Vicki Ruiz, Chicano/Latino studies chair and history professor, has been named president-elect of the American Historical Association.

Founded in 1884 and now with more than 14,000 members, the AHA is one of the oldest and largest national history associations in the U.S.

Ruiz will be officially sworn in as president-elect at the American Historical Association’s annual meeting January 2-5, 2014 in Washington, D.C. She will serve one year under the leadership of Jan E. Goldstein, University of Chicago, before taking the full reigns as president in 2015.  

The news follows on the heels of Ruiz’s 2012 induction into the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and her new Distinguished Professor title, an honor considered UCI’s highest campus-level distinction for faculty.

“This is yet another remarkable achievement for a remarkable scholar of our intellectual community,” says Bill Maurer, social sciences dean. “Bravo, Vicki!”

An expert in 20th century U.S. history, Ruiz has spent her 35-year academic career studying and telling the historical accounts of Latina women as they fought for civil and labor rights. She is credited with helping to establish the field of Chicano/Latino history with her research on Mexican-American women in the U.S. Southwest. She specializes in Chicana/o studies, oral narratives, gender studies, labor, immigration, and California and the American West.

Her past honors include a presidential nomination to the National Council on the Humanities and Latina magazine’s “Woman of the Year” award in 2000.

In 2006, she co-edited Latinas in the United States: A Historical Encyclopedia. The three-volume set with more than 600 entries and 300 photographs documents contributions by women of Latin American birth or heritage to the economic and cultural development of the United States. It is the first comprehensive gathering of scholarship on Latinas, and it was named a 2007 Best in Reference book by the New York Public Library, and an Outstanding Title by the American Association of University Presses.

A graduate of Stanford University, Ruiz was inducted in 2009 into her alma mater’s Multicultural Alumni Hall of Fame, established in 1995 to recognize distinguished alumni of color.

She serves on one advisory board for the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. She also serves on the board of Imagining America: Scholars and Artists in Public Life, the national action research consortium. She has served as president of four major scholarly associations, including the Organization of American Historians and the American Studies Association.

Ruiz joined the UCI faculty in 2001 and was named dean of humanities in 2008 until she completed her term in 2012. She now chairs the Department of Chicano/Latino Studies in the School of Social Sciences.

-Heather Ashbach, Social Sciences Communications

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