Patrick Manyika ‘12 ‘14

Patrick Manyika ‘12 ‘14

Growing up in a refugee camp in Rwanda, Patrick Manyika ‘12 ‘14 never dreamed he would one day leave and move thousands of miles away to go to school. In fact, he didn’t even know a place called the United States existed.

"They would send food and it would drop from the sky," Manyika, 33, said. "I could read that it said ‘USAID.’ There were no TVs, no electricity. Our classes took place under acacia trees." 

Living in the Akagera National Park, where seeing leopards and elephants was the norm, Manyika learned the way of the land. 

"You had to be careful not to hit a giraffe," he said. "You learn survival skills as a child, like how to climb up trees fast, and to stay away from buffalos." 

When he was 14, life changed dramatically for Manyika. The genocide in Rwanda began on April 7, 1994, and more than 1 million people were killed over the course of 100 days. Manyika was attacked with a machete, but survived, as did his family. Twenty years later, reconciliation and rebuilding continue in Rwanda.

"The country has changed completely," Manyika said. "Right now Rwanda is safer than some areas here, the GDP has been growing dramatically at seven percent annually, institutions are in place, and doing business in Rwanda is easy. It’s a beautiful country."

Once he hit adulthood, Manyika began to attend university until he suspended his studies to work. He wanted to do something that helped others, and was hired by Partners in Health, an organization that gives vaccinations and runs clinics and hospitals. Realizing that he wanted to learn more about how to write business plans, Manyika decided to check out the University of Redlands while on a trip to Southern California. He applied, was accepted, and arrived in the fall of 2009.

It was a definite culture shock.

"I had visited the U.S. in 2006 and 2008, and visiting and living are two completely different things," he said. "When I came to visit people were taking care of me, and when I came here on my own I had to prepare food and do things myself. It was really hard. I didn’t even know how to use a gas cooker. I knew nothing." 

He was unsure of how to cope with a climate so different from Rwanda’s, and also how to prepare food without any familiar ingredients. One day, he needed to get across town, and started walking on the 10 freeway. 

"People were giving me funny looks, so I figured it was fishy," he said. "I told the manager at my apartment and she said, ‘That’s illegal, and that’s crazy. You could be arrested.’" 

The classroom was different as well, but in a good way. 

"It was a great experience and a big challenge, because I came from a French speaking nation in Africa," he said. "The education systems are different, and if you look at the first paper I wrote and the last one, you will see a huge difference. Critical thinking wasn’t something I did before, so it was really hard for me. I had tutors during the first semester, and my GPA grew from 2.2 to 3.7 at the end of the program." 

Wanting to continue his studies, Manyika enrolled in the MBA program, with the hopes of becoming an information systems analyst in rural Africa. 

"Such skills are scarce," he said. "I could work anywhere, but want to work with nonprofit organizations, helping underdeveloped communities. This is a big thing; having a master’s from the U.S., nobody I know has achieved such a level." 

Manyika’s not finished with school, as he now has his sights on a master’s in GIS. But before he heads back to class, he is going home to Rwanda for the first time in three years. A filmmaker has been following him for several years, and plans on shooting more footage for a documentary on Manyika that should be released later in 2014.

"I met him when he came from Silicon Valley to a TED conference in Africa," Manyika said. "Now he’s a producer and director. He was interested in my story because he said, ‘I know where you came from, and I know where you’re at. Maybe it could inspire other people that anything is possible.’" 

Having a filmmaker document his life has given Manyika valuable insight into the person he has become. 

"It’s made me realize how far I have gone," he said. "It’s been a long journey, and there has been self-reflection. I like to share not only my story, but also the story of my society."

18 hours ago · 2 notes

Alumni Founders Weekend 2014

It’s time for University of Redlands alumni to come home once again.

Alumni Founders Weekend 2014 is set for May 16, 17, and 18, with activities and events happening all across campus. From a picnic party at the Alumni House to Salzburg, K-DAWG, Greek and Outdoor Program socials, there’s something for every Bulldog.

“It’s a welcome home weekend,” Dena Gilbert, associate director for Alumni Relations, said. “We want people to enjoy their Redlands family. It’s going to be fun and there will be great people attending.”

This year, reunions will be held for the Classes of 1954, 1959, 1964, 1969, 1974, 1979/1980, 1989, 1994, and 1999. Alton Robertson ’54 is organizing the reunion for his class, and hopes to see a minimum of 60 of his fellow classmates attend.

“With minimal effort, I recruited 20 volunteer callers and gave them each a list of class members to be in touch with,” he said. “We have been in touch with virtually all 181 members on the class roster. We found six or seven who are deceased, but we have also found five or six persons who were not on the roster.”

Right now, 36 members of the Class of 2014 are registered to attend the reunion. Robertson hopes to see a minimum of 60 classmates at the event, and 60 percent participate in the class gift.

“We exceeded 50 percent for our 50th reunion in 2004,” he said. “Even though we are a class of ‘teachers, preachers, and social workers,’ to date 68 members of the class, over 40 percent, have already contributed over $75,000.”

Alumni Founders Weekend kicks off on May 16, when reunion class warm-ups will be held in the evening at locations around Redlands. On May 17, the fun starts bright and early at 11:30 a.m. with the Och Tamale! Toast to the Classes. All class reunions and Redlands’ newest graduates are invited to the Alumni House for a special toast. Reunion lunches will start at noon, and so will the Gazolly Gazump Garden Party Picnic on the Green. Held at the Alumni House Lawn, all alumni and their families are invited to an al fresco picnic with music provided by Hobo Jazz.

“We want as many people as possible, from all walks of life to attend this gathering,” Gilbert said.

Two more picnics will take place from noon to 2 p.m. – the School of Business Picnic at the Alumni House Lawn and the Warrior Luncheon at the Alumni House. For those who miss the invigorating classes at Redlands, the Our House Faculty Showcase is a must; from 2 to 4 p.m. in Hall of Letters, professors will share their latest works and accomplishments. From 4 to 6 p.m., the Wang Tang Watering Hole will be open on the Alumni House Lawn, and several community socials – including Greeks, K-DAWG, Outdoor Programs, and Salzburg – will take place.

The fun doesn’t stop once the sun goes down. Starting at 8 p.m. the Alumni House will transform into the Joozy Woozy Late Night Lounge, featuring craft cocktails created by storytelling bartenders and music from Renee Rojanaro ’00 and her band After Dark. On May 18, several reunion brunches will occur at various locations in town, and everyone is invited to finish the weekend off with breakfast at the Commons.

“It’s all about creating memories,” Amber De Massimo, assistant director for Alumni Relations, said. “Planning everything is really rewarding, and the enthusiasm we see from the people who truly love the University is amazing.”

For more information, including pricing, or to register, please click here.

1 day ago · 1 note

Redlands Student Spends Spring Break Aiding Colorado Relief

Mission Viejo native travels to Boulder to help the victims of last year’s devastating floods.

By Brooke Edwards Staggs, Staff Writer for the Orange County Register

MISSION VIEJO – College spring break is meant for making memories, and that proved true for Ryan Beaulac.

The Mission Viejo native spent his vacation traveling with 25 other University of Redlands students to Boulder, Colo., to help families affected by September’s historic floods.

“I felt I was ready for it. I had an open mind,” said Beaulac, 19, a sophomore studying accounting. “As for the damage, I wasn’t expecting it to be that bad.”

More than 17 inches of rain fell near Boulder in September, including one day with more than 9 inches. The flooding that resulted claimed eight lives, destroyed hundreds of miles of road, wiped out about 1,800 homes and damaged nearly 20,000 more, according to the Colorado Office of Emergency Management.

The devastation pushed Colorado to the top of the list as a candidate for the University of Redlands’ spring break outreach program.

Each year since a team went to help in 2006 with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the university has invited students to spend their spring break volunteering in communities that have suffered natural disasters or have a particular need. It’s called Spring Break Plunge, with the university picking up half the tab during trips to places such as Joplin, Mo., after the 2011 tornado, and New York after Hurricane Sandy.

While the long-term impact of those disasters seemed to still be getting a lot of press, Erin Sanborn, associate director of community service learning at the University of Redlands, felt the Colorado flooding had been overlooked.

“In Colorado, the disaster area was huge and there just wasn’t much in the news about it,” she said.

Sanborn connected with Community Collaborations International, a nonprofit organization that already had a team working on the ground in Colorado. Together, they planned an opportunity for University of Redlands students to join in on the recovery effort.

Beaulac is a member of groups that perform community services such as playing sports with disabled children, writing letters to military service members and clearing trails in wilderness conservation areas. When he heard about Spring Break Plunge, he jumped at the chance.

“I actually love doing community service,” said Beaulac, a graduate of Capistrano Valley High School, “and to help out a community that’s been affected by the flood I thought would be really fun and eye-opening for me rather than sitting and watching TV.”

Before they left, students met to get background on the disaster area and to create a mission statement about what they hoped to accomplish. They also received basic training in appropriate skills, ranging from how to drill a hole to hanging drywall.

“We never really know what we’re going to be doing until we wake up that morning and they send us out to the job,” Sanborn said.

On past trips, students have helped rebuild homes, but Colorado is “still at the debris-clearing state,” Sanborn said.

Beaulac and his teammates spent a week removing chunks of fallen trees and mucking out homes, removing insulation where mold had taken root. It was physical work, Beaulac said, leaving them exhausted at the end of each day.

“It didn’t seem like you were doing much sometimes,” Beaulac said. “But then you realize every stick or tree you pick up, that’s one less stick or tree a community member has to (pick up) .”

Some students go in with huge expectations about changing the world, Sanborn said. When they’re asked to help pick up a pile of sticks, it helps them realize the scope of the recovery effort, with a group of dedicated people making a difference by doing a series of small, monotonous tasks.

“It’s not about doing this incredibly glorious work,” Sanborn said. “It’s about doing what is asked of you.”

Beaulac joined a Facebook group for the organization still working on the Colorado recovery effort, so he can stay updated on their progress. He plans to apply for another Spring Break Plunge trip next year, no matter where it takes him.

“It’s very eye-opening for me to see that there’s always people that are going to need help, especially in natural disaster situations,” Beaulac said. “It makes me want to work harder and try to reach out more when a natural disaster happens because, after seeing that and their faces when volunteers came, it was just so heartwarming.”

Contact the writer: 949-454-7343 or bstaggs@ocregister.com

1 week ago · 0 notes

Admitted Students’ Day 2014

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The Redlands Sustainability Festival 2014

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The University of Redlands Relay for Life was held March 29th on the Ashel Cunningham Track.

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The Inaugural University of Redlands Powwow was held on the University Quad March 29 and 30, 2014.

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Senior art majors prepare their Spring Art Show in the Ann Peppers Gallery. The show opens April 1.

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Ralph Angel’s ‘Your Moon’

The next Visiting Writers Series event will feature Ralph Angel, associate professor of creative writing at the University of Redlands and an award-winning author. Angel will discuss and read from his fifth book of poetry, “Your Moon,” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 27.

“’Your Moon’ is a book about owning life without the toxin of possession,” William Olsen, editor-in-chief of New Issues, said. “This is the best book by a crucial poet of our time.”

“Your Moon” won the 2013 Green Rose Poetry Prize. Angel’s book “Exceptions and Melancholies: Poems 1986-2006” won the 2007 PEN USA Poetry Award, while his “Neither World” won the James Laughlin Award of The Academy of American Poets.

Angel’s poems have appeared in scores of magazines and anthologies worldwide, and have received such prominent awards as a gift from the Elgin Cox Trust, a Pushcart Prize, a Gertrude Stein Award, the Willis Barnstone Poetry Translation Prize, a Fulbright Foundation fellowship and the Bess Hokin Award of the Modern Poetry Association. He is the Edith R. White Distinguished Professor at the University of Redlands and a member of the MFA in writing faculty at Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier, Vermont.

Angel is able to balance writing poetry with teaching because he is so passionate about both.

"I make poems, and making poems, for me, is a way of life," he said. "It’s like breathing or eating or taking a walk. Everything, including teaching, enriches and is informed by its process. And the life I’ve carved for myself keeps me focused on what it is to be alive, and on the condition of my own soul. So, I teach by example. It is my job to encourage students to become better human beings first, so that their creative aspirations might follow. No one can teach anyone how to make a great poem."

3 weeks ago · 1 note

Sustainability Festival 2014

On Saturday, March 29, the community is invited to learn how they can make a difference in the world at the Redlands Sustainability Festival at the University of Redlands.

“It’s a great event with an important message,” organizer Bob Turley said. “We want to provide the guests with alternative, positive actions they can take to help conserve and heal the environment for this and future generations. The response of the exhibitors and attendees last year was overwhelmingly positive.” 

The University of Redlands and the Redlands Sustainability Network are co-hosting the event, set for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Stauffer Science Complex. 

“There will be something of interest for everyone,” Turley said. “There will be nearly 90 exhibitors to inform the guests on home farming, home retrofitting and HERO financing, and solar energy. For the kids, there will be face painting, a bounce house, the Redlands Animal Shelter, and other activities.” 

President Ralph Kuncl and Mayor Pete Aguilar ’01 will give welcome speeches, and the rest of the day will include art displays featuring sustainable themes and materials, film screenings, musical performances, and 17 University of Redlands student clubs offering activities. As recycling is a main theme, attendees are asked to donate eyeglasses for the Lions Club, clothing for teens for Angels Closet, clothing for The Blessing Center, and books for the A.K. Smiley Public Library. 

Organizers are excited for this year’s expanded event, which has doubled in the number of sponsors and will be in a bigger space. 

“This year’s Festival is located within the Stauffer Science Complex,” Turley said. “It will be larger and more inclusive. The publicity campaign has expanded so we expect a greater turnout.”

In addition to the University of Redlands and the Redlands Sustainability Network, sponsors of the Redlands Sustainability Festival include Beaver Medical Group, Dudek Environmental Consultants, the Inland Empire Resources Conservation District, Best, Best & Krieger, Attorneys, Clark’s Nutrition, Tom Bell Chevrolet, Redlands Ford, Southern California Gas Co., Kaiser Permanente, and the Redlands Area Democratic Club, with Sierra Club and Skool Boiz Apparel sponsors in kind.

3 weeks ago · 0 notes

Monday Morning at Redlands

Students walk across the quad on their way to class

A pair of students enjoy an early sushi lunch at Irvine Commons

Members of PRIDE prepare decorations for Pride Week at Hunsaker Plaza

3 weeks ago · 0 notes

From India to Redlands

From left: Shakhyar “Sharky” Neog ‘14, Mitesh Gala ‘14, Digvijay “DJ” Jaiswal ‘14, Arunabha “Neel” Chowdury ‘14, and Aradhya “Ardy” Srivastava ‘14.

International Students Earn MBA at School of Business

When it came time to select a graduate school, the choice was easy for Arunabha “Neel” Chowdury ’14, Mitesh Gala ’14, Shakhyar “Sharky” Neog ’14, Digvijay “DJ” Jaiswal ‘14 and Aradhya “Ardy” Srivastava ’14.

The accelerated MBA for International Students at the University of Redlands School of Business offered everything they were looking for: an affordable, one-year program that was ranked high and featured esteemed professors.

“Since it’s not a traditional two-year MBA, you can get back to the corporate life as soon as you want,” said Srivastava, whose emphasis is global business. “You’re not losing anything, just gaining.”

All five men discovered Redlands while in their home country of India. Each one was looking for something specific, and they worked closely with recruiter Swathi Suresh to find it.

“I wanted a one-year program because I wanted to start working,” said Gala, whose emphasis is in global business. “I searched on the Internet and found four or five good universities. I applied to Redlands because I saw that it would help me fulfill my dreams.”

“I chose to come to the University of Redlands because I completed my engineering degree and wanted to shift into management,” said Jaiswal, whose emphasis is GIS. “At Redlands, I was able to complete it in one year, and that was very beneficial for me.”

“I had three-and-a-half years of experience in IT, and I was looking for a course that provided business management,” Srivastava said. “I applied to Redlands and universities in Singapore and Australia, and after checking the rankings and interacting with previous students, I felt Redlands was the best.”

The students arrived in late August last year, and were pleasantly surprised by the two units they share in the Central Avenue Apartments in Redlands.

“The day I came from India, the first thing that surprised me was a professor came to the airport to pick me up,” Gala said. “That was a good gesture from the University. The refrigerator was filled with food and groceries, and the rooms were furnished and in place. We knew the apartment would be good, as we saw a few photos, but we never imagined it would be so clean and so furnished. I was really happy with the generosity the University has provided us.”

Once classes started, the students were eager to get to know their fellow classmates and professors.

“The other students are from various backgrounds,” Neog, whose emphasis is GIS, said. “There are some from the military, some in nursing, some from big companies, and some from small companies. As a result, you learn new things from each other. The classroom is full of ideas, and it’s a give and take–you learn from them, and they learn from you.”

“Since there are fewer students in the classroom, the faculty can meet with everyone personally,” Jaiswal said. “They are so friendly, and we can easily share our problems and anything we feel like asking them. The course structure is easy to understand in a short span of time.”

During his first few weeks at Redlands, Neog discovered GIS, and decided to change his focus.

“When I was in India, I had very little idea about GIS,” he said. “Once I came to the University of Redlands and talked with professors and students, they gave me an idea about GIS. Now I’ve come to realize it’s a very powerful tool, and it’s great that in Redlands they have Esri and other companies.”

For all five students, this is the first time being in the United States, and they say the faculty has helped make the transition easier.

“In a marketing class, the professor was making examples related to American football, which I didn’t really understand,” said Chowdury, whose emphasis is marketing. “After a few hours of class I told the professor, and he made sure that it was completely clear.”

“The professors are really down to earth and helpful,” Gala said. “The Indian professors know our mentality and culture, and that really helped us right from the start. They give good guidance and lectures, and make us feel comfortable.”

When the students aren’t studying, they’re enjoying exploring Redlands, traveling around Southern California, and trying new food.

“My experience so far has been very good,” Neog said. “Before I came here I had only seen movies about California and the United States, and now that I’m experiencing it firsthand I’m really liking it.”

“This is my first time in the U.S.,” Jaiswal said. “As I landed in San Francisco, it was my dream place that I had thought about. The scenic beauty of California has embraced me, and the infrastructure of the University is so nice. It is safe and secure, and feels like home.”

The one-year MBA is designed to work well for both international and domestic students who are seeking an accelerated MBA format. For more information, please call the School of Business at 909-748-8041.

3 weeks ago · 0 notes

President’s Honor Recital 2014

Laura Evans ‘16.

Some of the finest performers in the School of Music will showcase their talents during the President’s Honor Recital on Sunday, March 23, 2014.

The event will take place at 2 p.m. in the Memorial Chapel. It is free and open to everyone.

“The President’s Honor Recital was established in 1983 by Professor Louanne Long to provide a public showcase for outstanding performers in the School of Music,” Dr. Andrew Glendening, dean of the School of Music, said. “Students are nominated by the faculty at the Fall Semester Jury Exams. The top students from each area - voice, keyboard, string, winds, brass and percussion - audition for the entire faculty of the School of Music during the first meeting of the Recital Repertory Class in January. The faculty selects the most outstanding performers.” 

This year’s chosen students are Emily Collins ’14, voice; Laura Evans ’16, violin; Nicolai Gervaisi-Monarrez ’16, saxophone; Kelly McGrath ’14, flute; Edmar Oliveira ’16, piano; and Ian Rowe ’14, guitar.

"I was surprised to find out that I had been nominated, and even more surprised to I found out I had been selected to perform," Collins said. "Redlands offers its students many performance opportunities, and I am so fortunate to be able to perform at this recital for the president’s namesake. To simply say that I have enjoyed my studies at the University of Redlands School of Music would not do any justice. I am fortunate enough to carry away a Bachelor of Music and, hopefully, a Master of Music come April from the University of Redlands. I have learned that it is a performer’s individuality that sets them apart from others and makes them memorable. Redlands embraces each and every asset and flaw in every one of its students, teaching them to cherish their character, and embrace each piece of their person that makes them unique."

“Going into the final round of this competition, I was nervous, but not for the reasons one would expect,” Rowe said. “Rather than winning or losing, I was concerned with representing myself, my instrument, and my studio in a professional and respectable fashion. It’s an enormous honor to have been selected, and with that comes a fair share of responsibility. My playing isn’t just a representation of myself; it’s also a representation of the others who play the guitar, and those who have supported me.”

Rowe has enjoyed his time in the School of Music, finding it to be a “wonderful, inspiring and nurturing place.”

“It is what you make of it, and if you’re willing to put in the work, and really dedicate and humble yourself, anything’s possible,” he said. “I think the other musicians performing alongside me are a testament to the quality of this program, and I think their playing will speak for itself.”

Evans challenged herself by preparing a piece that was difficult technically, but is supposed to sound effortless to the audience. 

"I worked so hard all semester to improve my technique and solidify my intonation, and I just barely memorized the piece before the first round of the competition," she said. "I was so relieved when I found out I made it to the finals. I was grateful that my hard work paid off, and I was so excited to have another chance to play my piece. When I found out I made it onto the program, I was ecstatic. I am truly honored to have the opportunity to perform on such a prestigious recital alongside such talented fellow students."

Glendening is excited to see the students get their moment in the spotlight. 

“These are the best of the best performers in the School of Music,” he said. “Not only is this a great musical program, it is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate student success. This is affirmation of their success and proof that their hard work is paying off. Nothing encourages a young musician more than an appreciative audience.”

4 weeks ago · 0 notes

Fulbright Scholar Visits Redlands

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Visiting Fulbright Scholar Nataliia Cherkas

Ukrainian Professor Nataliia Cherkas increases knowledge in international economics

A year in balmy Southern California is quite a change from a snowy winter in the Ukraine. Dr. Nataliia Cherkas, associate professor from Lviv Academy of Commerce in Ukraine is enjoying with her husband and daughter new experiences in the United States. Cherkas is participating in a School of Business Fulbright Faculty Development Program for the 2013-2014 academic year, where she is studying the impact of major macroeconomic parameters on the commodities export structure of Ukraine and other transitional economies within comparison of European Union and Commonwealth of Independent States trade directions.

“I’m interested in studying the indicators of wellbeing and human development as measures of general performance of a particular country,” Cherkas said. “In addition, at the School of Business I’m attending interesting classes related to my teaching subjects in Ukraine which significantly enrich my experience as a lecturer.”

Cherkas has delivered several lectures at the University and at local organizations including the local Rotary Club during her program. Some of the topics include: “Ukraine’s Marketing Profile,” “Higher Education System in Ukraine” and “The Structure of Ukrainian Exports.”

She is currently working on two research papers which she plans to submit to academic journals by the end of the program. At the same time, Cherkas is concentrating on increasing her professional contacts, learning new research methods and increasing her knowledge level as a scholar in the field of international economics.

It was not easy for Cherkas to watch the recent protests in Ukraine from afar. She said she supports her people struggling for justice and democracy and hopes the situation in Ukraine will result in reforms and deeper integration to European structures.

Cherkas is grateful to all of the people who have made this experience possible including School of Business Professor Gerald Groshek, who is supervising her research and who has been a Fulbright Senior Specialist in Ukraine. Cherkas hopes that participating in this program will result in further connections and cooperation between both institutions.

1 month ago · 0 notes

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