Roderick dela Cruz '15 received the honor of a lifetime in December when he was presented the Presidential Award from his homeland of the Philippines.
The MBA student said he "never dreamed" he would go inside of the presidential palace, let alone accept an award from the president. A senior engineer with Southern California Edison studying at the University of Redlands School of Business, Rancho Cucamonga campus, dela Cruz was one of 33 individuals selected to receive the prestigious award, which is given to Filipinos living overseas who make outstanding contributions to the world. He was nominated due to his accomplishments in dam safety.
When he learned he was going to be honored, dela Cruz said he "felt very blessed and more motivated to give back in the community. " He was also thrilled to share the moment with his family. "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 by being a part of it and witnessing the ceremony," he said.
He often returns to the Philippines to teach safety tips and ways to prevent flooding, and following the devastating flooding caused by Tropical Storm Ondoy and Typhoon Pepeng in 2009, dela Cruz went to his hometown of Hagonoy and helped with relief efforts. "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 has an opportunity to change the world no matter what our status and situation in life."
The University of Redlands was dela Cruz's first choice because of its Geographic Information Systems (GIS) program and partnership with Esri, and he is already using his new expertise in the field.
"I feel the University of Redlands is the leading institution that can help me develop skills, not only to achieve my goals, but to also provide networking opportunities as I continue to help developing programs that will promote sustainable growth and resilient communities in developing countries," he said.
Written by: Catherine Garcia