MSU professor emeritus gives readers an inspirational world view

Contact: Sammy McDavid

Son of the Orient Seas book cover image

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Early life under Japanese occupation in World War II and a long teaching, research and service career at Mississippi State vividly are conveyed in a new autobiography by a professor emeritus at the university.

In “Son of the Orient Seas,” Filipino native Armando A. de la Cruz shares childhood experiences from a time of major upheavals to his struggles to gain an education that concludes with a University of Georgia doctorate. He also describes his life and times in Starkville as a faculty member from 1970-2000 in MSU’s Department of Biological Sciences.

The 268-page paperback is a late 2016 release by Pennsylvania-based Dorrance Publishing.

In a February review on, one reader praised “Son of the Orient Seas” as resembling Homer’s “The Odyssey.” In particular, he found chapters about de la Cruz’s WWII experiences “especially enthralling and provide a viewpoint that most have never known.”

After receiving a 1958 bachelor’s degree from University of the Philippines, de la Cruz came to the U.S. for an American University master’s and UGA terminal degree, both earned in the 1960s.

Outside the MSU classroom, the active member of Starkville’s First United Methodist Church and wife Ruth have organized for some four decades a Thanksgiving meal for international students at the land-grant institution. What began with a few Filipino and Asian students has grown to a now church-sponsored tradition drawing several hundred temporary community residents of various nationalities.

Several years ago, the teacher and scientist whose professional career—and deep personal religious commitments—enabled him to visit some 70 countries established a student travel scholarship. The Dr. Armando A. de la Cruz Endowment helps MSU undergraduate and graduate majors in biological sciences to attend national and international meetings that further their studies and help prepare them for future careers.

The book is now in stock at The Book Mart and Cafe in downtown Starkville, and may be ordered through Barnes & Noble at Mississippi State, among other retail locations.