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Ruscio | law commencement | baccalaurete | undergraduate commencement
Kenneth P. Ruscio took office as the 26th president of Washington and Lee University on July 1, 2006, and has announced that he will step down as president in June 2016. An alumnus of W&L and a distinguished scholar of democratic theory and public policy, President Ruscio previously served as the dean of the Jepson School of Leadership Studies at the University of Richmond from 2002 to 2006.
Ruscio earned his B.A. with a major in politics from Washington and Lee in 1976, and a master of public administration (1978) and a Ph.D. in public affairs and public administration (1983), both from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.
Ruscio held both faculty and staff positions at W&L from 1987 to 2002, including professor of politics, associate dean of the Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics, and dean of freshmen. A postdoctoral research scholar at the University of California, Los Angeles, from 1983 to 1985, he also taught at Worcester Polytechnic Institute from 1985 to 1987 and at Kansas University from 1982 to 1983.
The year after Ruscio became president of W&L, the University launched an ambitious strategic plan emphasizing its commitment to a liberal arts education in the 21st century. The recently completed capital campaign in support of the plan raised $542.5 million, including substantial gifts for student financial aid such as the $100 million gift establishing the Johnson Scholars Program, and for faculty support and academic programs, including $66 million from the Lenfest Challenge to improve faculty compensation and $4 million from award-winning journalist Roger Mudd to create the Roger Mudd Center for the Study of Professional Ethics. A $50 million renovation and restoration of the historic Colonnade is nearing completion, and a new athletic and recreation center, as well as new and renovated campus residences for students, are in the works. The University has also embarked upon initiatives in work-life balance and energy conservation, the latter as part of its commitment to sustainability.
President Ruscio guided the University through a revitalization of the Spring Term, a four-week academic term that offers intensive study for students and creative approaches to teaching for faculty. Also during his tenure, the W&L School of Law has implemented an innovative curriculum that prepares students for a rapidly changing profession.
Ruscio has authored articles, book reviews, essays, and the book, The Leadership Dilemma in Modern Democracy (2004). He has served as national president of Omicron Delta Kappa, the national leadership society begun at W&L in 1914 that now has chapters at more than 300 campuses. He has led and served on dozens of academic, professional and civic committees. Ruscio serves on the boards of the George C. Marshall Foundation and of the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). In recognition of his scholarly and professional accomplishments, Washington and Lee's chapter of Phi Beta Kappa inducted Ruscio as an alumni member in 2008.
Ruscio is married to Kimberley O'Donnell Ruscio. They have a son, Matthew, who is a 2012 graduate of St. Lawrence University.