President’s Leadership Award

From diligent student to devoted alumna, trustee, and philanthropist, Virginia Ruesterholz has shaped an enduring relationship with her alma mater.

Ms. Ruesterholz has been a university trustee since 2007, serving as chair of the board from 2013 to 2018. As the board’s first-ever female chair, she steered the university in pursuing an ambitious ten-year strategic plan, and she presided over a period of unprecedented growth, including in enrollment, graduation rates, faculty roster, research grants, modernized facilities, endowment, and national rankings.

Ms. Ruesterholz also serves as an emeritus member of the President’s Leadership Council, and she previously sat on the advisory board of the School of Systems and Enterprises and co-chaired the Edwin A. Stevens Society for annual leadership-level giving. In 1995, she received the Stevens Honor Award.

With her husband, Kevin Ruesterholz ’83, Ms. Ruesterholz made one of the first major gifts of The Power of Stevens fundraising campaign, to establish the Ruesterholz Admissions Center, which since 2014 has welcomed thousands of prospective students and other visitors to campus. Additionally, Ms. Ruesterholz has supported numerous scholarship funds, most recently for the ACES initiative that seeks to provide more opportunities for students from underserved backgrounds.

Ms. Ruesterholz had an exceptional 28-year career with Verizon, during which she held many transformational leadership positions. As president of Verizon Telecom, a $30 billion unit that serves the consumer, general business, and wholesale markets, she led the nationwide rollout of Fios, the company’s game-changing, fiber-optic network. Ms. Ruesterholz was also president of Verizon Services Operations, a $10 billion unit of 25,000 employees with responsibility for Verizon’s global network, sourcing, supply chain, and real estate operations.

During her career, Ms. Ruesterholz received the Crain’s New York Business 40 Under 40 Award and the New York Women’s Agenda inaugural Rising Star Award. Ms. Ruesterholz currently serves on the boards of The Hartford, Frontier Communications, and Bed Bath & Beyond, and she previously served on the board of the Manhattan Theatre Club.

As a student, Ms. Ruesterholz was elected chapter president of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and she was also inducted into the Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society and was a member of the Society of Women Engineers. In her senior year, Ms. Ruesterholz earned the Distinguished Chemical Engineering Student Award.

In addition to her bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and an honorary doctorate from Stevens, Ms. Ruesterholz earned a master’s degree in telecommunications management from New York University. Ms. Ruesterholz and her husband are the parents of two wonderful children, Scott and Katie.