Esperanza Director 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 all.”
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 Leadership Fellow.
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 metropolitan area.