Jim Ruck and Lee Ella Neff met at Washington State College as students and WSU has remained an important part of their lives. They both graduated in 1954, with Jim’s degree in chemistry and Lee’s degree in human development. They married in 1955. While Jim worked on his MBA at the University of Washington, Lee taught school in Enumclaw. Jim’s career led to a number of different supervisory positions with the state corrections system, a vocational center for the disabled, and as a manufacturer’s sales rep. After raising their three children, Lee’s career took her back into teaching, this time in the field of special education. Upon retirement, Jim and Lee keep busy through various volunteer projects, Elder Hostel programs, and travel. They have always held a strong philanthropic ethic, demonstrated in the fact that they have given back to WSU in 42 of the 46 years since they graduated. Along with this endowment in food science and human nutrition, Jim and Lee are establishing a graduate fellowship in chemistry, and providing a gift for the construction of the Indoor Practice Facility for Cougar Athletics.
The fellowship shall be awarded to students who are conducting research as part of their graduate program in the Department of Food Science in the College of Agriculture and Home Economics. The proceeds from the endowment fund may be used to provide fellowship stipends to be used by the recipient for such things as tuition and fees, subsistence, research expenses, and other educationally related costs. To be eligible, recipients must be accepted and in good standing as full time graduate students in the Department of Food Science.