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Ruscio Center for Global Learning Honors W&L’s Outgoing President

“I will be forever grateful to the Board of Trustees for giving me the opportunity to serve as Washington and Lee’s president for the past decade and I am equally grateful for the honor of having my name associated with the Center for Global Learning.”

The Board of Trustees of Washington and Lee University has honored the departing president of W&L, Kenneth P. Ruscio, by naming one of the university’s major new facilities the Kenneth P. Ruscio Center for Global Learning. The board announced the recognition on Thursday, Oct. 6, at a reception during its fall meeting on campus.

“Given Ken’s strong support and advocacy for the integration of global perspective throughout the university’s curriculum, it is fitting that the Center for Global Learning should bear Ken’s name,” said J. Donald Childress, the rector of the W&L Board of Trustees.

Ken and Kim RuscioKen and Kim Ruscio

“I will be forever grateful to the Board of Trustees for giving me the opportunity to serve as Washington and Lee’s president for the past decade,” said President Ruscio. “And I am equally grateful for the honor of having my name associated with the Center for Global Learning. I truly believe that global learning is an essential part of a Washington and Lee education.”

The W&L Board of Trustees also has established the Kimberley A. Ruscio Endowment for Student Leadership in honor of Kim Ruscio, the wife of Ken Ruscio, for her longtime advocacy of student development. That announcement took place on Friday, Oct. 7, at a dinner that celebrated the couple’s past decade of service and leadership.

“Kim has been not only a wonderful first lady of W&L but also an engaged and enthusiastic supporter of women’s leadership initiatives,” said Childress. “The Board of Trustees is proud to create this endowment in honor of Kim.”

“Working with our wonderful students has been such a rewarding and fulfilling experience for me,” said Kim Ruscio. “I am so pleased, honored and grateful that the Board of Trustees has created this endowment to support student leadership.”

The construction of the Kenneth P. Ruscio Center for Global Learning was a centerpiece of the university’s recently concluded capital campaign. The building houses W&L’s Center for International Education, which promotes global learning within, across and beyond the campus. The facility, which boasts a sleek design and cutting-edge technology, combines 8,600 square feet of renovated duPont Hall with 17,700 square feet of new space. It contains classrooms, seminar rooms, instructional labs and offices for language departments and visiting international scholars. An atrium, garden, courtyard and the Tea House café provide inviting spaces for both study and socializing.

The Kimberley A. Ruscio Endowment for Student Leadership will endow the Women’s Leadership Summit, which connects W&L students with staff, faculty and alumnae, along with other initiatives promoting student leadership. Kim Ruscio has regularly participated in the Women’s Leadership Summit and gave its 2016 keynote address. Her previous careers have encompassed fashion, retail and finance, and she formerly worked in W&L’s Admissions Office as a financial counselor and associate director.

Ken Ruscio took office as Washington and Lee’s 26th president on July 1, 2006. An alumnus of W&L and a distinguished scholar of democratic theory and public policy, he previously served as the dean of the Jepson School of Leadership Studies at the University of Richmond from 2002 to 2006. He announced his retirement from the W&L presidency in May 2015; his final day in office will be Dec. 31, 2016.

Ruscio earned his B.A. in politics from Washington and Lee in 1976, and a master of public administration (1978) and a Ph.D. in public affairs and public administration (1983), both from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.

Ruscio held both faculty and staff positions at W&L from 1987 to 2002, including professor of politics, associate dean of the Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics, and dean of freshmen.

In 2007, the year after Ruscio became president of W&L, the university adopted an ambitious strategic plan emphasizing its commitment to a liberal arts education in the 21st century. With that plan as a blueprint, W&L conducted its historic capital campaign, Honor Our Past, Build Our Future, which at its conclusion in June 2015 surpassed the $500 million goal by raising $542 million.

Other signal achievements of Ruscio’s presidency:

The $50 million renovation and restoration of the historic Colonnade, which comprises the five signature campus buildings. Work on the fifth and final building, Tucker Hall, is underway.

  • The development of the Johnson Program in Leadership and Integrity, established through a $100 million gift that created a major scholarship program, two professorships, and an array of summer internship and research opportunities for students.
  • The creation of such new academic initiatives as the Roger Mudd Center for Ethics; the J. Lawrence Connolly Center for Entrepreneurship; a reinvigorated, four-week Spring Term; and the innovative, nationally regarded third-year curriculum in the School of Law.
  • A major expansion of the university’s financial aid program that makes W&L’s distinctive education available to qualified students regardless of their family’s financial circumstances. It has also resulted in the removal of student loans from all financial aid packages. The W&L Promise, created in 2013, guarantees free tuition to any admitted undergraduate student with family income below $75,000.
  • The $66 million Lenfest Challenge that created 15 of the 20 new endowed chairs and 10 term professorships and improved faculty compensation. The university also introduced major work-life initiatives for faculty and staff.
  • A strong commitment to sustainability initiatives featuring a successful, cost-saving energy-education program, as well as the state’s largest solar-panel array at the time of its 2011 installation.
  • The construction of new facilities: the Center for Global Learning, the Hillel House, and the upper-division housing known as The Village. A natatorium is nearing completion. In addition, the university made extensive renovations to first-year housing, Leyburn Library and Lewis Hall, and developed the Duchossois Athletic Complex, featuring Wilson Field.
  • The support for the communities of Lexington and Rockbridge County through the creation of the Community Grants Program, the relocation of the national Omicron Delta Kappa headquarters to Lexington, and the partnership that resulted in the restoration of the historic former courthouse and jail into university-leased buildings.

The Ruscios have a son, Matthew, a 2012 graduate of St. Lawrence University. In April 2017, Ken Ruscio will become the president of the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges.