Written by Celeste Ann Castillo Llaneta
The University of the Philippines (UP) community mourns the passing of pioneering Business Administration faculty member and 14th UP President, Dr. Emanuel Valdez Soriano, who passed away in the morning of April 22, 2023, according to a Facebook post by Ms. Rinna Soriano, his daughter. He was 87 years old.
Dr. Emanuel V. Soriano, fondly called “Noel” or “Bob” by friends and colleagues, served as UP President from 1979 to 1981, succeeding Dr. Onofre D. Corpuz. President Edgardo J. Angara, in turn, succeeded President Soriano.
Born on December 30, 1936, Soriano earned his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 1959 and his Master’s degree in Industrial Management in 1962, both from the University of the Philippines. As a college student, he was active in student affairs, serving as vice president and acting president of the University Student Council under the UPSCA Party in 1957-1958 and 1958-1959, respectively.
Soriano went on to earn his Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) degree from Harvard Business School. He was among the first group of Filipino faculty members to be sent to the United States for advanced studies in business during the term of UP CBA Dean Cesar E.A. Virata. The group included former deans of the UP CBA Jaime C. Laya, Magdaleno B. Albarracin, Jr., and Rafael A. Rodriguez.
Soriano served as director of the UP Graduate School-Cebu, and as Executive Vice President during the term of UP President Onofre Corpuz. In September 1979, he took over the UP Presidency when Corpuz was appointed Education Minister by President Ferdinand Marcos. He is one of only two UP Presidents who are engineers, with the other being the 8th UP President, Dr. Vidal Tan. During the succeeding terms of Corpuz and Soriano, the Institute of Agricultural Engineering and Technology, the Transport Training Center, the National Institute of Biotechnology and Microbiology, and the Third World Studies Program were established at UP.
Once a supporter of President Marcos, Soriano became one of the opposition leaders from 1983 to 1986. He swore in the members of the restored University Student Council in 1980 after Marcos abolished it in 1973. On September 5, 1983, he published an open letter in the Business Day newspaper, calling for Marcos’ resignation in the wake of the assassination of opposition leader Benigno Aquino, Jr. He was an active member of the Convenors Group that helped pave the way for the selection of Cory Aquino as the opposition candidate against Marcos in the 1985–1986 Snap Elections and went on to serve as the National Security Adviser to President Corazon Aquino from 1987 to 1989. He also served as a faculty member of the Asian Institute of Management until 1996.
He published numerous books and papers on business policy and management in Asia, including The Big Powers in South East Asia in the 1990s: Their Interest and Roles, published by the Kuala Lumpur Institute of Strategic and International Studies in 1989. He remained in active service to the University he loved well after his term as UP President. He was recognized by the UP College of Engineering, his Alma Mater, and the UP Alumni Engineers as one of the 100 Outstanding Alumni Engineers.
Details on the wake and the University’s tribute to its 14th President to follow.