Prof. Roy Olsen D. de Leon
His occasionally long hair may sometimes remind you of Samson, the champion of Israel who fell into the hands of the Philistines when his strength left him upon the cutting of his hair by his lover Delilah. But the opposite is true for Biology Department Chairperson Professor Roy Olsen de Leon whose short hair is indicative of vigor regained. His wife alone is allowed to give him a haircut. And since she works as a guidance counselor of a boarding school in Singapore, Roy grows his locks until they next meet. One may know how long it has been by the length of his hair.
Roy was born and raised in the capital City of Panay Island, Iloilo. Having been raised in a Christian home, as a grade-schooler he recognized he was radically corrupted by sin. He knew that only by the blood of Jesus could he be cleansed and set free from this pervasive disease. During the Christ Emphasis Week of Central Philippine University, his elementary school at that time, he responded to an altar call by the Spirit’s grace and has since then lived a life encapsulated in the verse “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21)
He began his college years under the Marine Biology program at the University of the Philippines in Cebu, in preparation for Medical School. UP, however, dissolved the program before he could complete his degree there. So Silliman University became the convenient alternative. In October of 1980, he enrolled in the university’s Bachelor of Science in Biology program. He graduated four years later.
After graduation, he abandoned his plans to become a medical doctor and decided to pursue research work instead. He set off to Palawan where he worked with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for 13 months. While he was there, he met Dr. Angel Alcala, Professor Emeritus of Silliman and now National Scientist, who encouraged him to return to Silliman and teach. “I considered it a calling,” Roy recalls. He responded to that calling in faith.
In 1987, he was given a teaching position at the Biology Department. Concurrently, he served as a research assistant at the Marine Laboratory. In between both, he pursued his masters and completed it in 1992.
An expert in statistics, Roy was usually tapped by student groups for help with their research papers and theses. One group of Psychology seniors proved to be an unforgettable bunch as he was to marry one of their members, Joy Minor.
Roy and Joy vowed in front of God, friends and family to love and honor each other as husband and wife in 1994.
Though they do not have kids of their own, Roy has been a father-figure to many students. He refers to them as his “adopted” children. As a professor, he finds joy in making a positive impact in their lives. More than the lessons on cell structures and genetics, he tirelessly shares his faith in every class he handles and he points them to Jesus, through whom all things were made. This is what he considers to be his life’s mission.
It was from this outflow of faith that one of his students approached him one day, requesting if he could lead them in a study of the scriptures. Roy responded in faith to this request and to date the ministry has existed for over ten years. He continues to lead this bible study with his students every Monday at 5pm. He also hosts an Adult Bible Study at the Biology Department Conference Room which is led by an elder of the Silliman University Church.
Now at 52, Roy is completing a PhD in Social Science. He remains faithful to his “calling” to teach the science of life and the truth of the one true life-giver.
Describe yourself in three words.
A forgiven sinner
What is your motto in life?
Philippians 1:21 “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
What makes you laugh?
Funny moments, jokes.
What makes you cry?
On a positive note, I cry when I remember how good people have been to me. On the other hand, I cry in a negative sense when I see wasted lives.
What’s your favorite time of the day and why?
I have no preference to any time of day. It is more of what I do at a specific time that makes me like it or not.
What’s your favorite day of the week and why?
None. Again, it depends on what I’m doing on that specific day.
What do you love doing when not working?
Dining with my “adopted” children.
What is your favorite hangout place in the University?
What makes you blush?
None. According to my wife, I’m like a robot. Maybe back when I was younger I’d blush because of my crush.
If you were an actor, who would you be?
None. I’m not a fan of any particular actor. I watch movies for movies sake.
Tell us a fact about yourself.
I am known to many as “the teacher in shorts”, and with occasionally long hair.
What’s your favorite game growing up?
Taking long hikes to explore.
What is your idea of a relaxing day?
Being able to wash my clothes.
What one thing would people be interested to know about you?
The “sins” that I committed 🙂
What song best describes the YOU and the life you have now?
What is the first thing you do right after waking up in the morning?
Pray and meditate on God’s word.
What’s your idea of a family?
Serving the Lord.