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Wash SyCip: More than Yoda

Laying of the cornerstone of AIM. (From left) Eugenio Lopez Sr., Stephen Fuller and Wash Sycip.  
MANILA, Philippines — Not only was he the founder of the SGV Group, but he was also one of the key proponents behind the Asian Institute of Management, which celebrates its 50th year in 2018.
 
In 1965, SyCip together with Phinma Group founder Ramon del Rosario Sr. and Harvard Business School’s Stephen Fuller signified their interest in establishing a full-time MBA Program for Asia, in the Philippines.
 
The following year, Ford Foundation gave a $1.2-million grant to Ateneo, La Salle and the Inter-University Consortium for the development of the MBA program. By 1968, SyCip had been elected chairman by the first board of governors.
 
He once recalled, “I was on a trip to Indonesia when they organized the board and it was one of those traditions where, if you were not there, you got assigned something to do. So when I came back, they said that I was elected the chairman. Again, I thought it was something good for the community and since our firm had been so deeply involved in the project, I agreed.
 
With his drive and dedication, Mr. SyCip convinced Ayala to donate 10,000 square meters of land and Eugenio Lopez to donate P6.5 million for the first building and dormitory.
 
After more than three decades, in 2002, AIM renamed its Graduate School of Business to honor Mr. SyCip’s passion for excellence. In 2007, he was elected as Chairman Emeritus.
 
Even in his later years, Mr. SyCip remained deeply involved in AIM’s ongoing transformation to bolster its role in an emerging ASEAN. He strongly supported its efforts to rebrand and expand program offerings for the next wave of business leaders, defending the push for a more dynamic Institute logo and identifying technology and innovation as the next big things in the world of business.
 
His passing is a great loss to the Institute and the country’s business community. His legacy, however, will live on at AIM and in the AIM alumni ― ethical and responsible business leaders who strive to live up to SyCip and AIM’s mission to lead, inspire, transform.
 
Dr. Jikyeong Kang, President and Dean of the Asian Institute of Management (AIM), said: "The passing of Mr. SyCip is a loss that will be felt deeply by those he left behind — particularly the Institute he helped to build. If there was ever a true advocate of education, it was Mr. SyCip. More than being a luminary in the business community, he embodied the image of the socially responsible leader who sought to make a positive impact in his community.
 
Fifty years ago, Mr. SyCip rallied the country’s leaders in academe and business to establish a management school that was relevant to the Asian region and internationally recognized. Mr. SyCip was one of the forward-thinking individuals who called for a more Asia-focused management education — and he is one of the reasons why there is an Asian Institute of Management today."
 
Peter Garrucho, OBE chairman of the AIM Board of Trustees, adds, "Mr. SyCip has changed the Philippine business landscape with his efforts to champion the Filipino talent. As the Chairman Emeritus of the Asian Institute of Management (AIM), Wash was a source of inspiration, pushing us to pursue greater heights for the institution and innovate to respond quickly to the emerging trends sweeping the region.
 
Wash mobilized his vast network and brought together business leaders from around the world to sit on the AIM Board of Governors, bringing their business expertise and passion for education. Not only has he given a significant amount of his resources to AIM, he has also been selfless with his time to provide guidance, and ensure that graduates learned not just sound business acumen, but also professional and personal integrity."
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