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A gift to help students "live the life"
An appreciation for international experiences, confidence in the direction of Loyola University Chicago, and a passion for Italian culture inspired Ruthellyn (BA '75) and Ron Musil to visit the John Felice Rome Center for the first time in 2008. Since then, the Musils have developed a strong relationship with the JFRC and have decided to support its future with a bequest in their estate plans. "Although we did not study at the JFRC, we know it changes lives," says Ruthellyn.
The Musils designated a substantial portion of their estate to fund student scholarships. That will allow students otherwise unable to attend the JFRC to have this rich experience by offsetting the cost of housing, tuition, and other expenses. In addition, the Musils' gift will provide stipends for students to engage in experiential learning.
"In today's world, true cultural understanding requires more than just visiting a foreign country; it requires 'living the life,'" says Ruthellyn. "This means attempting to speak the language, being open to different political opinions, and learning about civilizations that predate American history by thousands of years."
Ron and Ruthellyn own a home in Tuscany, where they spend several months each year and occasionally host students. They support and helped create a "Tuscan Weekend," an immersion opportunity for students to learn Tuscan history while also sampling its savory delicacies.
"Our hope is that the participants will experience and understand the richness of a simple culture that has endured for thousands of years," says Ron.
The Musils hope other friends of the JFRC will consider making a similar gift, whether to support scholarships or the current renovation of the JFRC campus — all part of the Insieme per il futuro campaign.
In 2007, Ruthellyn retired after 36 years at the Tribune Company in Chicago. She serves on Loyola's board of trustees and on an advisory committee for the School of Communication. Ron retired as president of the Banta Book Group in 2003.
In retirement, Ron and Ruthellyn are enjoying the opportunity to give back. "If what we do encourages other people to do similar things, or to realize it's even a possibility, then we will have accomplished what we set out to do."
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