2015 Tillman Scholar

Ron Bucca

Columbia University

“Life will have heartache and failure, but it is during these times you learn how to succeed.”

Ron’s journey began when the World Trade Center towers fell on 9/11. The ensuing weeks became a blur as he spent time looking for his father at Ground Zero and ultimately laying him to rest. However, the stories of his father’s kindness and generosity shared by others during this time remained clear in his mind. He realized the financial incentives that dictated his career path prior to 9/11 were no longer a priority for him. He left the financial industry to enlist in the Army. Ron not only wanted to help protect others from terrorist attacks, but he also wanted to find a deeper connection with his father, who led a life of service.

Through multiple deployments Ron learned that clean water, food, and access to education are not always guaranteed; yet, they are imperative for the stability and security of a region. He came to understand that government or military intervention alone cannot provide a long-term solution to end the threat of terrorism. The best solution to defeat terrorism is through socio-economic change and to empower individuals to improve their quality of life. Through his military experience and studies at Dartmouth College he realized the most effective agents for social change and individual empowerment are organizations and businesses that can leverage the strength of the private sector in a socially responsible and sustainable way.

Ron will pursue an MBA at Columbia University focused in social enterprise. His goal is to help individuals and organizations create profitable and sustainable businesses that improve their own socioeconomic situation and that of their region.