UNP President Erwin F. Cadorna and the UNP community condole with family and friends on the loss of Dr. Gilbert R. Arce, President, Ilocos Sur Polytechnic State College & Former President of UNP (2011-2019).

Dr. Arce was a strong supporter of higher education. The Ilocos Sur Polytechnic State College lost a great leader, and the University shares in the grief of losing a passionate man.

The University of Northern Philippines community mourns the untimely death on June 3, 2023 of its fifth president, Dr. Gilbert Riberal Arce. A staunch bastion of quality higher education in the province, Dr. Arce is not only a tenacious and visionary leader, but also a dear friend to many.

Gone too soon. Surely, he could have done more for others. Nonetheless, his life is one that is lived and shared well.

A true UNPian by heart, Dr. Arce completed his education, from elementary to doctorate in the University. His stint as a faculty member started right after earning his bachelor’s degree in English. He taught English language and literature in the different colleges of the University, as well as in the Master of Arts in Teaching English program. A respected and brilliant professor, he also taught Doctor of Education graduates. Needless to say, through his hands passed many successful individuals who’ve come to bear the qualities of exemplary UNP graduates.

He also served as Dean of the College of Fine Arts and of the Office of Student Affairs. A strong ally of the student body, he pushed for programs and projects which prioritized student welfare and well-being. Under his tutelage, he cared for and helped develop many student leaders and writers.

Most importantly, as University President for two terms, from 2011 to 2019, he ensured that, true to his vision, the University reach greater heights. He prioritized quality student learning through quality assurance, upholding of academic standards, and provision of conducive learning spaces through infrastructure projects. He intensified the accreditation of the degree programs, many of which have attained Level IV accreditation status. He also pushed for faculty development through study grants of the University and scholarship programs of the Commission on Higher Education. Research and extension have also been his priorities. His administration saw the increase of scholarly and extension work by the faculty. True enough, his magnanimity, strength of character, and exemplary leadership still—and will always—resonate on the lives of many of UNP’s students, faculty, and staff.

True enough, the UNP community is deeply saddened by his death and is still in shock. Their fond memories of him—and all he has done for them as a friend, ally, colleague, and family member—posted on social media testify his influence and contribution to their lives. All their stories about him, the way they speak of him, are intricately designed cloths woven of different hues and tones and interlaced with the great institution he has helped develop and propelled to greater heights, the University of Northern Philippines.

“I have told myself that up to the very end of this life that God lent me,” he once told in his acceptance speech as Bigueño of the Year in 2016, “I shall see to it that it serves as a message—of love, of learning, of hope, of inspiration, of reality, of kindness, of understanding, of endurance, of resilience, of faith, of change—to other people.”

You have exactly done the same, sir, with the very best of your ability. In our hearts, you will always be fondly remembered. And we will continue the legacy of excellence you have instilled to the UNP community.

Agyamankami, Sir Gilbert. Aginanakan iti sidong ti Apo.