Investing in Saint Leo’s Mission: A Legacy of Generosity


Lawrence “Larry” Ruf

When Lawrence “Larry” Ruf was deciding how to handle his estate, he wanted to make sure the proceeds would go to those who supported his Catholic faith. Recently widowed and without children, it was up to Larry to ensure the estate he and his late wife built spoke for their values. And he wished to proceed from a spirit of service and generosity.

While contemplating this decision with a neighbor, Larry was first told about Saint Leo University as an institution that fit with his values and would honor his wishes. For Larry, it was important that any gift provide a direct benefit to those in need. After making several 70-mile trips from his Bradenton, FL, home to the University Campus, Larry was confident that Saint Leo was worthy of his investment.

Upon Larry’s passing at the age of 95, most of his estate went to the Manatee Community Foundation. Larry chose the foundation to carry out the responsibility of disbursing the funds to causes he was most passionate about. Larry’s generous gift provided $50,000 to Saint Leo University each year until the funds were completely distributed. The sum directed to Saint Leo was used to create an endowed scholarship named in honor of Larry. The scholarship awards help deserving students with demonstrated financial need.

Some of the Saint Leo students who are currently receiving financial support from Larry’s endowed scholarship told us what his bequest means to them.

“This support means I can keep succeeding in school and become what I want so I can better help others in the long run.” – Brigit Leaverton ’20, Biology

“This scholarship reminds me that I have people who believe in my education and passion for learning. I could never thank Mr. Ruf enough. I am so very grateful for this scholarship and chance to grow.” – MacKenzie Jones ’19, Social Work

“It is my dream to become a doctor and give back to my community for helping achieve my dream. This support allows me to continue pursuing that dream.” – David Guadarrama ’19, Biology

We find that these sentiments are common among the students who have benefitted from the generosity of our donors. While individual goals vary from student to student, the need for financial assistance is a recurring theme.

We have been blessed to receive gifts from people who believe in our mission to seek balanced growth in mind, body, and spirit for all members of our community. If you, too, support our mission and would like to find a way to assist future students, please consider including Saint Leo University in your estate plan. Contact us at (352) 588-8415 or You will be making an impact that may last for generations.


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