Each newsletter, we will focus on a member who has significantly contributed to fulfilling the mission of our outstanding organization.
Name: Eric Ruiz
Title: Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admissions
Institution: University of St. Francis
IACAC member for 4 years
NACAC member for 1 year
With IACAC: National College Fair Committee (Chair), Mentorship Committee, Summer Institute Committee, ICE Calendar Committee, Annual Conference (Registration, First Timers, Hospitality, Teller)
With University of St. Francis: Diversity Council, Hispanic Serving Institution, Administrators and Staff Committee
Plus, Big Brothers Big Sisters
How did you get into higher education?
I was interested in becoming an accountant since that’s what my degree was in from the University of St. Francis. The Admissions Director at that time asked me if I wanted to be part of the admissions team when I graduated. It was a lot to consider as I didn’t really know what the admissions team did and I had only worked as a student ambassador. All I knew of the admissions team is that they were gone a lot! So I took the risk of saying yes, as I figured I could always just get my masters and move on.
I really wanted to be an accountant because I’ve always wanted my own office, help people with their money, tell people what to do, and I’ve always liked wearing a tie (even a suit)! Luckily I was introduced to IACAC, and it’s what made me stay in higher education. What more could I ask for: I have my own office, I help people find ways to afford college so I’m kind of helping them with their money, I get to tell students what to do, and I get to wear a tie out in public! I found this profession very fitting for me. If it wasn’t for IACAC, I’d be making the big bucks…but wouldn’t be as happy as I am now.
How did you get involved with IACAC and the National College Fair?
When I went to my first conference in May 2008, I went with my former Director and I thought that because we were such a small school, we would pretty much stay with each other. However, as soon as my current director, Julie Marlatt, was hired, she pushed me to the next level. Well, she pushed me to the next few levels! She taught me about IACAC and how great it was and all the opportunities it could bring. So I signed up to get a Mentor through the Mentorship Committee. My mentor was Dave Shafron and he helped me so much with getting more and more involved in IACAC and learning more about admission. I noticed how Julie and Dave were very involved in the association, and I wanted to follow in their footsteps. The next conference Dave and I won the mentorship match of the year, and everything progressed from there. I definitely have Julie and Dave to thank for getting me started!
As for the National College Fair, it was something I fell into. I started as a member of the committee, helping the chairs with a number of different projects. Since I was a late addition to the committee, I had to learn fast. After the first National College Fair together in 2010, one of the chairs had a great opportunity that took him away from IACAC. This left a spot open to become a co-chair. I didn’t know if I would at all be qualified for this type of position, but IACAC gave me that opportunity. My first time being a co-chair for a big event meant I had to learn how everything worked, and quickly! The group came together and thankfully with my co-chairs Beth and Barbara, things have been running quite smoothly. I think we work very well together, and we will continue to push a very positive experience at the National College Fair in 2012.
What has been the best part about getting involved in IACAC?
I think one of the best things is that there’s still so much I want to learn about and get involved with. After talking with one of my colleagues, I realized the best thing about IACAC is the people. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my admissions office and I absolutely love my co-workers that I see every day. I just wish I could go out to lunch with and spend time with my IACAC colleagues every day! IACAC is like my extended family. Seeing them on the road is just fabulous and it’s great knowing about each other’s families and getting invited to birthday parties. I love my extended family, love knowing that I don’t have to be alone when I’m trying to figure things out, and that I can go and ask someone to help me out with something and they, like family, are there for me. They are the best!
What is your favorite IACAC memory?
I would have to say my favorite memory would have to be my first Summer Institute in 2008. I made some great friends at that time, my first good friends in IACAC, because whenever we do see each other, we always talk about Summer Institute of ‘08. Who would have known that Jeff Chitwood from SIUE was great at karaoke!
Words of wisdom for new members?
This is how I live my life: Don’t be ignorant, learn always and don’t be stingy. Make every moment a teaching moment. To do well and have a good time in this profession, all you have to do is care, care about others and care about the student. If you do that, everything else will fall into place.