Luis Maria R. Calingo (PhD ’84, MBA ’81) was sworn in as the ninth president of Holy Angel University (HAU) in February 2016. Founded in 1933, HAU is the largest private Roman Catholic university in the central region of Luzon Island, Philippines.
“What I enjoy most about being president of Holy Angel University is the opportunity to give back to the country of my birth in a much more significant and meaningful way than by doing the annual volunteer service I had done since 1995,” Calingo says.
Many HAU students are from disadvantaged rural populations and are the first in their families to go to college.
“By providing them access to quality education, yet preserving their Catholic heritage, we become authentic instruments for poverty alleviation and countryside development. HAU is already one of the top 10 private universities in the country in terms of graduates’ performance, and my challenge is to keep it there and improve on its position,” Calingo says.
Prior to HAU, Calingo held numerous leadership positions in public and private education institutions in the United States, including the Woodbury University, where he served as president; the Dominican University of California, where he was dean of the business school, chief academic officer, and executive vice president; and California State University at Long Beach, where he served as business school dean.
Calingo recently won the prestigious Juran Medal, which honors individuals who exhibit distinguished performance in a sustained role as an organizational Leader by personally practicing the key principles of quality and demonstrating breakthrough management. He was cited for his work in developing and implementing the Philippine Quality Award based on the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, where he has been an examiner since 1997. The Baldrige Award was established by the U.S. Congress in 1987 to raise awareness of quality management and recognize U.S. manufacturing, service, small business, education, healthcare, or nonprofit companies that have implemented successful quality management systems.
“I am proud to say that in 2012 I helped break the bamboo ceiling for Filipino-Americans by becoming the first Filipino-American University President when I accepted my position at Woodbury University after a national search,” Calingo says.
Calingo also became the first Filipino-American dean of an AASCB-accredited business school in the United States at California State University at Fresno.
He began his academic career as a professor of business strategy and policy at California State University at Fresno in 1983. Yet he was not planning on an academic career when he first enrolled at Katz as an MBA student.
“I was exposed to the best professors when I started as an MBA student. During my doctoral studies, my professors’ commitment to the scholarship of discovery and application was quite contagious,” Calingo says.
As a graduate student, Calingo was the research assistant to Tom Saaty, distinguished university professor of business analytics and operations; John Camillus, Donald R. Beall Professor of strategic management; and the late Robert Perloff, distinguished service professor.
Calingo worked with Saaty to explore whether the Analytic Hierarchy Process could be used to predict NFL football scores.
“Being an international student at the time, I had no prior knowledge of American football. There was a steep learning curve,” Calingo says. “There was no Expert Choice software at that time, so I had to write programming language to calculate eigenvalues and enter my updated data using the data cards and the keypunch machine located in the Forbes Quadrangle, which is now Posvar Hall.”
Calingo predicted the Washington Redskins would advance to the Super Bowl in 1990, but the team advanced to the Super Bowl and won the following season.
“Right prediction, wrong year,” Calingo says.
Ultimately, Calingo decided to pursue an academic career in a predominantly teaching institution that also values applied scholarship.
“The teaching methods of many Katz professors have found their way in my courses,” Calingo says.
The legacy continues in his new positon as president of HAU.