It is with great sadness that RLL shares the passing of alumnus Ezequiel Luis Ruiz. Ziggy succumbed to Covid 19 on December 14, 2020.
Ziggy, as he was affectionately known, was a bright spot and a beloved student when he studied with RLL for his BA in Spanish and Italian. We followed his work at the International School with pride, knowing that he put his UB education to work in the service of so many. Here a just a few of the memories he created for faculty, his fellow students and his family.
Jorge Guitart, Spanish Professor Emeritus, remembers him fondly and joins our condolences. Professor of Spanish Elizabeth Scarlett remarked that he “was a wonderful person and an excellent student”. Professor William Egginton, now a Professor at Johns Hopkins, remembers your son in his seminar on Don Quijote, and thinks very positively of him, noting “his intelligence, interest, and academic vigor” and that he “was an active and enthusiastic participant in our class discussions, and his written work showed a willingness to engage with questions of daunting complexity."
Dr Bárbara Ávila-Shah, RLL language coordinator, commented that he was not only a “lovely human being” and a “kind and attentive person”, but also an “amazing cook.“ In fact, Ziggy left a most memorable impression with a portable deep fryer and some empanadillas…. More precisely, he planned a group meal at the end of the semester for a group studying with Dr Ávila-Shah. Everyone participated and the conference room in 930 Clemens was packed with boisterous students. Many contributed to the luncheon but Ziggy's dish was the highlight of the meal. He made over 2 dozen empanadillas de carne, Puerto Rican style, from scratch (dough and beef). He brought his own small deep fryer, set it up and cooked them right there. The whole 9th floor smelled of food and people kept stopping by to see what we were doing and eating.
From Ziggy's mom, Lydia Ruiz:
...[Ziggy] was very attentive to his parents, his brothers and his close friends. He had two nieces that he loved very much. If anyone was even remotely in his circle, you knew you would be in for a wonderful culinary treat. His love for cooking and new experiences made him who he was.
Who joins the United States Navy at 39.8 years old? Ziggy did. And, with two weeks to spare to lose some inches off of his neck size to meet the requirements of the military. We never saw him exercise more than in those two weeks. His only complaint was the mosquitos while stationed in Mississippi.
His obvious passions were cooking, dancing and languages. He was fluent in Spanish, Italian and was learning Arabic. He loved life and the people in it. We will miss him dearly, and apparently everyone else will as well.
An engaged, accomplished, and intelligent alumnus, Ezequiel made UB proud. We extend our sincere condolences to the Ruiz family at this difficult time. Please know that we remember him.