Elizabeth Spencer Ruppert and Robert Maxwell exemplify Lourdes University's commitment to service. As community volunteers, advisors and professionals, both have devoted their lives to being of service to others. This spring, Lourdes honored both individuals with Doctor of Public Service degrees during the institution's 2012 commencement ceremony.

Elizabeth Spencer Ruppert, MD, FAAP

Elizabeth Spencer Ruppert

As commencement speaker, Dr. Ruppert stressed the importance of serving others, reflecting on her own career and involvement in the community.

"I have known Libby for many years," reflects Mary Arquette, Vice President for Institutional Advancement. "There is not a more compassionate woman who truly cares about our community and works at making it a better place for all of us."

For more than 40 years, Dr. Ruppert has shared her passion for medicine with students as an academician. She began her career in academia in 1965 as Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at The Ohio State University and today serves as Professor Emeritus for The University of Toledo's College of Medicine.

Dr. Ruppert has also held esteemed posts at The Ohio State University's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and the Columbus Children's Hospital. She is founder of The Prescribed Pediatric Center and a founding member of The EduCare Center, the Ohio AAP's Reach Out and Read literacy program and the Lucas County Initiative to Improve Birth Outcomes.

Lauded for the advancements she has made in her field, her accomplishments include:

  • Ohio Women's Hall of Fame inductee
  • Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Northwest Ohio's Hero's Award
  • Mercy Children's Hospital's Child Health Advocacy Award
  • Press Club of Toledo's Touchstone Lifetime Achievement Award
  • YWCA of Greater Toledo's Milestone Award in Medicine

Additionally, The Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics established The Elizabeth Spencer Ruppert Outstanding Pediatrician of the Year Award in her honor.

Her contributions to the world do not end with her professional career. Dr. Ruppert is active in a number of local causes and organizations including the Association for Children with Learning Disabilities Ohio Chapter, Camp Courageous, Inc., Easter Seals of Northwest Ohio, the Lucas County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, the Lucas County Family and Children's First Cabinet Council, the Toledo Community Foundation and WSOS Project Head Start.

As a founding member of the United Way of Greater Toledo's Women's Initiative and former United Way Board of Trustees Chair, she was influential in bringing an endowed scholarship benefitting underserved women to Lourdes University. Dr. Ruppert also serves the Lourdes community as a member of the President's Advisory Council.

"Lourdes is very thankful for the scholarship support provided by Dr. Ruppert and the United Way Women's Initiative," adds Mary. "As a result, we are able to continue providing an affordable, values-centered education to many women throughout the region!"

She shares a love of medicine with her husband Dr. Richard Ruppert, former president for the Medical College of Ohio. The couple are blessed with four adult daughters, four sons-in-law and seven grandchildren.

Robert L. Maxwell, BS

Robert L. Maxwell

As a National Jefferson Award recipient, Robert Maxwell has lived his life in service to the community. He has devoted himself to numerous causes and served on more than a dozen boards and community committees including the Area Office on Aging, James C. Caldwell Community Center, Library Legacy Foundation, Regional Growth Partnership, St. Charles Hospital Foundation, the Toledo Club, the Toledo Museum of Art Building Committee and the Toledo Zoo.

He is an Associate Trustee with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Toledo and served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Mercy College of Northwest Ohio and the Toledo Area Chamber of Commerce.

A Nashville, TN, native, Robert earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Building Construction from Auburn University in Alabama. Upon graduation, he served his country as a member of the United States Air Force with the Strategic Air Command at March Air Force Base in California. In 1969, Robert joined the Lathrop Company in Toledo and was eventually named President after Turner Construction acquired the company. He also served as Senior Vice President of Turner.

As a leader at the Lathrop Turner Construction Company, his work can be seen in notable buildings throughout the region, including the Arctic Encounter at the Toledo Zoo, Fifth Third Field, the Huntington Center and Owens-Illinois' Corporate Headquarters.

Robert shares his business and philanthropic expertise with the Lourdes Community as a member of the Business & Leadership Advisory Council.

"Bob Maxwell is one of the most intelligent and insightful businessmen I've ever met – and one of the quickest in cutting through a financial statement or a tricky problem – yet his personal warmth and self-effacing humor make him an extraordinarily accessible human being," shares Dean Ludwig, PhD, Dean of the College of Business & Leadership. "He is a gentleman through and through!"

He and his wife of over 50 years, Kathie are proud parents of Glenn, Lisbeth and Margo and grandparents to Claire and Sara.