The Saint Ignatius Award, established by Col. Deborah Q. Geiger '83, is presented annually to a graduating student veteran who exemplifies selfless service, leadership, compassion, strong moral courage and commitment to excellence.
According to Bret Krotee, the Veterans Center coordinator at Alvernia University, David Ruppert '21 was an apt recipient of the 2021 award.
“David exemplifies those qualities more than any student I've met here,” Krotee said.
A veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, Ruppert faced some challenges while transitioning from his military career to university life.
“College sometimes doesn't come naturally to veterans,” he reflected. “We all think we're too old and that school is behind us.”
While getting used to classes and campus life, Ruppert drew on his military experience and applied the lessons he'd learned from challenges faced while in service. In time, he found a community at Alvernia, supported by fellow veterans, faculty, staff members and others.
“The Alvernia community is very understanding and helpful, and the Veterans Center was a great source of support,” Ruppert said. “It made it very easy to ease into the campus.”
Ruppert initially enrolled in Alvernia's Criminal Justice program but soon realized his interests and curiosity exceeded the confines of one major.
“I asked myself why I should limit my experience to just one degree when I had chances to explore other majors, too,” Ruppert said.