Lobby named in honor of FHSU’s Fred Ruda

FHSU Media Relations

Family and friends have come together with contributions large and small to honor the late Dr. Fred Ruda, or “Doc” as his students fondly called him. Ruda was known as a father, a husband and a longtime faculty member and chair for the Department of Technology Studies at Fort Hays State University.

His legacy built during 39 years of outstanding contributions to the university and the Hays community will live on. The lobby of FHSU’s Center for Applied Technology was dedicated as the “Fred Ruda Lobby” Friday afternoon.

“I often hear about the way he touched students’ lives, influenced their careers and contributed to their success,” said Kim Stewart, current chair of the Department of Applied Technology. “How fitting it is that a place that fosters a spirit of warmth and academic curiosity be named in Ruda’s honor. It is our hope that the legacy of this passionate and influential man will inspire all those who enter the building for decades to come.”

A dedication of the space was held with a small group of family to celebrate the newly named lobby and to recognize the man who meant so much to so many students.

“It’s an honor to have a lobby named after Fred,” said Steve Paul, a past student of Ruda. “He mentored a lot of kids, was always supportive of us and did a lot to move his academic program forward at Fort Hays State.”

One of Ruda’s many contributions was founding a “Teaming Up For Tots” event – headed by FHSU’s Department of Applied Technology as a way to spread holiday cheer. Community volunteers of all ages come together each December to assemble wooden toys, which are then given to local children who otherwise might not receive Christmas gifts. The popular event was set to occur this winter for its 31st year, but has been cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns. However, faculty and students of FHSU’s Technology and Engineering Education Collegiate Association (TEECA) chapter will still assemble toys for the project.

“Remembering Fred is very important because he was a great guy – period,” said Bob Wertenberger, who also studied at FHSU during Ruda’s tenure.

Following graduation from FHSU, Paul and Wertenberger went on to establish Paul-Wertenberger Construction in Hays in 1983, a successful company that employs several FHSU graduates and has worked on numerous campus projects over the years.

“It will be hard for many to see this heartwarming tradition pivot for 2020, but there are ways to honor Ruda and the overall spirit of the event that he selflessly shaped,” said Darci Cain, Associate Vice President of Development with the FHSU Foundation.

Cain mentioned several ways to support FHSU and the ‘Fred P. Ruda Teaming Up for Tots’ event by designating a gift to TEECA. “You can also honor Ruda by making a gift to the Dr. Fred and Sherrill Ruda Technology Studies Fund, which continues to make an incredible impact within FHSU’s Department of Applied Technology, at https://foundation.fhsu.edu/donate.”

For questions, please contact Cain with the FHSU Foundation at 785-628-5620 or foundation@fhsu.edu.