Former Cincinnati Mayor Eugene P. Ruehlmann
and his wife Virginia
saw public service as more than just an option, but as “an obligation and an honor,” according to their daughter, Ginny Wiltse
“The qualities they both exemplified—a quiet strength and a humility—there was collaboration in the sense that all people are equal in the conversation, and everybody needs a voice at the table,” says Wiltse, volunteer director of Caring Response Madagascar
, a local nonprofit that serves the needs of the poor in East Africa.
Wiltse also serves as chairperson for the Board of Trustees at Union Institute & University
—an institution that Wiltse says was and is an “attractive place” in both the eyes of her parents as well as herself because of the “servant leadership” exuded by UIU President Roger Sublett
UIU is the recent recipient of two $250,000 grants in memory of Wiltse’s parents: The Eugene P. Ruehlmann Public Service Fellowship Program, which comes as an award and tribute from Western & Southern Financial Group
, and The Virginia Ruehlmann Women in Union Fellowship, awarded by the Helen Steiner Rice Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation
“The $250,000 over five years was a tribute to my mother’s decade of service and to the way her life and value of higher education also mirrored the value of higher education of Helen Steiner Rice, the poet,” Wiltse says.
According to Wiltse, her mother needed scholarship support to attain her master’s in education, so the recent funds will enable full-time female graduate students at UIU to do the same.
The Eugene P. Ruehlmann Public Service Fellowship will be awarded to a UIU doctoral student and will assist individuals in their dissertations, which embody Ruehlmann’s dedication and fervor for community betterment.
“My dad served as mayor in the late '60s and early '70s, and he brought this community together by encouraging conversation and collaboration across racial boundaries between businesses and the community, and by bringing people together in a cooperative and collaborative manner,” Wiltse says. “These were his hallmark achievements.”
• Engage in public service.
• Support UIU and the Ruehlmann fellowships by giving
about UIU and consider applying. Know that it's never too late to go back to school, as UIU excels in adult education.
By Brittany York
Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia.