In 1992, Nancy (Adams) Ruhnke Vic 7T3 was asked by professor emeritus F. David Hoeniger Vic 4T6 if she had an afternoon to spare. She could not have imagined where her answer would lead. Seventeen years and over $1 million later, Ruhnke has been named the recipient of the 2008 Distinguished Alumni Award.
Ruhnke has been a member of the Friends of the Victoria University Library since the group’s inception in 1992. She served as the executive’s chair from 1998 to 2008 and chaired the organizing committee for the group’s annual book sale from 1997 to 2008. In both areas of involvement, she helped the Friends consistently raise a wealth of support for library initiatives.
Ruhnke has been called the “heart and soul” of the Vic Book Sale by her fellow volunteers. Each year, in addition to her executive responsibilities for the event, which requires the services of over 160 volunteers, Ruhnke has managed the process of transporting, sorting and pricing the tens of thousands of books donated for sale. This task alone is a full-time, back-breaking job that demands perseverance, organizational skill and patience.
Ruhnke’s thoughts on her volunteer experience to date? “The people I’ve worked with are utterly indispensable to the operation. What I have stored up most in my memory is the laughter we volunteers have shared, the lifelong friendships we have forged, and the sense that we have been able to do some good for Vic.”