Fred Ruiz, chairman emeritus and co-funder of Ruiz Food, received Fresno State President’s Medal of Distinction from university president Dr. Joseph I. Castro on Thursday, Feb. 8 during the State of the University breakfast at the Save Mart Center.
“This medal of distinction is the highest non-degree award presented by our university,” said Castro, adding the medal is presented to “citizens of the region, state or nation whose achievements are worthy of emulation.”
Ruiz and his father Louis Flores Ruiz founded their company Ruiz Food in a warehouse in Tulare and now the Dinuba-based company is the nation’s largest manufacturer of frozen Mexican food from chimichangas, taquitos, tamales quesadillas, chile rellenos to a whole line of breakfast burritos.
“Fred, the Central Valley has historically produced trailblazers and Fresno State has capitalized on this heritage to create an environment where distinction can thrive,” said Castro after he asked Ruiz to join him on the stage.
“At Fresno State, we are grateful for the many ways you have helped advance our academic and athletic programs, including the Institute for Family Business through the Craig School of Business,” Castro said.
Ruiz’ family has a history of supporting business education at Fresno State.
Last year, Ruiz’ company pledged $1 million to Fresno State to expand the University Business Center at the Craig School of Business. The gift established the “Ruiz Foods Executive Classrooms,” a state-of-the-art learning environment for students throughout the Craig School of Business.
Ruiz, now retired, has received other awards from Fresno State. He was the 12th Community Salute honoree by the Ag One Foundation at California State University, Fresno for his support of California agriculture and commitment to the community.
You are a pioneer and role-model.
Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro
“You are a pioneer and role-model. You and your father established Ruiz Foods in 1964 and today it is an internationally successful business,” said Castro adding that Ruiz has “embodied caring for community through your investment of volunteer leadership, advocacy and giving.”
Ruiz was a member of the University of California Board of Regents for 12 years and has been a tireless education advocate of children in the Central Valley.
For more than 25 years, Ruiz Foods has supported the educational needs of youth students in the Valley through Ruiz 4 Kids scholarships.