Caraga State University held its commencement exercise last May 30 with the theme “Breaking Barriers for Relevant Engagement.” Dr. Glenn B. Gregorio, a distinguished rice scientist, emphasized stepping up and stepping out in the students’ chosen fields.

Stepping up to University of the Philippines Los Baños and stepping out to the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) have been some of the biggest steps this Bukidnon-raised rice expert ever made. His research with IRRI on rice breeding for tolerance to saline-prone and other problem soils has brought him all over the country and the world. His expertise made him the crop breeding manager for corn of East-West Seed Company.

Dr. Gregorio believes that CSU equips its students with quality education in fields like agriculture, science education, engineering, and forestry. He also said that one does not necessarily have to step out of their local area to step up. For him, it is letting yourself reach beyond barriers to maximize your contribution to the local community, even to a global scale.

Today, Dr. Gregorio is the Director of the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), which he is grateful for because he gets to impart his influence globally while acting locally. SEARCA is an organization which aims to develop and promote agriculture and rural sustainability among countries in the Southeast Asian region.

Dr. Gregorio also mentioned that four of CSU’s faculties are SEARCA scholarship grantees and are of great service to the government, academe, private sector, and other premiere institutions. SEARCA also moves to bring the education standard of the Philippines to an international scale to address the changes and challenges that the country faces regarding labor market.

SEARCA shall help in boosting the leadership capacities of the academic faculties as well as continuing to improve its curriculum. Partnerships between the academe and government will be tightened, and also proficiency in the English language will be more prioritized, all according to Dr. Gregorio. He believes that this would help students of the universities to access high-quality development training that would help them equip skills for their future job tracks.

“Be the heroes we never were and live,” were Dr. Gregorio’s last words to the CSU batch 2019 with a hope for their bright future ahead.

This appeared in Agriculture Monthly’s July 2019 issue.