Ruwitch Family Designated Scholar Loan: Cultivating Education Leaders

Jamie WilgerGiving, Impact, News

Melissa and Tom Ruwitch established the Ruwitch Family Designated Scholar Loan in 2021 to honor the Ruwitch family commitment to education and teaching. Melissa serves as assistant director of health promotion at Washington University, supporting students’ physical and mental health. Tom taught history and English for two years at Whitfield School shortly after graduating from college. Now the founder and CEO of Story Power Marketing, he has served on the board of Aim High St. Louis and currently serves as a board member of The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis.

A deep respect for education runs in the family. Tom’s maternal grandmother, Miriam Rubenstein, was a teacher for many years in New Jersey, and even as a young child, Tom was conscious of how much teaching was a part of her life. Two of Tom’s aunts, Jane Rubenstein Menell and Jane Ruwitch Mitchell, were teachers as well. His paternal grandmother, Elizabeth Renard Ruwitch, attended teaching college before marrying and raising a family. She later served as a member of board of The Scholarship Foundation.

Tom remarks that their own educational opportunities have played a large part in his and Melissa’s lives, and they want to extend that opportunity to others. He says, “We come from families that valued education greatly, that had the resources to support us and invest in our education. And we personally never experienced the feeling that we would have to make dramatic sacrifices in order to pursue education. We’ve been very conscious of the magnitude of that privilege and the responsibility that comes with it to help others who otherwise don’t have that opportunity.”

Tom notes that teaching is an underappreciated profession and that he believes it is becoming more challenging each year. The Ruwitch Family DSL will support students pursuing majors in education, because as Tom says, “Melissa and I would like nothing more than to see students who are served by The Scholarship Foundation become education leaders serving others in the classroom.”