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      Celebrating Our Successful Alums

      From Business Alumna to Judge

      Academic Workshop for Young Women

      Demectrica Todd-Ruiz and Dr. Jayati Ghosh, dean of the School of Business Administration, both spoke during the 2017 Academic Workshop for Young Women.

      If you asked Demetrica Todd-Ruiz, ‘95, ‘96 what she wanted to be when she grew up, she would always answer: “a lawyer.” Since she was six-years-old, Todd-Ruiz was influenced by strong lawyer characters on TV and aspired to be like them. “Helping the innocent was my motivation,” she said. “I wanted to help the underdog. That is why I chose a career in law,” she said.

      On January 26, Todd-Ruiz was sworn in as judge of the Municipal Court in Vineland, NJ.

      She never planned on becoming a judge, but after receiving her bachelors of business administration in accounting and a master in taxation & financial planning from Widener, and then her law degree from Rutgers University, she realized she could be whatever she wanted to be.

      Not only did Todd-Ruiz fulfill her goal of becoming a judge this year, but she was also the first woman and the first African American to hold the position.

      Todd-Ruiz previously served as a public defender and a prosecutor. She also worked on a number of community-strengthening economic initiatives for the Gateway Community Action Partnership.

      Her desire to help and make a difference has motivated her to stay active in her local community. She is currently the treasurer of the Completecare Health Network and is a board member of the Bridgeton Police Athletic League, Seabrook House, and Cumberland County Habitat for Humanity.

      Despite her busy schedule, Todd-Ruiz always finds time to support initiatives at Widener. She was the African American Alumni Association co-chair from 2004-2015, and she served on the African American Alumni Scholarship selection committee and the executive committee of the Alumni Council. She often attends Homecoming as well as alumni outings to the Phillies and Sixers games.

      At the School of Business Administration, she gives back in many ways including speaking at the last two academic workshops for young women. Jessica Hoopes, assistant dean for relationship development in the School of Business Administration, thinks it’s important to have students connect with someone like Todd-Ruiz. “She is able to connect with the students personally, while sharing her message of overcoming obstacles, staying positive, and being true to yourself.”

      Outside of the courtroom, Todd-Ruiz fills the role of “soccer mom,” shuttling her sixteen-year-old daughter to practices and games. Having competed in track & field and basketball for Widener, she has transitioned to cheering her daughter on from the sidelines. Todd-Ruiz enjoys time with her family; she loves to travel with her daughter and husband. She is looking forward to their summer vacation in New Orleans. But in the meantime, she is happy to be making history on the bench.


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