UA College of Science Dean Joaquin Ruiz Honored for Fundraising Success
Preferring jeans and a white shirt with rolled-up sleeves to a business suit, UA College of Science dean Joaquin Ruiz radiates personality, energy and intellect.
His peers know him as an unassuming and approachable person, someone who can build long-lasting relationships and make anyone feel like the most important person in the room.
But beneath his casual appearance Ruiz is considered a "development powerhouse" for compellingly communicating his belief that education opportunities provide pathways to a better future.
For his extraordinary leadership in fundraising, the UA Foundation Board of Trustees has honored him with the 2013 Eugene G. Sander Endowed Faculty Fundraising Award.
"I am humbled to receive this award named after a long-time colleague and friend," said Ruiz, who also teaches geosciences and conducts research that includes developing new systems for studying ore deposits, the land formation process of Mexico and present-day climate change.
Since becoming dean of the College of Science in 2000, he has increased the college's number of endowed chairs to attract and retain the best and brightest faculty and created a culture of philanthropy among members of the Galileo Circle, a donor recognition society that has grown from 12 members in 2001 to 280 members in 2013.
The enormously popular UA Science Lecture Series was Ruiz's brainchild. Audiences quickly grew from 250 to 2,500 inside a packed Centennial Hall. Much of its success is owed to the educators and researchers who discuss complex scientific material and relate it to individual, human concerns.
The ongoing lecture series has resulted in gifts given or committed totaling more than $5 million to the UA College of Science. Previous lectures have focused on evolution, climate change and the human genome.
Ruiz points out that the continued growth and development of the UA College of Science cannot be attributed to one person.
"The success of a fundraising program can be credited to our passionate faculty, staff and industry partners," Ruiz said. "Without their support and hard work, UA Science wouldn't be what it is today."
Recently, Ruiz successfully negotiated one of the largest gifts to the UA, a $30-million gift from the Philecology Foundation that resulted in the UA College of Science acquiring Biosphere 2, directing its operations and establishing a research facility there.
"Joaquin is an effective fundraiser because he inspires people to share in his excitement and passion for a project," said James H. Moore Jr., president and CEO of the University of Arizona Foundation.
The Sander Endowed Faculty Fundraising Award was established by the UA Foundation Board of Trustees in 2008 to honor UA faculty who set examples among their peers for upholding high standards of performance in fundraising and development efforts. The award is named for UA President Emeritus Eugene G. Sander, who was an advocate and leader of faculty involvement in the fundraising process for more than two decades.
Previous honorees include Mary Poulton, head of the Department of Mining and Geological Engineering and director of the Lowell Institute for Mineral Resources, in 2012; Robert F. Lusch, the James and Pamela Muzzy Chair in Entrepreneurship, in 2011; Dr. Gordon A. Ewy, director emeritus of the UA's Sarver Heart Center, in 2010; John W. Olsen, Regent's Professor of Anthropology, in 2009; and Soyeon Shim, former director of the John & Doris Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences, in 2008.