Ruth Nash: Leaving a Legacy


Ruth Nash

A native of rural Colorado, Ruth grew up on the family farm near Greeley and relates her strong work ethic to the values she learned since childhood.

Ruth had always been interested in nursing, but found that dietetics had more appeal. She graduated from Colorado State University in 1953 with high distinction and a degree in food and nutrition after which she completed a dietetic internship at the University of Oklahoma Hospitals and Clinics. To this day, Ruth attributes her career success to the training she received at CSU and says, "I wouldn't trade my four years there for anything. It was a great experience!"

After interning, Ruth worked in dietetics at a private hospital in Oklahoma City where she also did some work for the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. Two years later she joined their staff and participated in conducting metabolic research studies. It was there she met her husband Howard, who was an aspiring physician. He was finishing his senior year of medical school when they got married in 1957. After that, he did an internal medicine residency in Chicago for one year, the same year that they welcomed the birth of their first child.

In 1959 they moved to Iowa City, Iowa, where Howard completed his residency and they had two more children. Then, at age 32, Ruth became a widow with three small children. The challenge also became her saving grace. Ruth said "It was then I came to fully realize the importance of quality education. My excellent preparation allowed me to practice a profession that was gratifying and enabled me to rear my two sons and daughter and provide them each with a university education."

As a single mother, Ruth worked in metabolic research at the VA Hospital in Iowa City. She then moved to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where she pursued a career in clinical and administrative dietetics at Mercy Medical Center where she worked until retiring in 1998.

After the death of her mother, Ruth and her sister made the difficult decision to sell the family farm which left her with funds available to invest. In 2001, Ruth established the Ruth Lowe Nash Charitable Gift Annuity. She continues to receive quarterly distributions based on set annuity rates until her death, at which time her gift will establish an endowed scholarship in her name for a student in food science and human nutrition.

In retirement, Ruth's interest in nutrition continues. She volunteers for a summer nutrition support program for underprivileged families in two areas of Cedar Rapids. Many of these children have subsidized lunches during the school year, but not during summer. She also volunteers at Mercy hospital's information desk and at her church.

"When I think of my college experiences, I think of the lighting of the A on the hill," she fondly recalls. "I am impressed with the total growth of CSU and I am equally impressed with the College of Applied Human Sciences. The scope has increased so much, not only in our College, but overall in the University while not sacrificing quality for quantity."