President Jaye is a family friend. This piece on her is written from the vantage point of a friend. It is biased then, but really, is there ever understanding that is unbiased? That she is someone I have known for some time now as more than a passing acquaintance allows me to share, with an appreciable degree of authority, my familiarity with the Fifth President of the Cagayan State University.
She now occupies the loftiest office to which any academic can aspire, but it was by no means an easy climb and certainly, no leisurely walk in the park. She has been put through the crucible that life’s tests can often be and, in her case, it was no timid flame but a blazing refiner’s fire that brought out the steel in her spirit without smothering its gentleness and compassion. She has been tested and found worthy and fit!
Her parents, Roberto Alvarado and Resurrecion Gaerlan, have since passed on, and she takes great pride in her children Terence, Teodore Veronico and William Jefferson. Recently, she told me how it tested her severely and sent her to the verge of tears when her apos bade her goodbye to be able to spend the New Year in Manila. There is much to be said in favor of a lola at the helm of a university of close to forty thousand students and close to a thousand tenured faculty members! For a job of that magnitude, you need nerves of steel, a mind capable of keen analysis and incisiveness, and the heart of a (grand)mother. Dr. Jaye has these all—fortunately for all of us at the Cagayan State University.
Her education gave her a mix of scientific acumen and managerial capabilities. She received her bachelor’s degree with a major in Agricultural Economics from the De La Salle–Araneta University in 1981. Her alma mater recognized her as “The Most Outstanding Alumnus in the Government Sector” in 2014. Her Master of Public Administration degree earned from the University of St. Louis Tuguegarao in 1986 prepared her for managerial and executive positions she was to occupy in government. And in 1993, she capped her schooling in science as a DoST Scholar with a Ph.D. in Agricultural Science, specializing in crop science. To this day, she talks about cross-breeding, genetic modification and hybrids when reviewing research projects of the university, with the familiarity of an expert.
“Empowerment”: this sums up her management credo as well as her life’s mission. She recently made the administrators of the university know that she was determined on empowering university officials so that things did not have to depend on orders and directives from the Office of the President. But this is how she has always been. She initiated “Harnessing Appropriate Technologies to Assist Women”—with the charming acronym “Hataw,” a project that has, to its credit, successful women entrepreneurs throughout the region. And when she sensed that coconut farming and all the economics that went with it were moribund in Sanchez Mira, the town of her childhood (to which she very often returns), and in nearby municipalities, she saw to the birthing a community-based coconut industry project that now covers all of twelve thousand hectares in twelve municipalities.
In 2002, she became a Career Executive Service Officer, and in June 2014 she was classified as CESO II. She became the President of the Cagayan Valley Association of Career Executives, another significant chapter in that volume of her life that has to do with leadership in government. And her sterling qualities did not go unnoticed in the very highest levels of society and of government. At Malacañan Palace, she was conferred the Gawad Career Executive Officer of 2010. At that time she had been Regional Director of the Department of Science and Technology for four years, a position she would hold for another five years—and it was then that she sat on the governing board of the Cagayan State University as regent. She rose to become an Assistant Secretary in the Department of Science and Technology.
She knows the unparalleled value of research—and she is only too familiar with what it takes to bring useful, high-level research to a felicitous conclusion. She has done research herself, and published scholarly articles in learned journals. It is this culture of research —aimed both at the expansion of the frontiers of understanding as well as the more pragmatic end of enhanced production—that she is trying so relentlessly to instill in the Cagayan State University. As I write this, she is presiding over a “write-shop” for Campus Executive Officers and their research coordinators so that the campuses may be able to produce research proposals that agencies will willingly, earnestly and generously fund.
I end on a more personal note. More than five years ago, I aspired for the presidency of the Cagayan State University. I had a dream for the university, a vision that I shared with my colleagues that I wanted brought to fruition. Jaye Tejada supported me, even when some powerful people were not too keen on casting their lot with me. Before she decided to apply for the presidency not too long ago when the search for a university president was on, she humbly asked me for my support, not that my support counts for much. I believe it was more an expression of esteem and regard. And when she was appointed by the Board of Regents to head the university as its Fifth President, she asked me to join her team—something I thought I was not minded to do again. But when you are invited by one whose life and record attest to generosity of heart, magnanimity of spirit and boldness of vision, it would be a damming statement of one’s own selfishness to refuse!