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Ruhoff Wins Thayer Award


Lander University graduate Brooke Ruhoff displays the Thayer Award, presented to her during a Thursday, May 25 ceremony at Lander. Joining her, from left, are Dr. Mick Fekula, Starnes Family dean of the College of Business; Dr. Mark Rollins, dean of the College of Arts and Humanities; and Van Taylor, interim vice president for University Advancement. Photo by Laura B. Wood

Brooke Ruhoff, of Greenwood, is this year’s winner of the Thayer Award, presented to the Lander University student graduating with the highest grade point average.

The award honors civic leader Henry K. Thayer, who served as president of Thayer’s, Inc. of Greenwood for many years. Thayer, a U.S. Army major during World War II, died in 2006.

Ruhoff earned both a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an emphasis in marketing and management, and a Bachelor of Design in Graphic Design and Interactive Media. She graduated with 159 credit hours, earning an “A” in every course she took.

She was forced to take numerous courses online because of the COVID-19 epidemic, and that makes her accomplishment all the more impressive, according to Dr. Mick Fekula, Starnes Family dean of the College of Business.

“Brooke has earned two significantly different degrees in very different learning environments during the world’s most catastrophic event in recent history. She did it with the diligence and discipline required to achieve a perfect grade point average,” Fekula said.

Associate Professor of Art Fathima Nazim-Starnes described Ruhoff as “absolutely incredible. For years to come, I will always show her work as examples to students.”

One of the keys to earning two degrees in four years is taking “a lot of summer classes,” and time management is important, according to Ruhoff. She said she tries to “prioritize things that need to get done, and then see what time I have left after that.”

She already has a job. She’s a graphic designer at Infinity Marketing in Greenville.

“It’s kind of continuing on the work I was doing as an intern there,” she said.

She hopes to become a senior graphic designer, “and see how far I get with that.”