UPLB alumni among the 2014 UPAA Distinguished Alumni Awardees
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The UPAA honored UP’s outstanding alumni achievers as the UPAA Distinguished Alumni Awardees at the 2014 UP Grand Alumni-Faculty Homecoming and Reunion, on June 21, which also marked the association’s 101st foundation year — with the theme Bagong Tagsibol (“a new spring”).

UPLB recipients:

Distinguished Alumna – Educational Innovation

Dr. Mariechel Jamias-Navarro (BS ’77; MS ’83; PhD ’92)

Dr. Navarro is among the few Filipinos who have greatly contributed to the understanding of crop biotechnology and the role of science communication in the context of biotechnology. Her awards include one from her peers in the field of developmental communication, Outstanding Alumna Award from the College of Development Communications of UPLB (2006).

The outputs of crop biotechnology communication projects initiated by Dr. Navarro are embodied in award-winning publications that she authored and co-authored, as well as in her lectures. These illustrate her significant contribution to science communication and have been instrumental in developing biotechnology education innovations locally and globally.

She started biotech communication work when very few individuals and institutions were into this field. Currently, the field has expanded and involvement has increased particularly with the establishment (with Dr. Navarro as one of the crafters) of ISAM’s information network, the Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe. The weekly e-newsletter Crop Biotech Update that was initiated by Dr. Navarro (as writer and editor) and has a current subscriber list of over a million worldwide, is used by teachers, researchers and students for free to obtain crop biotechnology information and updates.

As one of the few science communicators recognized in both the Philippines and abroad, Dr. Navarro has contributed significantly to biotechnology education and the promotion of science communication in enabling people to make informed decisions about products of modern agricultural technology.

Distinguished Alumnus – Entrepreneurship and Employment Creation

Mr. Nazario “Naz” S. Racoma (BSA ’68; MBA ’72)

Mr. Racoma is chairman of the board of two growth-oriented and import-substituting firms that cater to institutional clients; the Traffic Supplies and Construction Corporation (TSSC) and Roadmakers International, the multi-million companies he formed with a Filipino and a Japanese partner to pioneer in the manufacture and application of thermoplastic paints that used to be bought from abroad. TSSC began in 1993 with a capital of P600,000; the company’s net worth today is P100 million. It is currently upgrading its construction license to enable them to get projects of up to P200 million.

Roadmakers began manufacturing thermoplastic road paints in 2009 to replace imported materials, generating local employment and saving on foreign exchange. He is currently the President’s consultant on housing for the UP System.

After obtaining his MBA, Naz joined Planters Products Inc. in 1972. He was responsible for the company’s acquisition plans, product and market entry opportunities, and special projects such as the corporate farming and employees housing program in Limay, Bataan.

In 1978 he worked on managerial jobs with the C u Unjeng group of companies in Saudi Arabia, Spain and U.S. He returned in 1990 to join the Philippine National Construction Corporation (PNCC) where he managed two subsidiaries: Tierra Factors and Traffic Control Products Corp.

In 1995, Mr. Racoma was appointed as assistant manager of the National Housing Authority. He initiated innovative projects including the construction of five-storey residential condominiums for low-income families and government employees on rent or lease-purchase basis; the development of a 750-hectare squatter resettlement project in Antipolo City, and the 125-hectare Kamahardlikaan Village in Indanan Sulu for MNLF rebel returnees. As acting general manager of the NHA, he was a signatory of the 75-year lease of the NHA North Triangle property with DOTC which transformed the area into the Central Station of MRT and the Ayala Trinoma Mall.

Distinguished Alumnus – Environmental Conservation and Sustainable Development

Dr. William S. Gruezo (ROTC ‘72; BSF ’72; MS ’79)

Dr. Gruezo’s scientific accomplishments for more than 40 years have immensely advanced the environmental and natural resources conservation efforts of the Philippines. He is an accomplished taxonomist, scientist and University Professor who has produced several scientific and technical publications, including books, book chapters and journal articles on floral diversity. One of the books and 20 ISI journals articles have been given International Publication Awards by the UP system.

In recognition of his contributions in taxonomy, several new species of gymnosperm, mites and spider have been named after Dr. Gruezo. The Numerous biological collections he obtained during field studies here and abroad have been studied by other systematists and used as type materials of new genera and new species. He was commissioned by the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) to update the works of the late Prof. Juan Pancho on the plants of Mount Makiling resulting in the publication of two books by NAST-DOST.

Dr. Gruezo was involved in three internationally funded biodiversity programmes which are instrumental in determining the current conservation status of many endemic and indigenous plants of the Philippines. With the DENR, he has helped draw up a list of threatened plants and economically important plants as the backbone of a nationwide plant conservation and food security program.

The numerous biodiversity and environmental impact assessment studies of Dr. Gruezo are significant scientific contributions to the search for immediate solutions to biodiversity loss, food supply shortage and problems of global climate change.

Dr. Gruezo is multi awarded. The most recent significant recognition was the 2009 UPLB Outstanding Researcher Award and the UPLB Outstanding Alumnus Award (Natural Resources Conservation).

Distinguished Service Award

Dr. Mimosa Cortez-Ocampo (BSHT ’67; MS ’76)

For about two decades, Dr. Mimosa Cortez-Ocampo has championed the ideals of alumni service, not only in the five colleges she served (Agriculture, Economics and Management, Human Ecology and Public Affairs), but more importantly, to UPLB and the UP System.

She has the distinction of serving and representing at least four UPLB Chancellors during her active engagement in the alumni office: Dr. Emil Q. Javier, Dr. Ruben L. Villareal, Dr. Luis Rey I. Velasco and Dr. Rex Victor O. Cruz. Likewise, she served as executive secretary to four UPLBAA presidents, namely: Hon. Nelia T. Gonzalez, Magsaysay awardee Romulo Davide, Pres. Leodegario Ilag and Pres. Roperos.

As Alumni Director, she ably represented the Chancellor during the Execom meetings with the UPLBAA Board; she kept the communication between the UPLB administration and the UPLBAA Execom open and sincere, enabling both parties to implement projects all for the best interest of the University and thousands of UPLB alumni.

She established effective linkages and networks among alumni and alumni associations, both in the Philippines and in other countries –USA, Canada, Cambodia, Taiwan and Thailand, among others. She continues to do this even in her private capacity, and to promote alumni concerns through multi-media-several articles, brochures, exhibit, and slide/Powerpoint presentations about OAR.

Her service to the alumni transcends the walls of the UPLB Alumni Center, as proven by her global reach among fellow alumni here and abroad. Her inspiring and joyful presence, active involvement in alumni activities and unquestionable dedication to alumni affairs have greatly contributed in defining the unique and significant role of UPLB alumni in university and nation building.

To read the full list of awardees from UPAA, please click here.

Source: 2014 UP Alumni Association Yearbook .  “Bagong Tagsibol”