By: Ryan Tejero
Conceived in 1981, the University of the Philippines Alumni Association in America (UPAAA), Inc. was organized with a noble vision of giving back to the University, and to realize its ideals through grand reunions, recognition of distinguished UP alumni, and donations to scholarships and professorial chairs. Throughout its history, UPAAA has established its credibility as a national organization. Its leadership was occupied by the most distinguished alumni in America, not to mention a group of high caliber membership who have made their names in their respective fi elds or professions.
True to its goals of giving back, UPAAA has responded to various calls to help Filipinos and Filipino Americans, which include: setting up of a Taal Volcano Assistance Fund; monetary support to stranded students in UP dormitories at the height of COVID outbreak; inspirational webinars; 3.0 Virtual Fitness Challenge; and continues support to award scholarships in various UP campuses. With the ongoing pandemic, virtual learning poses the biggest challenge to many UP students. In response to this, UPAAA has appealed to raise funds to donate laptops or computers to a target of over 1,600 neediest students. The next Grand Reunion and Convention for UPAAA is scheduled in October, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Currently heading UPAAA is Daisy Magalit Rodriguez. She is a retired nurse educator. Prior to retirement, Daisy was employed in various supervisory positions in major in the San Francisco Bay Area. She taught in nursing programs at UC San Francisco and San Francisco State University, and also back in the Philippines.
Daisy was a UP Entrance Scholar, with a full scholarship from the National Science Development Board in 1959. She left UP with three degrees: Graduate in Nursing (UP-PGH School of Nursing), BSN and Master’s in Nursing. Here in the US, she obtained her second Master’s in Public Administration/ Health Services at University of San Francisco, and a Mini- Fellowship in Ethnogeriatrics from the Stanford University Geriatric Education Center.
On her UP days, she became the editor of medical center newsletter, and the ’65 PHILIPPINENSIAN. She published, “The Balance Concept in Nursing,” which earned the recognition as one of the Best Books on Professions by the National Book Development Board and Manila Critics Circle. She has a second book slated for publication.
As a passionate leader, Daisy became President of several organizations: PNA of Northern California, UP Nursing Alumni Association, USA and UPAA Berkeley Chapter.
Daisy has been recognized for her accomplishments in the community, and in her nursing profession. These include: 2009-100 Most Infl uential Filipina Women in the US by FWN; 2011 National Educator Award by the PNAA, and 2016 Most Outstanding Alumna and 2020 Recognition Award by the UPPGH SNAA. Daisy hails from the town of Numancia, Aklan. She immigrated to the US in 1972. She was mar-ried to Ruben Rodriguez (deceased), an executive in a Filipino-owned company, Ramar Foods International. She has two children – Dr. Robyn Rodriguez, who is a university professor at UC Davis and Reuben, who is a chief technical offi cer with a national telehealth company. Daisy Rodriguez can be reached at:daisrod43@ gmail.com and the UPAAA, Inc. Website: upaainamerica.org.