honored with Baldwin Wallace Alumni Merit Award
June 5, 2014: Victor
Ruiz, executive director at Esperanza, Inc., a 30-year-old
nonprofit with a mission of improving the academic achievement
of Latinos in Greater Cleveland, is among five distinguished
alumni chosen to receive the highest recognition that can be
bestowed upon a graduate of Baldwin Wallace University
(in Berea, Ohio): the Alumni Merit Award.
Victor Ruiz with Robert C. Helmer, President of
Ruiz was singled out “for
his visionary leadership and effective management of
award-winning programs that create educational opportunities for
Since his 2010 appointment, Esperanza has flourished under
Ruiz’s leadership, offering a portfolio of programs that gives
students and their families help with tutoring, mentoring, and
scholarships. The result is a rise high school graduation and
college participation rates in Cleveland’s Latino community.
In 2012 the organization
won the prestigious Anisfield-Wolf Community Organization Award
from the Cleveland Foundation.
After Ruiz graduated from what is now the Cleveland
Metropolitan School District's Garrett Morgan School of
Science, financial aid from the Cleveland Scholarship Program
helped him to attend Baldwin Wallace. At BW, he majored in
English with dreams of going to law school. But a college-years
job with the Scholarship Program (now College Now Greater
Cleveland) led to assistant vice president and supervision
of programs in Cuyahoga and Lorain counties.
Along the way, Ruiz earned a master's degree in school
counseling at Cleveland State University. He has been
recognized in Crain's Cleveland Forty under Forty, and was the
Cleveland Brown's/NFL Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award winner
for 2013. He was also recently named a WK Kellogg Community
The four other 2014 honorees included: Patricia (Cirigliano)
Ciancutti '57, Bennett Gaines '75, Steven E. Koenig '69, and
Karen Melton '87, '90. Although the honorees have embarked on
distinctive professional paths, each of their lives is
distinguished by an impressive blend of high career achievement
and generous community service.
Editor’s Note: Esperanza’s annual scholarship luncheon—Fiesta
of Hope—is June 27th, from 11:45 a.m. to 1:30
p.m. at the Cleveland Renaissance Hotel.
Baldwin Wallace University,
founded in 1845, was one of the first colleges to admit students
without regard to race or gender. An independent, coeducational
university of 4,500 students, BW offers coursework in the
liberal arts tradition in more than 60 academic areas. Located
in Berea, 12 miles from downtown Cleveland, BW offers students
the cultural, educational, and business advantages of a major