Alumni Spotlight: José Cyrano Ruiz Cabarrús

Dr. Josee Ruiz (Ph.D. ‘93, reliability engineering) knows the importance of higher education, particularly in developing countries. That’s why he decided to help build such opportunities in Guatemala following his time at the University of Maryland (UMD). 

He is the founder and president of Da Vinci University of Guatemala, a privately-funded university established in 2012. Prior to that, he served as Vice President at Galileo University, also in Guatemala. But it was in an earlier role—as assistant professor at Francisco Marroguin University, where he founded the Reliability Center which offers master's degree programs in this field. His projects benefited him greatly from his graduate education experiences in the United States, Ruiz said. His personal life goal is to help change the lives of others in a similar way. 

Ruiz attended UMD as a master’s student on a Fulbright Scholarship granted by the U.S. government, after completing his bachelor’s degree in computer sciences at Francisco Marroquín University, Guatemala. At UMD, he first finished a master’s in applied mathematics and then decided to go on to a second master’s degree, this time in reliability engineering. That choice eventually led to a doctorate. The reliability engineering program was new at the time, and Ruiz was among its first doctoral students. 

Ruiz stated that the reliability program gave him the confidence he needed and helped him understand the foundation of a new program. Ruiz stated that there was so much he could mention about the reliability program because the program had such a big impact on him. The impact is still standing years later. 

His experiences as a UMD graduate and research assistant, and later as an assistant professor at Francisco Marroquin University, have brought him an “insider’s view” of the academic world that isn’t always found among college presidents, particularly when their background is mainly in administration.

It’s a busy job, to be sure—one that continually requires him to balance different commitments. On top of that, Ruiz is a family-centered man, which demands a lot of his time. Juggling professional and family goals successfully, he said, requires hard work and discipline. It also requires self-care strategies, such as getting enough exercise and sleep. 

To current students and recent graduates who are launching their careers, he recommends keeping in mind that skills and expertise are foundational for lifelong applications. 

“We live in societies that are based on knowledge, so make sure you are always doing research,’ that is to say, be a part of the team that creates knowledge, he said. “If you have the opportunity to do research, you will become mentally trained to be an entrepreneur. You will be able to train and produce knowledge to anyone.”

Published March 4, 2024