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Literacy New York Celebrates Ruth Colvin's 100th Birthday

by Janice Cuddahee
Thu, Dec 1st 2016 10:00 am

Representatives of Literacy New York joined a legion of supporters in November at an event designed to honor Ruth Colvin for her work to increase literacy in the Syracuse community—and to celebrate her 100th Birthday.

From our friends at LiteracyCNY, a member of our provider network:

In 1961, Ruth Colvin read an article in the local paper indicating there were more than 11,000 adults in Onondaga County who were "functionally illiterate" and wondered why nobody did anything about it. So, she did! Ruth developed a tutoring method in partnership with colleagues at Syracuse University, and that initial effort grew into the organization now known as LiteracyCNY. Through Church Women United, the Literacy movement spread across New York State, and eventually, Ruth's national organization, Literacy Volunteers of America, Inc. was founded in 1972.

Ruth has been honored for her work in literacy by three U.S. Presidents and has received numerous awards and recognitions. Among these awards is the highly prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom, bestowed on Ruth in 2006 by President George W. Bush. She has been inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame, as well as honored alongside Laura Bush by Women's Day Magazine as "Women Who Inspire Us". Ruth has received honorary degrees from several institutions of higher education, and authored numerous literacy, training manuals.

Robert Dewey, Co-Chair of the Birthday of the Century Committee, said, "We, as members of the Syracuse community, are so proud of Ruth as well as indebted to her for all she has accomplished on behalf of adult literacy."

In connection with the Celebration, the LiteracyCNY Board of Directors has established The Ruth J. Colvin Endowment Fund to Benefit LiteracyCNY to ensure a stable and lasting commitment to Ruth's vision for adult literacy education and training in our community.

LiteracyCNY's mission is to provide adults in Central New York with the literacy tools and skills that they need to be contributing, productive, and engaged members of the community. The organization advocates for adult education, provides instruction, and partners with other community based agencies. Improving Adult Literacy makes our community stronger. 

Thanks to LiteracyCNY Board of Directors and its Executive Director Marsha Tait for such a wonderful event!

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