In his eight years of shared stewardship of the great institution, he mentioned in his address the accomplishments as well as the promises he made in his previous speeches. He enumerated the different accomplishments his administration has done for eight years. He even asked the students and the faculty and staff if they could remember those promises. He jokingly said, “I myself could hardly remember.”
Now looking back, in an exclusive interview with Sir Joe, the man behind the desk for eight years, he confesses of what it was like to be a president. He said that VSU has grown a lot in the past eight years.
In his speech, he recalled and evaluated the university whether it has propelled to greater heights from 2007- when his stewardship began, to 2015- when his stewardship ended. Base on the facts and figures Dr. Bacusmo presented, the university has experienced progress in different areas, such as: increased enrollment, improvement of branch campuses, more infrastructures, increased number of scholarship grants, increased annual government appropriation, acquisition of a number of academic positions, awards received each year and many others to count.
“But all of the accomplishments and improvements were because of the people, faculty, staff and students. All of them helped achieve all of these,” Sir Joe said. He wished to thank the people who gave their support during his term, those who contributed the improvements in VSU.
It was also Sir Joe's term that there were emerging complaints in the offices for serving without smiling or showing grumpy faces. And so, the term “Service with a smile” was born. “We should serve with a smile because our students are our primary customers. So we should serve our customers with a smile,” Sir Joe explained. Indeed, it was effective.
When asked about the most difficult decision he has made as a president he answered, “For the decisions, it was a joyful ride. There was no difficult decision for me.” There may be oppositions during his administration but he saw it as beneficial for it made them more careful in their moves.
It was also noted that some were emotional in his last Convocation Address. He never meant and expected it to be that way. “I am not leaving the university. For me, presidency is just another assignment that I worked for. There's not much sadness in my heart to leave this position. This is just the position as a chief steward, still I will be a steward of the university,” Sir Joe said.
Based on Sir Joe's statement, he must have loved VSU. Indeed he is in love with VSU. What he is right now, he owes it to VSU, his beloved alma matter- the institution who gave him opportunities to succeed in life, in his career. He also owes his leadership to the previous administrations whose lessons became his guide in governing VSU.
Eight years of shared stewardship is quite long and what things will Sir Joe be missing?
“The power to sing in front of the students,” Sir Joe happily answered. “I probably be reminiscing the happy moments I had. Meeting a lot of students. I had more interaction, I am very happy being a chief steward because I learned how to appreciate what people do. I've met a lot of people from other universities. I enjoyed working with people, teamwork, and support of everyone- the community, local government unit,” he added.
He may have missed being the big man behind the desk, but he also declares that stepping down is part of the leadership too. For Dr. Jose L. Bacusmo, leaving his presidency is not more of a farewell thing. In his last words he said, “So don't say goodbye for I will still be here, instead say, welcome back Joe to where you belong!”