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UCSD's Ruiz Wins Humanities Medal

October 28, 1998|SCOTT MARTELLE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Historian Ramon Eduardo Ruiz, a professor emeritus at UC San Diego, has been named a National Humanities Medal winner, one of nine selected for the annual honor.

The medals, chosen by officials of the National Endowment for the Humanities to honor people and organizations "whose work has deepened the nation's understanding of the humanities," will be handed out at the White House on Nov. 5.

Other winners being announced today include historian and biographer Stephen E. Ambrose; novelist E.L. Doctorow ("Ragtime," "The Book of Daniel"); Henry Louis Gates Jr., director of Harvard's W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for Afro-American Research; and Vartan Gregorian, former president of Brown University and the New York Public Library.

The list also includes Diana L. Eck, founder and director of the Harvard-based Pluralism Project to analyze American religious diversity; Nancye Brown Gaj, director of Motheread Inc., a national family literacy program; historian and educator Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.; and essayist and critic Garry Wills.

Ruiz's work includes a dozen books on the history of Hispanic America that have traced such seminal events as the Mexican and Cuban revolutions, and relationships such as those between Mexican workers and American capitalists. His latest, published this month, is "On the Rim of Mexico: Encounters of the Rich and Poor" (Westview Press).

"I'm delighted," Ruiz, 77, said Tuesday by telephone from UC Santa Barbara, where he was lecturing on the expanding global economy and its effect on Mexico. He said he hopes the medal heightens awareness of his published works, which he sees as the key to a legacy elusive to many educators.

"Teachers have a way of being forgotten quickly," he said.

The National Endowment for the Arts announced a separate list of 12 people and organizations to receive National Arts Medals. For a list, see today's Calendar section.

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