DUBUQUE, Iowa — Albert Ruffalo (’69) of Loras College and Executive Chairman of Ruffalo Noel Levitz, will deliver the keynote address for the college’s 178th commencement at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, May 20 at its Rock Bowl Stadium.
“Al’s entrepreneurial spirit is only matched by his desire to serve others,” Jim Collins, president of Loras College, said. “In addition to his immeasurable business accomplishments, he has led by example in the areas of philanthropy and volunteerism. We are grateful for Al’s vision as a loyal member of the Loras family and look forward to hearing his story as a first generation college graduate.”
Under Ruffalo’s guidance, Ruffalo Noel Levitz now serves more than 3,000 colleges, universities, and nonprofit clients throughout the globe. Though he sold RuffaloCODY to McLeodUSA in 1996, Ruffalo repurchased the company in 2001. Under his direction, it grew more than 250 percent between 2006 and 2012, and, in 2013, Ruffalo stepped into the role of executive chairman. In 2014, RuffaloCODY merged with Noel-Levitz to become Ruffalo Noel Levitz. It’s now one of the fastest-growing private companies in the nation—as well as one of the largest employers in Cedar Rapids.
Ruffalo serves as a Regent Emeritus of Loras College and serves on the following boards: Mercy Medical Center, Junior Achievement, Big Brothers Big Sisters, University of Iowa Education Advisory Board, Bankers Trust, Higher Learning Technology, and Converge Consulting.
Ruffalo graduated from Loras in 1969 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. The first-generation college graduate also holds a master’s degree in education administration from the University of Iowa and got his professional start as a teacher and assistant principal.
Additionally, he has served as marketing manager for National Oats Company in Cedar Rapids, and administrator for Cedar Rapids Community Schools.
Ruffalo began his career in telecommunication services in 1983 when he joined Telecom USA, Inc. Under his leadership, Telecom USA Direct became the fastest growing subsidiary of Telecom USA. In 1990, Telecom USA Direct was named the third largest inbound and outbound telemarketing center in the country by Telemarketing Magazine.
In 1984, he became president of McLeodUSA Direct in Cedar Rapids and in 1991 created his own company, RuffaloCODY in Cedar Rapids. In 1995 RuffaloCODY was ranked 26th among Inc. Magazine’s 500 fastest-growing private companies in the United States. Ruffalo earned a 1993 nomination as Midwest Entrepreneur of the Year and a 1994 Midwest Emerging Entrepreneur Award from Inc. Magazine.
Ruffalo has been named Corridor Business Journal Leader of the Year, 2007; Junior Achievement Business Laureate Hall of Fame member, 2008; Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneur of the Year, 2010; and received the Loras College Distinguished Alumni Award, 2011, and 2016 University of Iowa Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award.
ABOUT LORAS COLLEGE
Loras leverages its historic roots as Iowa’s first college, the second oldest Catholic college west of the Mississippi River and one of the nation’s 10 diocesan institutions to deliver challenging, life-changing experiences as part of its residential, Catholic setting. Loras ranks among 450 NCAA Division III athletic programs in Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup standings, 11th out of the Top 100 baccalaureate colleges, according to the 2016 Washington Monthly College Rankings, 13th Best Regional College, according to Midwest U.S. News Best Colleges and is among the 200 Best-Loved Colleges in the nation, according to Forbes Magazine.