One of DLSU’s newest buildings, the John Gokongwei, Jr. Innovation Center, had its formal launch last January 11 at the DLSU Laguna Campus. The new four-storey building is presently the home of Ubisoft Philippines, which partnered with the University in 2016 and has since offered degree programs in game development exclusive to the campus.
With the support of the Gokongwei Brothers Foundation (GBF), the building is part of the partnership’s thrust in further developing science and technology education in the Philippines.
The new building
In his opening remarks, DLSU Chancellor Br. Bernard Oca FSC shared that the establishment of the innovation center was part of the University’s push to make the campus a hub for research in the ASEAN region, and that new building will serve as a training ground for local talents.
GBF General Manager Lisa Gokongwei-Cheng, speaking on behalf of the Gokongwei family, stated that the building “is poised to become the home of leaders in the growing game development industry in Asia.” This, she added, was because of her firm belief that the education students would receive from the innovation center would arm them with the needed skills to become leaders of future industries.
In terms of planning for the building, Grace Colet, Executive Director of GBF, explained in an interview with The LaSallian that its construction was already in the works since the partnership first began in 2011, but added that they were not directly involved in the decision of creating an innovation center.
She also commented on the choice of having it put up in Laguna, believing that it was an ideal location for the development of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) courses. She also added that DLSU’s arrangement with Ubisoft Philippines complemented the goal of the innovation center.
“I think it’s a very good model where you have a company that is really integrated into the curriculum development, the on-the-job training, and even up to the employment. And they’re not just any partner, they’re a world-class partner, so I think they fit the innovation center thrust,” Colet elaborated.
Success through the partnership
Apart from launching the innovation center, the event also served as a celebration of the strong alliance between DLSU and GBF. The parties first entered into the partnership in 2011, officially renaming the then College of Engineering after the reputable business tycoon. A donation of P250 million was given to DLSU and was used to fund the Gokongwei Grant, providing educational opportunities to its numerous recipients since 2012.
Apart from scholarships, the support received was intended to be used as a means to bolster efforts in developing faculty, facilities, and research, with the innovation center being a part of these initiatives.
Oca highlighted the milestones the University made in recent years through the Gokongwei College of Engineering (GCOE), born from the support provided by GBF. Chief among them is DLSU’s entrance in the 2019 Times Higher Education World University Rankings for engineering and technology, placing in the 501-600 bracket.
Gokongwei-Cheng commended the GCOE for its status as a center of excellence for engineering education and how the college has supported the endeavors of students and faculty in the past few years.
Colet stated that the foundation was pleased with the results of the University’s efforts in promoting scholarships, citing that the recipients of the Gokongwei Grant have produced the most honor graduates among the foundation’s multiple scholarship offerings.
Gokongwei-Cheng stressed the importance they place in providing access to education, which they believe is a key to attaining success. “We work toward levelling the playing field by providing education opportunities to our fellow Filipinos who may not have access to these otherwise. We are committed to advancing education, believing that this is the driving force to attain sustainable national development,” she explained.
When asked about future plans, Colet revealed that the foundation is currently setting its sights on supporting research and development for the faculty, citing Teachers’ Research Month as one of the activities they are supporting. “We believe that research is such a fundamental component of really growing our science and technology education, and we were all very glad to note on the successes that GCOE shared with regards to research and development,” she concluded.