Alumnus Robert Ruff (McIntire ’81) Commits $10 Million to Support DEI Initiatives at the University of Virginia

Following previous support of the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers, Robert Ruff’s most recent gift will invest in initiatives around diversity, equity, and inclusion.

UVA Grounds as seen from above. The Memorial to Enslaved Laborers is in the foreground. (Photo by Sanjay Suchak, University Communications)

By William Cocke,

UVA President Jim Ryan announced to the Board of Visitors June 3 that McIntire alum Robert Ruff has committed $10 million for investment in diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts at the University. Ruff’s gift will provide support for many of the top priorities set forth in the President’s 2030 Strategic Plan.

“Robert’s generosity as a committed alumnus and University citizen will propel UVA forward as we strive to become a more inclusive and welcoming community, and I’m deeply grateful for his ongoing support,” Ryan said. “Robert’s critical gift for the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers was key to this work, and his latest investment will strengthen UVA for generations to come.”

After graduation, the Dallas native returned to Texas, where he was a commercial banker for a decade, before returning to his family’s retail hardware store business and, eventually, starting an artificial intelligence company that was active in developing global recruitment software.

Ruff’s support during the planning, development, and construction of the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers and his backing for the subsequent programming for that space were precursors to his current gift. He provided funds for the memorial’s opening ceremonies, for continuing genealogical research, and for the creation and maintenance of a comprehensive website.

Read the full UVA Today story, which was first published June 3, 2022.

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