It is easy to recognize George Cruz, Jr. ’95 at a Southwestern home football game. A season ticket holder since football was reinstated in 2013, Cruz can be found decked out in black and gold spirit wear under his custom-printed Southwestern tailgating tent. He will be manning the grill and surrounded by friends and fellow alumni. But even if you somehow miss him, there is no need to worry: the second he catches your eye, he will recognize you.

“For years, long before Facebook, I called George a human face book,” says David Leggett ’97. “Every person he met became an immediate friend, and after his first meeting with you, he would remember everything you shared with him. From your children’s names and birthdays to your favorite color and high school mascot, George has an uncanny ability to remember your shared experiences while making you feel like the only person in the room.”

A graduate of Cistercian Preparatory School in Irving, Cruz enrolled at Southwestern after being heavily recruited by former admissions staff member John Lind. “I initially met George at Cistercian when he was in his senior year. As we worked together, George became one of the students I was convinced belonged at Southwestern. I thought he would thrive at Southwestern and find that his choice would define the rest of his life. It sounds like it has.”

The first member of his family to attend college, Cruz was a devoted Southwestern Pirate the minute he arrived in Georgetown. The Spanish and biology double major quickly became immersed in the campus experience, becoming an active member of Pi Kappa Alpha, Alpha Phi Omega, Latinos Unidos, Student Government, the Academic Affairs Council, Students Helping the Admissions and Recruitment Process (SHARP), and the Interfraternity Council. As a resident advisor at Ruter Hall, he encouraged first-year students to fully embrace university life as well. 

Cruz, who manages a private oral surgery practice in Dallas, has been a class agent for the past 25 years. He serves on the board of the Dallas Chapter of the Southwestern University Alumni Association and is a past member of the Alumni Council. As a recruitment volunteer, Cruz represents Southwestern at college fairs and speaks with prospective students about the benefits of attending Southwestern. He regularly coordinates happy hours and other local alumni events and cheers on the Pirates athletic teams whenever they come to town. He is especially proud of his role in establishing the Class of 1995 Endowed Scholarship at Southwestern. 

Cruz returns to campus regularly and attends Homecoming every year. “Walking across campus with George is like strolling down a small-town Main Street with a beloved mayor. He knows absolutely everyone and stops to chat with them all,” says Eric Timm ’93. “At Homecoming I am always struck by the number of colored ribbons that have been affixed to his name tag: ‘Class Agent,’ ‘Brown Society,’ ‘Alumni Officer.’ He’s like a five-star general.”

Cruz’s generosity with his time extends beyond his support of Southwestern. He is a member of the Cistercian Preparatory School Alumni Association Board of Directors, and each summer, he volunteers as a counselor at Camp Moss, a week-long camp for children with cardiac disease. 

“George has a heart that is bigger than anyone I know, never putting himself first but often putting Southwestern—and his wide network of alumni friends—ahead of himself,” says Craig McKinney ’91. “He has committed time, energy, money, talent, emotion, and intelligence into service to Southwestern, and the wider alumni community is better and stronger because of his influence.”

For his ongoing enthusiasm and decades of devoted service to Southwestern, the Southwestern University Alumni Association is proud to honor George Cruz, Jr. with the Distinguished Southwestern Service Award.