For nearly half a century, Pulitzer Prize-winner Robert W. Ruhl was one of Oregon’s respected newspaper journalists. Ruhl, who died in 1967, was editor and publisher of the Medford Mail Tribune.
He performed his duties with a high sense of responsibility to the public and with uncompromising ethics. In one instance, he wrote a series of editorials against a government reform group that was inciting unrest in the area. The paper’s editorials won the 1934 Pulitzer Prize for distinguished and meritorious public service.
The Robert and Mabel Ruhl Endowment was established in 1973 and 1974 by Mabel W. Ruhl, Robert’s widow. She specified that the income from the Endowment should be used to foster mutually beneficial contact between the School of Journalism and Communication and the mass media.
The concept of an annual Ruhl Symposium grew out of this directive. The Symposium brings to campus a distinguished American journalist who delivers a public lecture on an issue of significance for contemporary journalism. A fellowship program is a complementary part of the Symposium. Each year, the fellowship brings accomplished journalists to the School. During their visits, they lecture, write, and talk to students and faculty.
The Ruhl Lecturers and Fellows have helped the School of Journalism and Communication achieve Mrs. Ruhl’s expressed hope that the Symposium would contribute to “the development of students into dedicated journalists. I feel it is especially important today that we restore in this field of journalism a greater sense of ethics, responsibility, and dedication.”