Pioneer sociologist and former UP OAR Director Fe L. Rodriguez-Arcinas passes away

Written by Jo. Florendo B. Lontoc

Prof. Fe Arcinas (seated, rightmost) as one of the pioneering instructors of the UP Diliman Department of Sociology and Social Welfare. Photo from Professor Belen Tan-Gatue Medina

The University of the Philippines (UP) sadly announces the passing of UP sociology professor and former Director of the UP Office of Alumni Relations (UP OAR), Professor Fe L. Rodriguez-Arcinas, on February 3, 2022.

Prof. Rodriguez-Arcinas was a pioneer Instructor of the UP Diliman Department of Sociology and Social Welfare, established in 1952. She undertook groundbreaking studies in the socio-economic structures of the urban poor, including those residing in the UP Diliman campus in the 1950s. She went on to become UP Professor of Sociology.

Prof. Rodriguez-Arcinas took charge of the UP Center for Integrative and Development Studies (CIDS) in 1988 as Executive Director.

One of her students, UP Vice President for Academic Affairs Cynthia Rose Bautista, recalls: “Professor Arcinas took any responsibility that fell on her lap very seriously, walked extra miles to carry them out, and persevered despite obstacles—whether it be leading the Philippine team in an international research project on labor contract migration, teaching her courses, or ensuring that the position of the department she led was understood by higher administration.”

UP Professor Emerita of Psychology Dr. Maria Cecilia Gastardo-Conaco, another former student, shared her recollections: “As starting UPD instructors in the mid-1970’s, I and my cohort perennially looked up to the senior faculty for role models and behavioral guidance. The Sociology Department, right beside the Psychology Department, was a convenient source of empowered, competent, and energetic female academic models to aspire for. Prof. Fe Arcinas was at the top of my list—knowledgeable without being arrogant, power exercised without the aggressiveness, hard work done without looking bedraggled. She was my ideal of grace and kindness in a stressful academic cooking pot, the soft touch that packed a punch. She also appeared to have achieved the precarious balance between the demands of work and family life, something I always struggled with. But seeing her successful equilibrium gave me hope. I have never been able to look as well put together as Mrs. Arcinas but I hope, to some extent, that I have been able to embody the kindness and generosity she always exuded in this competitive academic world of ours.”

Prof. Rodriguez-Arcinas was appointed Director of the Office of Alumni Relations (OAR) from 1989 to 1993. She beefed up its database and established the mailing list for the University’s publication for UP Alumni, the Carillon, and the OAR’s alumni directory. Those who worked under her in the OAR remember her as “strict but approachable, reasonable and fair.”