Ruth Johnson Colvin is the founder of Literacy Volunteers of America (now, ProLiteracy) and Literacy Volunteers of Greater Syracuse (now Literacy CNY), a member of the National Women’s Hall of Fame, an author, speaker, recipient of nine Honorary Degrees, the Presidential Volunteer Action Award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and countless other awards and honors. Ruth is a remarkable part of our local, and national, history and has changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people all over the world.
As Ruth turns one hundred years old in December of 2016, OHA was commissioned by Literacy CNY to produce a film from almost four hours of filmed oral history interviews with Ruth that were taken over several months in 2014. The film, “The Story of Ruth Colvin – A Hundred Years in the Making,” debuted at The Birthday Party of the Century, a benefit for Literacy CNY to celebrate Ruth’s one hundredth birthday in the Grand Ballroom of the Marriott Syracuse Downtown on November 18, 2016.
Ruth’s accomplishments are legendary, her perspective and philosophy of life represent good values and lessons to live by. Though she counts world leaders and celebrities as friends, she is humble and unassuming. And, at one hundred years old, Ruth still gets more done in a bad day than most of the rest of us do in a good week. She is motivational, inspirational, poignant, determined, funny, and dedicated.
OHA would like to thank Literacy CNY for allowing OHA to, once again, partner with them to highlight the tremendous history of the fight against illiteracy that was born right here in our community. We would also like to thank Courtney Rile, from Daylight Blue Media, for her expert assistance in editing and Pamela Priest, OHA’s Archivist, for assembling and scanning images for the film. A special thanks to Nancy and Bill Byrne for helping to make the film a reality.