Michael Ruiz joined Saint Louis University School of Law in 2019 as the director of development. He joined the law school after spending time at SLU's Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations.
How did you develop your passion for development and fundraising?
I started my career in development while I was an undergraduate student at Saint Louis University in the Billiken Call Center, raising funds for scholarship and program support. I worked there for all four years calling alumni, parents, and friends to talk about their SLU experiences and connect their passions with the different interest areas at SLU.
I was only able to attend SLU from California as a recipient of the MLK Scholarship among other scholarships, so I felt compelled to help future students have the same wonderful experience that I was having. I continued to pursue fundraising experiences after graduating from the Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business. and started working for a company than ran phonathon programs for different universities across the U.S.
After three years of running phonathons, I wanted to broaden my depth of knowledge in the industry and ran a small development shop at Incarnate Word Academy (IWA), an all girls Catholic high school in North County St. Louis. It was a wonderful experience and cemented that idea that development was my path for the long term.
What is your favorite part of the job?
I love hearing the stories, experiences, and memories that our alumni have of their alma mater. There is nothing better than seeing our alumni excitedly and fondly talk about their study groups that formed 50 years ago and still keep in contact today, or talking about how much they appreciate the help received from the faculty and staff for studying for the bar exam. SLU LAW is a special place, and it's evident each and every time I get to speak with an alum.
What impresses you most about the SLU LAW community?
I was drawn to SLU’s undergraduate because of its Jesuit mission, genuine concern and support of its students, and the drive that students have to make a positive impact on our world. I think that is even more evident with SLU LAW, where our students, faculty and alumni make a direct impact on the welfare of our community, whether it be advocating for the indigent, sitting on boards of local nonprofits, or paving the way for change on a local, state and national level. Whether our alumni are working in public interest or a large firm, the mindset remains the same that they are working for a greater good and a greater purpose that will make the world a more fair and equitable place.
What is the most interesting thing you’ve learned so far from a SLU LAW alum?
The most interesting thing I’ve learned so far from SLU LAW alum is the impact and formative experiences our alumni have had with notable faculty like Vince Immel, Sandy Johnson, Pete Salsich, John Ammann, and many, many more. The lasting impression that one person has had on literally thousands of people, that shapes and forms their outlook on life for the better is astounding to witness. The stories that I’ve heard, the small gestures that could be viewed as innocuous by the faculty all seem to have stuck in the minds of SLU LAW alumni. Those interactions and stories have motivated me to live a life that will positively affect the people around me whether you think the interaction will or not.
What are you looking forward to in the months and years ahead?
Dean Johnson has ambitious initiatives and goals that will not only maintain the competitive nature of SLU LAW in the U.S., but also increase the name recognition internationally. SLU LAW has such momentum and a great team at the helm, I know that with the help of our loyal alumni and friends, we will continue to increase the prestige and quality of education that SLU LAW provides, and I’m excited to work with everyone to make that happen.