In the field of higher education in the Philippines, Dr. Mac Arthur M. Samson, Sr. is a class by himself. Dr. Samson, constant, self-effacing and one of the most courageous educators in the country today is certainly one man who could, with the qualities of mind and heart, immensely contribute in strengthening the fibers of higher education in the country. Indeed, numerous organizations working for the advancement of education in the region and the country, have at one time or another, greatly benefited from his experience and inspired leadership.
Born on May 3, 1942 in Calasiao, Pangasinan, the second of five children, the young Mac Arthur grew in an ambiance of having both parents as educators.
Naturally gifted, Mac Arthur was a consistent honor student during his elementary years at Luzon Colleges and moved on to obtain his secondary diploma at the University of the Philippines’ High School at Diliman, Quezon City in 1952.
True to form, growing in the mold of his parents who are at the time managing private school institutions in Dagupan City, Mac Arthur pursued the first dream of his father — to become an engineer. He took up Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering at Mapua Institute of Technology and graduated in 1966. A year later, he subsequently passed the licensure examinations for mechanical engineers with flying colors.
A dreamer and an incurable optimist like his father, Mac Arthur hied off to the United States of America in 1968 and worked in various engineering firms starting as a draftsman, plumbing designer, piping engineer, HVAC designer and eventually rose to become the Piping Section Head of one of the biggest engineering firms in New York City in 1977. His rise to a position of eminence is a shining tribute to his persistence, idealism and industry.
After a decade of success in New York, it dawned upon him that bigger responsibilities await him in the city of his birth. So, in 1978, he decided to return home to assist his father in his manifold duties as President of the Luzon Colleges in 1978 which was then already in full flowering as a recognized seat of higher learning in the Region. On the same year he was named to the position of Vice President for Planning and Development which he occupied from 1978 to 1980. In recognition of his strong work ethics, he was elevated to the position of Executive Vice President in 1980, a position he holds up to the present.
Indeed, it is providential that Dr. Mac Arthur Samson is the epitome of a father’s dream come true. As an educator, he is the President of the Association of Private Schools, Colleges and Universities (APSCU) for Pangasinan I & II including Dagupan City, from 1978 to the present and is the incumbent treasurer of APSCU Region 1. Dr. Samson is also a trustee of both the University of Luzon and the Mother Goose Special School System, Inc. He also sits in the Board of Directors of the Luzon Medical Center. He has actively and vigorously participated in various training conferences, seminars, workshops and fora for institutional development, educational development, voluntary accreditation, financing private schools and all seminars sponsored by the Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities Commission on Accreditation (PACUCOA), Fund for Assistance to Private Education (FAPE) and the Bureau of Higher Education of the DECS which is now known as the Commission on Higher Education.
One of the highlights of his career as an educator and as a humanitarian was during the year 1990 when a devastating earthquake of intensity 8 ruined the City of Dagupan and turned it into a big desolate area, levelling almost all buildings and houses to the ground. As President and Chancellor of Dagupan City Civilian Earthquake Reconstruction Fund Foundation he sent all the engineering students of Luzon Colleges as volunteers to assess the damages, both materially and physically on all of the City of Dagupan. Still in shock and fear, the people turned to Engr. Samson for help for food, money and material to rebuild their homes and eventually their lives. Engr. Samson, fondly called Macky by everyone close to him, toiled and walked with the people in the restoration of Dagupan City, sometimes sleeping for only 2-3 hours so that humanitarian services, medicines and food nutriments, construction materials and other human needs could be delivered without delay to the Dagupeños at the time of the disaster extending assistance for months and even years of rehabilitation.
Because of his civic, fraternal and educational orientation he even raised funds with his friends and tapped other sources, distributed livelihood assistance to the poor and needy of Dagupan City just so they can overcome and survive the calamity that beset the city. At a certain point in time he even rallied and encouraged all the businessmen of Dagupan City and Pangasinan to extend their helping hand to donate anything they can contribute to help the people even if local government was ready to abandon Dagupan City and transfer the city to another site. “We could have gone to court and sue the national government if they pushed through with their intention to transfer the people and Dagupan to another site”, Dr. Samson vividly remembered.
In March 2003, Engr. Samson was conferred a doctorate degree in humanities, honoris causa by the Lyceum Northwestern University. The Lyceum award cited him as an outstanding educational administrator who “has continuously provided educational assistance to the thousands of deserving youth in Dagupan City, Pangasinan province and other provinces in Region 1 in the form of academic scholarships, student assistantships, athletic scholarships and other academic grants for the poor and needy.” Yet characteristically, the only achievement Dr. Samson puts down when asked is having “helped hundreds (the number is certainly an understatement) of young people to find their places in society” which is becoming more and more complicated in this highly increasing and technologically driven globalized society.
As a government official, being a Director of the Dagupan City Water District since 1999 he has also initiated the laying of the underwater pipes supplying fresh and potable water to the island barangays and remote areas of Dagupan City and interceded with Speaker Jose de Venecia to fund the project. All his activities in both private and public life strongly manifest that he is a man of God, an indefatigable civic leader and public servant.
Dr. Samson is happily married to the former Gertrudes Aquino Cuison also of Dagupan City with whom he has four children, namely: Feluis Robert, Lanelle Judith, Mac Arthur Jr., and Justine Frances who are all successful professionals in their own right.