A BRIEF HISTORY OF NORTHERN CHRISTIAN COLLEGE

 

Since 1946, an institution of higher learning in Northern Luzon has been unselfishly dedicating itself to Christ-centered development not only among the youth that come to be educated but also among the hordes of believers hungry for spiritual nurturing and enlightenment. This is the Northern Christian College (NCC) with its unique mission of turning out professionals steeped in moral and spiritual values and ministers who are dedicated to and focused on their faith and ministry.

After the liberation of the Philippines in 1945, a group of evangelical leaders in Ilocos Norte thought of putting up a college offering both religious and secular courses. The plan, upon presentation to the Convention of the Churches of Christ of Northern Luzon in 1946, was met with great enthusiasm and came into being on March 14, 1946. On July 8, 1946, Northern Christian College opened its doors to the youth of Northern Luzon.

On August 19, 1946, the College was incorporated under the laws of the Philippines as a cooperative through the efforts of Rev. Silvestre Morales, Dr. Juan F. Santos and Atty. Evaristo Tagatac with the following members of the Board of Trustees: Bishop CecilioLOrenzana as chairman; Rev. Pablo Bringas, vice chairman; Atty. Evaristo Tagatac, secretary; and Mrs. Manuela R. Ablan and Mr. Cesrio Paguyo, members. The first administrators were: Dr. Juan F. Santos, president; Rev. Silvestre Morales, vice president; and Atty. Alfredo Batuyong, registrar-treasurer.

Offered during its first year of operation were the first-year preparatory courses in Law, Medicine, Nursing, Business and Commerce, Education, Engineering, Junior Normal, General Course, and the Ministry, all recognized by the government and with emphasis on Christian character. The graduate course leading to the degree of Master of Arts in Education was granted government recognition on July 3, 1967; Master in Public Administration on March 14, 1997; and Doctor of Education on August 12, 1994. Through the initiative of Prof. Adela N. Agnir, the College of Theology started to offer the Master of Theology degree in 2004. 

Dr. Juan F. Santos was NCC’s first president and served in this position for 32 years. For ten years under his leadership , the College operated as a cooperative  until 1956 when it became a non-stock, non-profit corporation, and a church-related  educational institution.

Dr. Filemon Lagon was installed as the second president on July 16, 1978. Under his leadership, the College acquired accredited status in the Liberal Arts, Commerce, and Teacher Education. An institutional development program was undertaken with the support of the Fund for Assistance to Private Education (FAPE), the Association of Christian Schools and Colleges (ACSC), the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia (UBCHEA), and Evangelisce Zentralstelle fur Entwicklungshilfe (EZE).

The third president, Dr.  Rueben Batoon was installed on September 26, 1987. The College pursued continuing accreditation of its curricular programs with the objective of having all the colleges, including the laboratory high school and elementary, achieve accredited status.

      The fourth president, Dr. Faustino Quiocho, who was elected in a special meeting  of the Board of Trustees, took over on June 1, 1992. His administration made quality education as its cornerstone. 

        In 1995, the NCC’s Board of Trustees invited Dr. Caesar I. Agnir, a retired top-rate corporate manager, to become president, veering away its established tradition of getting a professional educator or a minister to head the institution. He assumed office on September 27, 1995 to become the College’s fifth president. President Agnir revitalized the College financially, rescuing it from severe financial distress. Inheriting an accumulated loss of nearly Php 6 million, a depreciation account deficiency of nearly Php 7million  and  a bank loan of almost Php 1 million, he retired the loan in three months and erased the accumulated losses and depreciation account deficiency in three years and three months, with a combination of astute business sense, judicious resource  management, resolute will, and the firm belief that God had placed him in NCC for this purpose.  From then on, NCC has enjoyed unprecedented financial prosperity. 

Under Dr. Agnir’s leadership, NCC has so deployed  millions for capital expenditures, including massive renovations on the Adamson Hall; the Founders Hall (in the latter, a mini hotel with an air-conditioned room was built for the practicum use of hotel and restaurant management students); the construction of new buildings such as the new fully air-conditioned media center and the cafeteria; extension of the auditorium to twice its original size; and the addition of 12 new classrooms, two atop the media center and ten atop the auditorium extension. The open EZE building roof deck was also extensively rebuilt  into a multi-purpose hall, complete with a sturdy roof and protective side meshing, thus virtually converting it into a fifth floor.

Other major constructions under President Agnir’s leadership are:

  • The five-storey Science and Technology building to house the Science and Speech laboratories;
  • The multi-purpose covered court and the ecumenical chapel;
  • renovations of the former Science building, the second floor of which serves as the President’s Quarters and the third floor  developed into a penthouse  with three guestrooms  and a kitchen-dining area , and a spacious multi-purpose al fresco function area;
  • the improvement of the second floor of the EZE building which now serves as the offices of the College of Theology, College of Nursing, Office of Student Affairs, Office of Guidance and Counselling, and the Quality Assurance Office;
  • the fourth floor as a fully-equipped hospital simulation which has all the departments and facilities such as an emergency room, an operating room, a recovery room, a scrub room, a delivery room, a labor room, and a nursery room as well as obstetrics, surgical, medical, pediatric, and orthopedic wards and an isolation room for the College of Nursing. All these make the NCC College of Nursing arguably one of the country’s state-of-the-art colleges of nursing.

In addition to building improvements, school facilities such as laboratories and the College library have also been extensively improved and equipped, the most notable of these being the Computer Laboratory (with a new flooring, new air-conditioners, and new computer units) in the EZE building and an internet room with 26 units wired to the internet for the exclusive use of the students.

With NCC’s newfound financial stability, all internally-generated and with no external fund grants or real-estate loans, NCC has raised salary scales and academic standards. In 1999, the Laboratory High School, renamed Basic Education School, qualified for Level II accreditation. The College of Nursing and the Graduate School followed a year later, also at Level II bringing the total number of accredited programs to six and making NCC the most accredited private school in Ilocos Norte, with the only accredited high school program in the province. Faculty members at all levels who are enrolled for Masters or Doctoral studies at NCC enjoy full scholarship- a 100% discount. They also enjoy generous scholarship assistance if they pursue their graduate education elsewhere in courses not offered by NCC. In addition, children of NCC employees studying in NCC are granted 50% tuition-fee discount.

President Agnir was then voted President-for-Life by the Board of Trustees (BoT).  Twenty years after he assumed the presidency, however, Dr. Agnir requested the BoT to consider electing a new president, citing declining health and the desire to write his memoirs.  In an unprecedented move, upon the insistence of Dr. Agnir, the BoT held a "blind" evaluation (i.e., all names were erased from the submitted documents) of submitted resumes for consideration. The reason for Dr. Agnir's insistence upon such a "blind" evaluation became clear when, after the BOT had chosen a candidate and had voted unanimously for said candidate to take over as president, it was revealed that the wining candidate was Dr. Lucris Carina Agnir-Paraan.

In December 2015, Dr. Lucris Carina Agnir-Paraan was elected by the BoT to take over as the sixth president following a four-year term as Vice President of Academic Affairs beginning July 2016, as soon as her retirement from her post in Manila took effect. Dr. Agnir-Paraan holds a PhD from the University of the Philippines (UP) in Diliman, an M.A. in Language and Literature from the UP-Baguio, and a B.A. in Philosophy from UP-Diliman. In 2019, the BoT promoted Dr. Agnir-Paraan to the position of Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.

On July 31, 2020, Dr. Agnir-Paraan was installed as President in simple ceremonies befitting the times, since the CoviD-19 pandemic made large gatherings and inter-region travel inadvisable.  In the BoT's announcement of her installation, the Board cited her "very impressive academic credentials, her experience of more than three decades holding various positions as faculty member and administrator in top schools in Metro Manila, and her track record as a researcher (having been awarded the "Pinakamahusay na Disertasyon sa Antas Gradwado " upon receiving her PhD from UP, among other research-related achievements) and sought-after speaker here and abroad" as the reason that she was "the unanimous choice of the Board of Trustees for NCC President, in the process blanking a number of other candidates with impressive credentials as well". 

Dr. Agnir-Paraan continues to be very much in demand in academia, with three other higher-education institutions offering her positions of top leadership. However, she chose Northern Christian College for its combination of high ethical and academic standards.  As a devout evangelical Christian, she is eager to exercise servant-leadership in a community that is steeped in Christian values, to ensure a continued legacy of producing  students and employees who are not merely intellectually competent, productive, and contributing members of society, but who are also Nurtured in Christ, Centered in Christ, and Commissioned in Christ.