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 Michael and Elizabeth Ruane gift creates Providence College economics chair

Michael and Elizabeth Ruane to create Providence College economics chair.


Former Providence College Board of Trustees Chair Michael A. Ruane ’71 & ’13Hon. and his wife, Elizabeth Ruane, have made a significant gift in support of the College’s Department of Economics. ​

Their commitment will create the endowed Michael A. Ruane Distinguished Chair in Economics. Proceeds from the endowment will support this faculty position in perpetuity, allowing PC to enhance teaching, scholarship, and outreach in that discipline. 

Combined with a second element, which PC will announce in detail next Tuesday, this is the largest gift the College has ever received from a living alumnus.

The Ruanes’ support for Providence College is beyond compare. This is the second endowed chair they have created at the College, along with the Michael A. Ruane Endowed Chair for Innovation in Business Education in the School of Business, to which Dr. M. Cary Collins was appointed on Aug. 1, 2013. 

The Ruane Center for the Humanities, dedicated in 2013, is named for them, as is the Ruane Atrium at Concannon Fitness Center. They also have provided support for various PC programs and initiatives over decades of exemplary leadership.

“Mike, Liz, and their family once again have honored us by demonstrating their extraordinary commitment to Providence College and its future by providing this wonderful gift to support academic programming,” said Rev. Brian J. Shanley, O.P. ’80, PC’s president. “Their positive impact will continue for generations to come, and we are grateful beyond words.”

Ruane earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from PC in 1971, then an M.B.A. from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the founding owner, chair, and managing partner of Boston-based TA Realty, one of the nation’s largest real estate investment advisory firms. 

“Providence College’s capacity to continue to develop leaders – as it has done for generations – depends on strong academic programs led by exceptional, inspirational professors,” Ruane said. “As we observe the College’s continuing progress toward its high aspirations, we are inspired to invest in its future by supporting this important faculty position.”

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Hugh F. Lena has appointed Dr. Leo H. Kahane as the first Ruane Distinguished Chair in Economics. Kahane, whose five-year appointment to this new position takes effect July 1, 2016, currently serves as a professor of economics and interim department chair. He has been a PC faculty member since 2010.

​“Dr. Kahane is an innovative educator and prominent scholar who will continue to provide superb leadership in this new role,” Lena said. “As Ruane Chair, he will serve as an invaluable resource for his fellow faculty members, students, and those who work with the economics department on collaborative initiatives.”

The creation of faculty chairs is an identified priority in the Providence College Strategic Plan. They signal a commitment to quality scholarship and teaching, while serving to enhance academic reputation and institutional prestige, according to Lena.

“Named faculty positions provide a means for recognizing scholarly excellence,” Lena said. 

Economics is one of 40 undergraduate programs in PC’s School of Arts & Sciences. Dr. Sheila Adamus Liotta, the school’s dean, says the new chair will enhance the department’s ability to serve the College’s mission and its students.​

“Economics is a quintessential liberal arts discipline, which provides students with the knowledge and perspectives they need to be successful,” Adamus Liotta said. “This thoughtful gift will enhance our economics department at a time when its dynamic faculty is already leading it in new, exciting directions.”

Creation of this faculty chair is one element of a multi-faceted gift the Ruanes are making to Providence College at this time. PC plans an announcement event related to the balance of this extraordinary new commitment on Tuesday, Dec. 15.​


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