Eugene Gonzalez is about to close one exciting chapter of his life, and move onto the next.

The Marine Corps veteran, who is graduating in May with a master’s degree in organizational leadership, overcame many obstacles, including beating esophageal cancer, to be where he is today. But he couldn’t have done it without the help of his academic advisor, René DeAnda.

“For the past 25 years, I have made it a point to recognize individuals who have had a positive impact on my life. René is one of those people,” said Gonzalez. “She really helped put me on the right path, and guided me on this journey. I am a product of Regis success because of her.”

DeAnda, who has been a Regis academic adviser for more than 28 years, was presented with an American flag that was raised and lowered at the Iwo Jima Memorial in Washington, D.C. This honor usually is reserved only for fellow veterans.

“Rene is a part of my family, my Regis family, and I wanted to give her the honorary recognition she deserves,” said Gonzalez.