Ruzila gift celebrated at Career Development Center ribbon-cutting ceremony

Six women stand in a line, ready to cut a ribbon with large ceremonial scissors.

Ready to cut the ribbon, from left, Uchenna Baker, vice president for student affairs and dean of students; Kimberly Trinkle, BS’90 (Ruth); Dianne Trinkle, BS’86 (Ruth); Rosemary Trinkle Baran, BS’83 (Ruth); Georjean Trinkle, BA’93 (Metro); and Donna Jackson-Robertson, University director of career development. (Photo: Bill Blanchard)

By Rebecca Maxon

May 4, 2023 — A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the John Robert Ruzila and Marye Trinkle Ruzila Career Development Center, which was initially named back in 2019 before the pandemic, celebrated a $1.1 million endowed gift to FDU from “Aunt Marye.”

Half of the gift went to the Career Development Center’s programs and the Ruzila Awards — given by the center to students from the Florham and Metropolitan campuses who are completing unpaid internship experiences in nonprofit, government, science, education, social services and/or other areas serving the community.

Students may receive up to $1,000 to help cover such things as transportation, wardrobe, materials and lost wages from missed paid employment due to an internship. Up to 20 FDU students can be awarded the grants each year for spring, summer or fall internships.

“One of the best things about this award is accessibility,” says Donna Robertson, University director of career development. “When I met Aunt Marye several years ago, she talked about wanting to help regular students who want to work hard. This award is open to all students regardless of year, major, financial-aid status or citizenship.” It also covers students with a grade-point ratio of 2.0 and up, extending its benefits beyond merit-based scholarships.

A legacy family of FDU Rutherford Campus graduates, John Ruzila, BS’56 (Ruth) married Marye Trinkle, BS’58 (Ruth), in 1959. Marye’s brother George Trinkle III, BS’54 (Ruth), married and had four daughters who also completed their degrees at FDU: Rosemary Trinkle Baran, BS’83 (Ruth); Dianne Trinkle, BS’86 (Ruth); Kimberly Trinkle, BS’90 (Ruth); and Georgean Trinkle, who attended the Rutherford Campus but completed her bachelor of arts degree in 1993 on the Metropolitan Campus.

Six women of various ages and generations pose for a photo.

From left are Kimberly Trinkle, BS’90 (Ruth); Patricia Baran; Rosemary Trinkle Baran, BS’83 (Ruth); Dianne Trinkle, BS’86 (Ruth); Sydney McHale; and Georjean Trinkle, BA’93 (Metro).(Photo: Bill Blanchard)

Trinkle Baran is the incoming president of the Alumni Association Board of Governors after eight years on the board. She will take office on July 1, 2023. A founding member of the Hospitality and Tourism Alumni Chapter, she also serves on the International School of Hospitality, Sports, and Tourism Management’s advisory board for hospitality and tourism as well as the School of Public and Global Affairs advisory board.

Trinkle Baran says, “Aunt Marye and Uncle John were average students who had to work full-time to pay for college. Using the money for students who are working is perfect.”

The family’s gift to the Silberman College of Business to fund the John Robert and Marye Trinkle Ruzila Endowed Scholarship was inspired by Aunt Marye’s experience as one of the first few women to receive a B.S. in business management from Silberman College. In addition, three of her four nieces are Silberman graduates.

At the ribbon cutting, Robertson thanked the Ruzila family and said, “An African proverb says, ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’ We are fortunate to have our FDU village paving the way for our students’ success.”

Aleyna Gross, a business administration major at the Florham Campus, one of the first awardees, says it best. “Instead of having to get some random part-time job to support myself, I was able to spend more time proving myself in my field.”

Graduate student Thomas Montesano, BS’22 (Flor), is another legacy student. His father and grandparents all attended FDU at one time.

A recipient of the Ruzila Scholarship, he said during a luncheon following the ribbon cutting, “Part of the reason FDU is such an impactful university is because of generous and caring donors like the Ruzila family. I had the honor to be a recipient of the John Robert and Marye Trinkle Ruzila Scholarship during my junior and senior years here. I would like to thank the family for believing in me and my abilities to impact this University. Their generous gift gave me the time to focus on becoming more involved on campus and volunteering at events, instead of having to find part-time work to pay for school.”

He added, “FDU is a university with endless opportunities if you are willing to get involved thanks to considerate donors like the Ruzila family.”

Trinkle Baran says, “Though Aunt Marye and Uncle John didn’t live to see the full impact of their gift, their spirit of altruism lives on in many FDU students.”

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