help SCC. The College, at that time, was on its 16 years of operation and service. At rock bottom, the school back then was struggling in its operations. Dr. Mapanao accepted SCC’s presidency, developed the College, and introduced the paradigm of soil and soul for social well-being and social organizations.
The 38-year old Ely started his leadership of SCC with the wisdom of an owl, the heart of a lion, and the stomach of a goat. With Ely’s leadership approach, SCC pioneered in the organization of development agencies, which also helped the Midsayap Trade Area. It also organized the Mindanao Christian Service Foundation (MCSF). Under the term of Dr. Mapanao, SCC’s curricular program was improved. Its seven-year development plan in 1968 launched an integrated comprehensive program in selected barrios in the vicinity of SCC. The development plan of SCC gave a vast range of opportunities to the barrio people through skills training and workshops under the non-formal education programs.
Dr. Mapanao, who was committed to his ministry and administration, wrote project proposals for SCC to analyze the problems and determine solutions out of the available resources. Through him, SCC shared and achieved many of its vision and dreams with the help of partners. Seven buildings were built and completed. Twenty-five housing units for students and 16 units for faculty with a President’s residence were constructed. The College Hill was further developed for agricultural programs and farm laboratories. Various plans were also implemented, such as the Student Rural Development Corps (SRDC), Faculty Operation in Community Understanding and Service (FOCUS), General Endowment fund, Scholarship Endowment Fund, and creative programs with the support and partnership with churches and other development agencies.
Dr. Mapanao’s ministry and leadership had lengthened to 22 long productive years. In March 1987, his presidency ended, and he went back to his homeland, Aringay, La Union, with his wife, Mrs. Portia Mapanao.
For a long time that Dr. Mapanao served SCC, the church, and community, he created acronyms for his programs and projects such as CORUM, CONCORD, CONDORA, SHALOM, CREATE, and many more. The “Triple-A,” which stood for Awareness, Analysis, and Action, would always remind us of his “Elyness” and was one of the most important lessons he had taught to the faculty and staff of SCC.
This year, we commemorate his fifth death anniversary. Not everyone is lucky enough to have had the opportunity to meet or interact with the great Rev. Dr. Eliezer D. Mapanao. However, his legacies to SCC continue to influence our way of life and ministry in the academe and in our service to the community. Thus, Southern Christian College pays tribute to Ely’s life and works, to his family, and to his service to SCC, the church, and the community. His is a life worth remembering.
As we face the challenges of the year 2020, let us not forget how Dr. Mapanao led SCC to conquer the seemingly insurmountable challenges in the past. Keeping all his lessons of strength, hope, optimism, and faith, we will all get through and rise above all the challenges. We shall continue to hold on to his words to the SCC community when he first arrived here,
“While we are a small college, we serve a big God, and he bids us to grow and glow… The first and best resource of SCC is its un-surrendering people. Lesser mortals would have presided over her funeral long ago.”