Friday, December 2, 2011

Ruffin instrumental in preserving '70 Herd's legacy

By Bill Dodson
       I attended Homecoming 2010 when we dedicated the Nate Ruffin Lounge at the new Erickson Alumni Center.  It is a marvelous room filled with Marshall University memorabilia.  You could do a great tailgate party there!  
     The University commissioned a bust of a young Nate, which was made available for public viewing at the lounge dedication. Carter Taylor Seaton, the sculptor who created the bust, was in attendance.  When visitors enter the lounge area, they are greeted by Nate’s bust. On the front-door entrance to the lounge, there’s an etched-in-glass likeness of Nate.
       As the dedication program progressed, I noticed a black couple who sat across the table from me that I did not know. Afterwards, they were introduced to me as Nate's brother and his wife from Quincy, Florida where Nate grew up and played football.  They were overwhelmed by the kind words and expressions about Nate on this special occasion.
       I am proud of the MU Black Alumni's (MUBA) support of Nate Ruffin. In my last meeting with Nate (2000), we discussed ways to get more black alumni involved with the school.
       After his death in October 2001, it was clear to me that Nate could be the one figure we could rally around. As an icon of the 1971 football team who was active with the school and MUBA, he was a true champion for preserving the 1970 team's legacy.
       It will bless you to watch the YouTube video of Nate reading a letter to his fallen teammates on an ABC-TV network broadcast that aired in 2000. The video provided a means for the school to increase awareness of MU's Campaign for National Prominence as well as to solicit increased support from the school’s black alumni.

Bill Dodson is a Marshall graduate and executive director of the Dayspring Christian Community Development Corporation in Columbus, Ohio.

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