Alumni Awardee Celebrates Devoted Life

 

Enrique Blanco ’72 has lived, worked and traveled all over the world, yet he still feels like he has a home at Castle Point. He came back to campus during Alumni Weekend 2017 to receive the Stevens Alumni Award.

Enrique has served his alma mater as a member of the university Board of Trustees and as president of the Stevens Alumni Association (SAA) from 2005 to 2007. He continues serving as a voter on the SAA executive committee, as a volunteer of the Ad Astra Task Force, and as a 20-year supporter in the Gear Society.

“I want to be involved in helping others, and I want to give back,” Enrique said. “I enjoyed Stevens. I like the way things are and the way things have remained, and I want to keep that going.”

He was born in Cuba and lived in Chile, Brazil and Jamaica before immigrating permanently to the United States in 1967. He wanted to study engineering and chose Stevens among several top colleges. As a student, he was a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Latin American Club.

“I picked Stevens because of its size, because it was a smaller school where the professors knew the students. And I was very impressed by the students. They were there to learn.”

After earning his degree in mechanical engineering, and later an MMS in management science, Enrique began his 35-year career with Colgate-Palmolive, retiring as associate director of engineering. He led projects that built soap plants in Thailand, Malaysia, New Zealand, Guatemala, Panama, South Africa and Turkey. He won one of the company’s most prestigious awards for leading a project that saved millions in operating costs.

“Stevens prepared me well for my career. I got a real engineering degree, not just in mechanical or chemical, but one where I studied everything. Coupled with my degree in management science, I was able to coordinate all the different disciplines in the engineering profession.”

Even though he was busy working, Enrique returned to Stevens often to attend job fairs and recruit students for Colgate-Palmolive. Now retired, he still comes to campus for events such as the annual Celebration of Philanthropy, the SAA holiday party, and the President’s Distinguished Lecture Series.

Enrique has also carried his devotion to service far beyond Stevens. He is a grand knight in the Knights of Columbus, and he volunteers for the pastoral care department of Hackensack University Medical Center and at the Woodcrest Nursing Home in New Milford, New Jersey, where he visits the infirm and elderly and offers companionship, communion and prayers. He is a lector and baptismal instructor at the Church of the Ascension, and he also volunteers for food pantries and serves food to the homeless.

“A lot of these people don’t have anyone who visits them. When I visit, I can see in their eyes that they feel somebody cares for them. It gives them hope and something to look forward to.”

With his family, Enrique believes in living a vibrant life. He and his wife, Mary, have two sons, Enrique and Eric ’00, and four grandchildren. He and Mary enjoy sailing on three or four cruises a year, including a festive one beginning next December.

Our sons and their wives and our grandchildren are all coming. First we’re going to celebrate the New Year, then we’re going to celebrate our 45th anniversary, and then we’re going to celebrate Eric’s 40th birthday. I’m calling it our celebration cruise.”

 

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