Dr. Alran Bengzon was the most unlikely appointee to be Dean of a Business School. He is a Doctor of Medicine, a neurologists at that. He just finished his stint as Secretary of Health but has never really been an educator nor a businessman. There were those in the main university who had their druthers, not only about the man but also about the institution itself. And it turned out he was cut out for such problematic situations. He built on what was perceived as the weakness of the school and transformed it into the leading business school in the country, moving the campus from a cramped location in the heart of the Makati Business District into a spanking and modern new site and facilities at the elite, original Rockwell Business Center.
We were, I am not ashamed to declare it, his minions. Every Tuesday afternoon, he would hold court at the Board room and paint for us his dreams and vision for the Business School. It would always be a heady flight of fancy, full of what seemed to be impossible dreams, with hardly any resources but our guts and grit, driven blind by the mesmerizing vision before us. And by golly, we did it! We accomplished what he said we sould do and could do. We achieved what to others were but quixotic dreams. We built a world-class business school for workplace-based and experienced-driven adult students run, managed, and operated by hard-nosed and battle-hardened veterans from the trenches.
Those were exhilarating days; and like all good things, they had to come to an end. I left to pursue my own dreams; but I never really lost touch with the team. We would meet every now and then. But for many years, I did not see the good doctor. I heard of the challenges he had had to face in recent times; but never really got around to talking to him. Till yesterday. One of the minions, the main one, organized a get-together. And it was like Tuesdays again with Alran, although it was a Thursday.
I am happy that the man still has his dreams. He is still driven by his values and principles. There is still a passion burning within him in spite of what he has been through. And it seemed to me, he is a much stronger person, a more beautiful soul and much fuller human being than I last remember of him. He still speaks with sapientia et eloquentia. We were hanging on to every word he said, we hardly noticed the passing of time until it was time for the fancy restaurant we were in to close.