Across the country and around the world, alumni leaders focus their time and energy on Rutgers-related causes. They make an impact through their involvement with RUAA chartered organizations or through their own personal efforts. Presented in October, the 10th annual Rutgers Excellence in Alumni Leadership Awards honored the spirited volunteerism of three graduates and six groups.

Names to Notice

Three awards went to leaders who have strengthened the reputation of Rutgers through their volunteer efforts.

Scarlet Forever
Ron Garutti RC’67—for his lifelong support of Rutgers. From his fundraising for scholarships, athletics facilities, and other infrastructure to his leadership as a career mentor and Board of Trustee vice chair, Garutti has proven to be a steadfast champion of all things scarlet.

Volunteer of the Year
Linda C. Smith RC’76—for her ongoing leadership of the Rutgers Alumnae Women’s Professional Network. Smith founded the organization in 2014 after identifying a lack of networking and mentorship opportunities for women. The group now includes more than 600 members.

Young Alumni Service

Matt Lanza CC’04—for his community outreach and food bank organizing during and after Hurricane Harvey in Texas. Lanza is a Houston meteorologist as well as the president and a founding member of the Rutgers Club of Houston and Southeast Texas. 

Groups on the Go

Six alumni groups received awards in a range of categories.

The Veteran Alumni of Rutgers University—for partnering with the Warrior Writers and Rutgers University–Camden’s Writers House on a series of literary programs for veterans.

Student Engagement
The Rutgers Club of New York City—for hosting more than 600 attendees, including 100 first-year students and 50 university and high school students, at its 2017 Yankee Outing.

Professional Development
The Rutgers Business School Alumni Association—for  webinars on entrepreneurship and job hunting that drew hundreds of online participants and capacity in-person attendance.

Community Service
The University College Rutgers–New Brunswick Alumni Association—for its “Thank You to Our Veterans” Game Night at the New Jersey Hospital for Veterans, in Lyons.

The Cook Community Alumni Association—for supporting the Rutgers Gardens Cook’s Market shelter, a development with economic and cultural benefits for the area.

The Rutgers Club of Central Florida—for outreach work for the Big Ten Alumni Family Picnic, leading to an increase in new members and reengagement with existing ones.

To learn more about the honorees—including all six chartered organizations—or to view photos from this year’s Rutgers Excellence in Alumni Leadership Conference and Awards, visit