Office of the Chancellor

Vicki Ruiz to Receive National Humanities Medal from President Obama

Sept. 3, 2015

Dear Colleagues,

I am delighted to announce that Vicki Ruiz, Distinguished Professor of Chicano/Latino studies and history, has been named a recipient of the 2014 National Humanities Medal. She will receive the award from President Barack Obama in a ceremony at the White House on September 10. She is the first member of our faculty to receive the nation’s highest honor in the humanities.

The National Humanities Medal honors those who have deepened the nation’s understanding of humanities and broadened citizens’ engagement with history, literature, languages, philosophy, and other topics in the humanities. Recipients are selected by the president of the United States in association with the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Professor Ruiz is a campus leader, first-rate academic, and tireless researcher of immigrant women’s stories. She helped establish the field of Chicano/Latino studies with her research on Mexican-American women in the U.S. Southwest, and is a major contributor to the study of the history of labor, women, immigration, and the American West. A member of the UCI faculty since 2001, she served as dean of the School of Humanities in 2008-2012, and currently serves as chair of the Department of Chicano/Latino Studies in the School of Social Sciences. President-elect of the American Historical Association, her books have received widespread acclaim, and among her many awards are being named “Woman of the Year in Education” byLatina magazine, election as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and induction into Stanford University’s Multicultural Alumni Hall of Fame. She received the Lauds & Laurels Faculty Achievement Award from the UCI Alumni Association this past spring.

Vicki Ruiz is an engaging teacher, dedicated researcher, and inspiring teller of previously-unheard stories. In giving voice to those who were overlooked and unrecognized, she has helped create a new and vibrant field of study, added to our understanding of the mosaic of American life, and brought great credit to this university. We are all tremendously proud to have her as our colleague and friend.

Fiat Lux,

Chancellor Howard Gillman