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An outstanding career

Triple honors for UCI Distinguished Professor Emerita Vicki L. Ruiz 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

It’s been a busy year for Vicki L. Ruiz, Distinguished Professor emerita of history and Chicano/Latino studies 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.