Adrian Alexis Ruiz of Port St. Lucie, Fla. was honored at the University of Hartford's 53rd annual Commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 16, with the Belle K. Ribicoff Prize, which is awarded for academic excellence by a graduating senior.
Alexis Ruiz, a biology major in the University's College of Arts and Sciences, transferred to the University of Hartford as a sophomore after moving to the United States from Belgium. He plans to attend medical school in the fall.
Alexis Ruiz maintained a 3.95 GPA (grade point average) during his years at the University, but still found time to work as a lab instructor in the biology department. He also volunteered at a senior living center in West Hartford and at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, tutored elementary and middle school students, and served as vice president of Naciones Hispanas Unidas, a University organization for Hispanic students. As scholarship chair for Sigma Nu fraternity, he established an academic program for those with low GPAs, helping them improve their study habits.
"It's important to have good grades," Alexis Ruiz says. "After all, an education is what we are here for. If I can leave a mark on just one kid that makes him want to attend college or achieve great things in life, then it's all worth it."
Chartered in 1957 with the mission to be a "private university with a public purpose," the University of Hartford offers undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs in the arts, the humanities, business, engineering and technology, education, and the health professions. The University's student body of 7,300 represents 48 states and more than 40 countries. For more information, visit www.hartford.edu.