Alan Ruben was inducted into the Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame in 1976, alongside the legendary Bob Feller. But the CSU professor emeritus of law doesn't rest on his laurels as a champion fencer who captained both the 1972 U.S. Olympic and 1971 Pan-American fencing teams.
He'd prefer to be remembered as someone who made an impact on the lives of his students and the institutions that influenced his life and career.
To that end, he and his wife have made a $500,000 commitment in their wills to create the Alan Miles Ruben and Betty Willis Ruben Endowed Professorship in the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. It's one of the largest faculty gifts ever to CSU and Professor Ruben hopes it will encourage others to follow his lead, particularly retired and active faculty members.
"I've spent a good portion of my life at Cleveland-Marshall. I have great affection for the law school and my colleagues and I look back at my career with pleasure. I'm delighted to be able to give something back," he says. Professor Ruben joined C|M|LAW in 1970 and retired in 2003. During those 33 years, he taught courses on corporations, partnerships, securities law, professional ethics and labor arbitration.
In 1993-94, he was a Fulbright Scholar, teaching at Fudan University in Shanghai, China referred to as China's Yale where every American President since Richard Nixon has made a major foreign policy address. When his Fulbright term expired, he was named an Advisory Professor of Law only the fifth foreigner so honored in its one hundred year history - a position that brought him back to Fudan to teach three additional times.
Although "retired," he still teaches an occasional class at C|M|LAW and regularly works out of his first floor office in the law building. He also has been kept busy as the editor of the sixth edition of How Arbitration Works, as an arbitrator appointed by the American Arbitration Association or the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service to settle union/management disputes, and as a member of a tribunal appointed by the International Court of Arbitration to settle disputes against American companies by foreign countries.
His wife enjoyed her own distinguished career, retiring after 18 years as a Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court judge, including the position of administrative judge. Her career also includes working on mental health issues as a member of President John Kennedy's White House staff, and serving as Executive Director of the Consumer Advisory Council in the President's Council of Economic Advisers.
The couple, who celebrated their 50th anniversary in May, are generous philanthropists, supporting their respective high schools, college alma maters and other causes. In 2004, they established the Judge Betty Willis Ruben Scholarship at CSU. The endowed fund provides scholarships to CSU undergraduates majoring in any discipline who are graduates of the Cleveland Metropolitan Schools.
When doing their estate planning, they knew that supporting CSU through a will commitment to establish an endowed professorship in law was the right decision for them.
"Endowed professorships are extremely important to CSU's reputation and to the experience our students have here," says Professor Ruben.
"The job market for law faculty is highly competitive. Attracting and retaining the best faculty possible takes money," he notes.
Faculty who hold endowed professorships are top scholars and teachers who engage students, he adds.
"The law requires interaction between faculty and students. Students can't just read textbooks and absorb the material. Learning involves discussion, the practice of analytic skills, and the ability to distinguish among seemingly similar factual situations," he says.
Citing Cleveland-Marshall's illustrious alumni roster of top lawyers, judges and politicians, Professor Ruben says the College has played a key role in helping countless students find success in the law and become highly productive members of the community.
"Having scholars with national reputations or reputations in the making on our faculty helps assure students they are getting an education that's equal or better than the education at private law schools. And it assures employers that our graduates are extremely well prepared," he adds.
The Ruben Endowed Professorship, he hopes, will further boost C|M|LAW's already excellent reputation.
To learn more about giving through your will, contact Michelle Debelak at 216.875.9833 or firstname.lastname@example.org