Marist Magazine

Dominick LaRuffa ’78 Shares Wisdom with HEOP Freshmen

Leslie Bates

Dominick LaRuffa ’78, an alumnus of the Arthur O. Eve Higher Education Opportunity Program at Marist, met with HEOP freshmen to share thoughts on collegiate life and his successful career in sales.

Dominick and Lee LaRuffa with Marist Higher Education Opportunity Program students

Lee and Dominick (’78) LaRuffa join HEOP students (left to right) Fernanda Ramirez-Mejia ’22, Cesar Jimenez ’22, and Gabriel Bautista ’21 during a visit to campus. Dominick is a Marist HEOP alumnus. Photo: Al Nowak/On Location

Fall 2018 — “It doesn’t matter where you start out. It’s where you end up.”

That was just one of the observations Dominick LaRuffa ’78 shared with students in the Arthur O. Eve Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) as they prepared to enter their first year at Marist. LaRuffa, joined by his wife, Lee, met with 18 students this past summer to reflect on collegiate life and his successful career in sales of hardware, software, and security systems to the hospitality industry.

LaRuffa too was once a HEOP student at Marist. Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, he said he was the first in his family to go to college. Starting out at Marist as a psychology major, he eventually focused on media, communication, and advertising. After graduating cum laude with a BA in communication arts, he landed a sales position with the Chamber of Commerce of the United States that eventually led to more opportunities in sales with companies including Sharp, TecAmerica, and Sweda International.

LaRuffa added that when he took a job, it wasn’t always about the money. “Every job I was doing, I did with the same vitality.”

“I knew that there was a better life out there for me and my family. I resigned myself to push forward, even when there were failures. I never let life defeat me.”

He is grateful for his Marist College education. “I had such a great experience being on campus here. I thank God every day for the experience I got at Marist.”

The students appreciated the presentation. “His motivation to continue learning after he graduated showed us that we can always improve and continue learning even after we graduate and get our degrees,” said HEOP freshman Cesar Jimenez.

LaRuffa retired in 2012 as a senior account executive from Micros Retail Systems Inc. after 17 years with the company. He and his wife are founding members of the Marist Legacy Society, a group of individuals who have included Marist in their estate plans.

Following his talk with the students, LaRuffa and his wife had a surprise for HEOP: a gift for the HEOP Alumni Fund. The fund helps students by providing financial support for essential needs beyond tuition such as fare for commuting, professional attire for internship opportunities, and other academic and career-related expenses not covered by financial aid or the HEOP grant.

“Dominick and Lee LaRuffa have been loyal contributors to the HEOP Alumni Fund,” said Iris Ruiz-Grech, director of the Center for Multicultural Affairs/Arthur O. Eve Higher Education Opportunity Program. “It was a great honor to meet them in person. Dominick’s talk to the HEOP freshmen was on point with what they learn during the summer program. Everyone has an opportunity to be successful. Dominick is a great example that ‘HEOP Works!’ ”

To read the full fall 2018 issue of Marist magazine, click here.

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