Dr. Cirilo Reyes, production veterinarian
Veterinary and animal science students in the Philippines have more than 20,000 science books stacked in libraries across the country thanks to one Seaboard Foods employee's well implemented-idea. Cirilo Reyes, Seaboard Foods production veterinarian, was awarded the 2015 University of the Philippines Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award for his devotion to a start-up project that has led to more than $500,000 worth of science and animal related text books and journals for students in the Philippines.
After graduating from Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Reyes and his wife saw an opportunity to donate text books that were only a few years old, but considered outdated by U.S. educational institutions. With the assistance of Reyes' vast network of professionals in the veterinarian field, the USA-Philippines Book Donation Project was started.
To date, Cirilo has stacked Filipino library shelves with more than 20,000 books and journals worth more than $500,000. Many of the books and journals sent by Reyes are less than five years old, providing students attending all 21 veterinary universities in the Philippines with current and relevant information for their academics.
"Many schools practically do not have libraries," says Reyes. "Due to economic hardship in the Philippines, getting funds for improvement of vet school libraries is next to impossible. There is always an acute shortage of vet books, especially in the remote areas of the country."
Reyes also states that the few educational reading materials available for students are severely outdated and internet access, especially in rural areas, is very limited. The effects of the project go beyond the books donated. As a result of the high quality library established through donations, high marks were achieved during an audit by the Commission on Higher Education. This enabled one university to receive additional government funds.