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(© 2017 Journal GlobaLinks)


CHICAGO (JGL) — Is college education the new frontier for Overseas Filipinos just as the Filipino working force is still fulfilling its demands for overseas workers worldwide?


A Philippine-born, Philippine-educated leader, Amado Gabriel M. Esteban, Ph. D., floated this idea when he was hosted a bienvenida (welcome) reception by the Philippine Consulate headed by outgoing Consul General Generoso D. G. Calonge and the Filipino community last Thursday (Aug. 17) during the ika-27 Pagkikita sa Konsulado (27th town hall meeting at the Philippine Consulate) in Chicago, Illinois.


Dr. Esteban, who belongs to rare club of Philippine-born presidents of American universities, said, “In the United States, the population is aging. In Illinois, by 2034, 17 years from now, the number of 18-year-olds will decline by 19.1%, the market of higher education. The loss of 20 %, that’s the market of higher education. What are we supposed to do?


“That group is not going to college. So, you have to make an extra effort that they are college prepared. The U.S. is rapidly aging. A lot of industrial world is rapidly aging. And that is what you see what happened in (South) Korea. They built a lot of higher education institutions. Now, they are shutting down or shrinking. Japan and China are going the same way.


“The Philippines, in contrast, is a young country. There are opportunities in countries like the Philippines for higher education to supply a workforce to the industrial world as economies are growing at different phases.



 DR. AMADO GABRIEL M. ESTEBAN (third from left, seated), the brand new 12th president of De Paul University in Chicago, Illinois, joins in the photo opportunity with some members of the Philippine Consulate led by Consul General Generoso D. G. Calonge (third from right, seated) during the ika-27 Pagkikita sa Konsulado (27th town hall meeting) last Thursday, Aug. 17 in the Philippine Consulate in Chicago, Illinois. Others in photo from left, seated are Liezl Alcantara, Cultural Officer of the Philippine Consulate, De Paul alumna Estrella Alamar, Mrs. Josephine King Esteban, Mrs. Gloria Calonge, Consul Mel P. Lalunio, Jr. and Josephine Mascarenas-Diaz. Standing from left Joseph G. Lariosa of Journal GlobaLinks; Mariano “Anong” Santos of Pinoy Newsmagazine; Atty. Marjorie Baltazar of Baltazar Global LLC; Adelina Fajardo, president of the Philippine American Cultural Foundation; Dr. Ramon Lopez, Maria Vergara, Ms. Marlyn Lopez, R.N.; Sammy Ramos, retired civil engineer; and Marlon L. Pecson of the Journal GlobaLinks. (Photo by  CORNELIO P. SANTIAGO)

“The Philippines is on track as the highest growing or fastest growing economy in Asia while U.S.  growth rate is 1 to 2%.”


As the 12th president of the nation’s largest Catholic university, the Chicago, Illinois-based De Paul University, Dr. Esteban, said the “Philippines has lots of education opportunities in the U.S., which has an education “workforce that has a large intellectual capacity.”


Published reports say, between 2004 and 2014, enrollment for higher education in U.S. increased 17 percent, from 17.3-milliion to 20.2-million. In Japan, there were 2.8-million students enrolled in its 778 universities. China has 6-million enrollments in its 2,000 universities and colleges while Korea has 3.7-million students it its 376 official higher education institutions.




In the Philippines, in academic year 2012/13 total post-secondary enrollments account for 3.56-millions (of which 57 percent were in the private sector), an increase of over one million since 2004 when there were 2.40-million students in the system.


Aside from Dr. Esteban, a graduate of the University of the Philippines, the other Philippine-born president of a U.S. university is Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw, Ph. D., who earned his B.A. in Economics from Ateneo de Davao University in the Philippines. Dr. Gempesaw is the current president of St. John University in Jamaica, Queens, New York. The third Filipino head of a U.S. college is Loretta Adrian, also a UP alumna, who is the president of Coastline Community College, the first campus-free college, scattered among storefront locations in Orange County in California.


Both De Paul University and St. John are under the Vincentian tradition as does the third Vincentian university, Niagara University, also in New York. Dr. Esteban said, the Vincentian mission is "what attracted my wife and I at De Paul, the mission of serving the population that most needs help."


There was a fourth college president, Chito Calino, who returned to the Philippines.


MEMBERS OF THE FILIPINO community greeted Dr. Amado Gabriel M. Esteban (third from left, seated) after his brief remarks when the Philippine Consulate General led by Consul General Generoso D. G. Calonge (third from right, seated) hosted the ika-27 Na Pagkikita sa Konsulado (27th town hall meeting at the Philippine Consulate) in Chicago, Illinois last Thursday, Aug. 17. Among those in photo seated from left are Grace Villamora, Estrella Alamar, Mrs. Josephine King Esteban, Mrs. Gloria Calonge, Abbey Eusebio and Dr. Cleofe G. Casambre. Among those photo from left standing are Ed Brotonel, Jelly Carandang, Atty. Aurora N. Abella Austriaco. Brittany S. Odes, Josh Delson and Ruben Salazar. (Photo by  CORNELIO P. SANTIAGO)

Dr. Esteban said, “Less than 1% of college presidents are Asian Americans. Asian Americans comprise 6-7% among American student population and are at the very top.”


According to Washington, D.C. think tank, Migration Policy, quoting Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) sources, “Today, more than 10-million Filipinos—or about 10 percent of the population—are working and/or living abroad.”


In an interview with the Journal GlobaLinks, Mr. Esteban said when he was president of Seton Hall University (SHU) in New Jersey, he set up academic linkages with University of the Philippines, University of Santo Tomas, De La Salle University and Silliman University among others.




“That is my one way of giving back to the Philippines,” Mr. Esteban said in harnessing the talents of Filipinos.


DR. AMADO GABRIEL M. ESTEBAN (fourth from left) and Consul General Generoso D. G. Calonge (third from left) join the photo op with media types from left Connie Macatula De Leon of ABS-CBN International, Joseph G. Lariosa of Journal GlobaLinks, Mariano “Anong” Santos of Pinoy Newsmagazine and Marlon L. Pecson of Journal GlobaLinks during  the ika-27 Na Pagkikita sa Konsulado (27th town hall meeting at the Philippine Consulate) in Chicago, Illinois last Thursday, Aug. 17. (JGL Photo)

Now that he has started serving since July 1, 2017 for the next five years as president of De Paul University, the 55-year-old Manila-born educator said, “I hope to replicate my effort in Seton Hall University in De Paul. What is exciting about De Paul is that we already have a sister institution in the Philippines in Adamson University. We will see how we can work with other universities.”


Dr. Esteban had a seven-year stint with SHU, where his contract as president was renewed twice.


When this reporter interviewed Mr. Esteban in 2011, FIRST FIL AM UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT NAMED, I asked him where he would be in five years. His answer:  “It is hard to tell, maybe I can be president of another university.”


When asked Thursday by this reporter if he will accept a position as president of a university in the Philippines, Dr. Esteban demurred, saying, “No comment. I think there are capable educators in the Philippines. The biggest challenge is to move back to the Philippines with another set of knowledge. My knowledge of education is taken from another setting. 


“I believe in life going forward and you try to understand the decisions made. My wife (Josephine King Esteban) and I believe the way to be happy is to pray for the best and take the path that the Lord leads you, too, and not worry about it.


PRINCESS EMRAIDA KIRAM of Sultan of Sulo was among those special guests during the ika-27 Na Pagkikita sa Konsulado (27th town hall meeting at the Philippine Consulate) in Chicago, Illinois last Thursday, Aug. 17. She is sandwiched by Joseph G. Lariosa (left) and Marlon L. Pecson of the Journal GlobaLinks. (JGL Photo)

“There are some worries as you progress and there are regrets. That’s part of growing up, be older and hopefully wiser. That’s a big thing. I am at peace where I am now since we’ve been blessed. Me and my wife and I have been blessed. We never imagine we will be here in the U.S. And where we are right now, we are just here for the ride. I think I was able to accomplish more than I thought when I was in SHU. Now, they (SHU) are going to open a new campus for health and medical sciences. They are opening up a new medical school. Right now at De Paul, we are going to strategic planning. I will spend a lot of time listening. Talking to a lot of people.”




De Paul is the largest Catholic education institution in the U.S. with 23,100 students. St. John, 20,000. It has a large international student population at 2,500; very diverse community.


DR. AMADO GABRIEL M. ESTEBAN (third from right) and his wife, Josephine King Esteban (extreme left), are joined by alumnae and an alumnus of De Paul University during the ika-27 Na Pagkikita sa Konsulado (27th town hall meeting at the Philippine Consulate) in Chicago, Illinois last Thursday, Aug. 17. Among them from left are Estrella Alamar, Josh Delson and Brittany S. Odes. (JGL Photo by JOSEPH G. LARIOSA)

“It has a long-standing relationship with Adamson University in Philippines, also a Vincentian university. They (Adamson) have the same mission as De Paul and believes in outreach; our agreement with Adamson goes back to 2005 with memorandum of understanding; their faculty can select online classes at De Paul because we believe in helping each other as sister institutions. More recently, we have offered an MBA with iACADEMY in Makati, first U.S. university to offer an MBA program in the Philippines.” Dr. Esteban said.


“At some point, my wife and I will probably go to Manila,” Dr. Esteban cracked. “As chief academic officer and president of SHU, we set up relationship with UP College of Nursing and School of Medicine, La Salle School of Medicine in Cavite, Silliman University and UST. My expectation at the De Paul, we are doing the same and add more outreach and interesting opportunities not only in the Philippines but also around the world. Every place where they can benefit from Vincentian education.” (Contact reporter: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

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