When Roderick dela Cruz ’15 walked onstage in December 2014 to receive the Presidential Award from the Philippines, he almost had to pinch himself.
A senior engineer with Southern California Edison and an MBA student at the University of Redlands, dela Cruz said he “never dreamed” he would go inside the presidential palace, let alone receive an award from the president.
“Although I did not expect to win considering the many well-qualified nominees worldwide, finding out that I was selected was truly a great honor and very humbling experience,” he said. “It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and the most rewarding part of it was being able to honor my parents for their sacrifices.”
Dela Cruz was one of 33 people selected to receive the prestigious award and was nominated due to his accomplishments in dam safety. He often returns to the Philippines to teach safety tips and ways to prevent flooding.
“I believe that using the knowledge gained in school and work experiences in serving people is more rewarding than any monetary gains or recognition,” he said. “My life is a testament that each of us have an opportunity to change the world no matter what our status and situation in life.”