“I’ve always said that young people don’t know what is impossible, so they often achieve it!” says Willem P. “Wim” Roelandts, a business executive and, since February, a member of SCU’s Board of Trustees. He’s also a longtime fan of and advisor to SCU’s Center for Science, Technology, and Society: “The counseling and the coaching that we can provide are part of the whole adventure here,” he says.
Originally from Lennik, Belgium, Roelandts traced an international career of several decades with Hewlett-Packard: from work as one of the first repair engineers for computers (“They were as big as refrigerators in those pre-PC days”) to vice president in charge of HP’s Computer Systems Organization, with responsibility for HP’s worldwide computer systems business of about $6 billion. In 1996 Roelandts left HP to become CEO of Xilinx and later also became chairman of the board.
At SCU, he and wife Maria Constantino-Roelandts have helped foster some innovative student and faculty projects—like bamboo housing for Haiti, a motorized bike powered by compressed air, a portable solar/hydrogen fuel cell generator, and a mobile app that helps piece workers in developing countries learn if they’re getting a fair price. Those projects are supported through the Willem P. Roelandts and Maria Constantino-Roelandts Grant Program in Science and Technology for Social Benefit.
“Education is not just about accumulating knowledge,” Roelandts says, “but also about defining your values in life.”