It’s been a busy year for Vicki L. Ruiz, Chicano/Latino studies and history Distinguished Professor Emerita and UCI’s first recipient of the National Humanities Medal. Just this spring, she was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Immigration and Ethnic History Society; the Milestone in Education Award from the California League of United Latin American Citizens; and elected as a scholar-trustee for the New York Historical Society Museum and Library.
The achievements and accolades highlight the illustrious historian’s career – which spans nearly four decades - spent telling the stories of Latinas who have fought for civil and labor rights.
She’s been highly lauded for her work. 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 2012, Ruiz was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and in 2013, she was named Distinguished Professor of history and Chicano/Latino studies at UCI, an honor considered the campus’s highest for faculty. UCI’s Alumni Association also bestowed upon her the Lauds & Laurel Faculty Achievement award, and in September that same year, she received the National Humanities Medal from President Barack Obama at a formal White House ceremony.
The first in her family to earn an advanced degree, Ruiz joined the UCI faculty in 2001 and was dean of the School of Humanities 2007-2012, and chair of the Department of Chicano/Latino Studies in the School of Social Sciences 2013-2017.