Shepherding a New Era, Assumption College
Selects Its First Lay President
By Ana V Lim
July 12, 2016
It should come as no surprise,
given the major global shifts today,
that Assumption College
would follow suit.
Assumption College selects
their first lay leader,
who as it turns out, is only part-lay,
because she spent many years
as a religious sister
14 years as Mother Jude Mary, R.A.
This August 03
Dr. Carmen Lourdes Valdés, also known as Pinky, as President. Educator, artist, formator, visionary. One might ask, “Why now, why Pinky?”
Mother Jude Mary, daughter of British-Visayan Ruby Baugh, and Manila-Pampanga mestizo, Chino Valdés, she is one of eight Assumptionista sisters, and one brother.
Pinky, is a poet, composer, creative formative educator, leader, and visionary. Born in Manila of a British-Visayan mother, Ruby Baugh, and a Manila-Pampanga mestizo, Chino Valdés, she is one of eight Assumptionista sisters, and one La Salle brother. Pinky studied in Assumption Herran, Manila where she grew up as a naughty irrepressible child (her own words). In adolescence, she had a keen interest in spirituality, teaching, music and drama. At 18 she joined the Religious of the Assumption. She spent her early years as a novice, in Ravenhill, the Assumption school in Philadelphia, where Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco, also studied. Pinky studied piano, guitar, and Gregorian chant. She learnt the most about music from, Sr. Cecilia Hervas, R.A. She was educated in the Montessori system in Philadelphia by an English nun, Sr. Isabel. She returned to Assumption College, Herran and San Lorenzo where she taught, formed the Religious Education Team, Headed Student Affairs and became Principal of the High School until 1976. She continued her love of music and poetry, and was known as the singing nun. Her students describe her as a magnetic beautiful person with a dynamic personality. She spent 14 years as a Sister of the Religious of the Assumption.
At the age of 33, she embarked on a new life, working for Bancom under Sixto Roxas
who seconded her to CCP as General Manager of Ballet Philippines working with National Artist, Alice Reyes, and was Marketing Manager of CCP. After finishing her Masters in Educational Management she was hired as Executive Assistant to Don Enrique Zobel for Ayala International then moved as Director of Greenbelt Mall and Marketing Manager of Makati Commercial Center under Don Jaime Zobel de Ayala. Pinky moved to California becoming Vice President of Eastridge, San Francisco, a recruiting firm. While finishing her Masters’ Degree in Theology from University of San Francisco, she worked as Recruiting Director of the GAP and later was hired as Vice President of Human Resources at Metro San Francisco, a Steelcase plant (IDEO is a subsidiary of Steelcase). Concurrently she pursued her doctorate in Spirituality from the Graduate Theological Union of UC Berkeley, California. Pinky returned to Manila in 2007, where she assumed the position of DEAN of MESIL (Assumption College’s Marie Eugenie School of Innovative Learning) overseeing General Education, Communication, Education, and Psychology Departments. Under her Deanship, the Psychology Department was reinstated, students thrived, by winning places in, for example, PANA (Philippine Association of National Advertisers). Simultaneously Pinky served as Creative Director of Metta, The Marie Eugenie Theater of the Assumption, composing songs for the Canonization in Rome and the Bicentennial, and guiding Metta to use theater as transformative education. In 2007 Pinky led the canonization celebration in the Vatican, composing the music and planning the coordination and logistics of a 6,000 member audience at the Sala Nervi (the hall where the Pope receives his visitors).
She never left her desire to grow students in the field of Spirituality thus she was an adjunct professor at the Loyola School of Theology (LST) that awarded her a Loyola School of Theology PROFESSORIAL CHAIR. After stepping down as Dean of MESIL, Pinky continued to serve as professor at LST under the President, Fr. Jose Quilong Quilong SJ and took on Theology courses in the College of Ateneo de Manila University. At the same time she served as Creative Director and marketing manager of Metta, and began a program of formation with parents called Anam Cara (Celtic: friend of the soul). She worked with Joe Mari Chan on the Multi-Platinum Award albums “Christmas in My Heart” and “Going Home to Christmas” where she was a lyricist for several songs. She has published 3 CD’s of her own music: “Sandalwood,” “Sandalwood Seasons” and “I See the Dawn” and has also composed numerous songs for Assumption College: “Boat of Many Colors,” “Earth Is A Place of God’s Glory,” “My Friend,” “Miracles,” and more. As photographer, she celebrated her own exhibit in 2015, with all proceeds going to Assumption advocacies. Pinky is completing her book on women leaders with the publisher Anvil of National Bookstore. She has received “BRAVO EMPOWERED WOMEN FOR EDUCATION in recognition of her unwavering commitment to leadership and service”, First to be awarded – June 2015. She also received “SPEAKER OF THE YEAR AWARD,” Rotary Club International, Makati and “INTERNATIONAL ST. MARIE EUGENIE AWARD” (one of two) granted in Sala Nervi, Rome. Pinky is spearheading the new “Center For Women Leaders”, a women’s center focused on continuing education for women. Her thrust in academics is customized and personalized learning in all areas from 21st Century Entrepreneurial Programs to Art and Ecology, seeing women as the engine for an Axial Age that is on its thresh hold in the Philippines and globally.
As the first lay President of Assumption College, San Lorenzo, Pinky embarks as captain of a ship, traversing new territory. She is a symbol of a new era of Assumption One-ness, spiritual partnerships of lay and religious, expressing a new awareness of life as One. With Pinky, we can expect adaptive leadership, innovation, quality education, and care for people. In her own words, “What has never changed in my life is my lived experience and passion, no matter where my journey has led me, from delving into the spiritual life especially the mystical life... to my thirst for God and my desire to reach out to others hoping to point the way to the wonderful awareness, to experience God and our oneness. That is where everything finally makes sense.”
She was educated in music and the Montessori Method in Ravenhill, Philadelphia, and returned to Assumption Herran and San Lorenzo where she was Principal in 1976.
The selection should not surprise us then, that at the helm of Assumption College today we find “Mother Jude Mary,” also Pinky, and Dr. Carmen Valdés. A once naughty irrepressible Assumption student who has metamorphosed like a butterfly, to usher a new era of sisterhood, one combining both lay and religious together, partnering for the highest good of all Assumption. Who could bridge this better, than one who has lived all the lives – Mother Jude Mary, Pinky, Dr. Carmen Lourdes Valdés.