Q&A with the President

Meet the Interim President of De Smet

Interim+President+Kevin+Ruder+sits+in+his+office.

Michael Dolan

Interim President Kevin Ruder sits in his office.

Michael Dolan, Staff Writer

Q: What is your name and title?
A: My name is Kevin Ruder and I am the interim president at De Smet Jesuit.

Q: What was your job prior to this?
A: I have been in branding and marketing for about 22 years and then took a year off to do this. I was with Anheuser-Busch, then after that I was with a company called “901 Tequila.”

Q: What was the reasoning behind you switching jobs?
A: I have been on the board for a while and they were looking for someone to be Interim President to step in for a year. Graduating from here made the decision more clear.

Q: What graduating class were you in?
A: I graduated from here in 1993.

Q: What are some things you are looking forward to with this job?
A: Well, it’s great to be back in the building and it’s very cool to see all the boys and the sports because I’m a sports guy and love to see the guys compete. It’s neat to have a change of pace from being in the corporate world to a school is very neat for me and exciting.

Q: How would you describe some of your leadership values?
A: You know what, I’m a big fan of hitters hit and pitchers’ pitch. I think there’s a lot of really talented folks here. I think from a leadership standpoint when you have good leaders you just try not to get in their way and give open support wherever they need it but let them do their jobs.

Q: Is there anything specific you’re looking to changes to the school?
A: Not really I think right now we are in a crazy difficult time.
anything like that answer my job inside the building is to try and make sure that everybody is supported and they feel calm. Obviously, the boys will be fine because they’re resilient, but you know there is some shared concern with some parents and teachers with what it looks like but we just need to make sure we’re all communicating well to our community. That’s the best thing we can do right now.

Q: Do you have any kids present at De Smet?
A: I have Nolan Ruder 21’, Thomas Ruder 23’, and a son Jack that graduated in 18’.

I have a ton of passion for this place. I think the culture here is great. No matter what challenges we face we, use the teachings of De Smet and of society to figure it out, discuss it, and handle it.”

— Kevin Ruder

Q: What is the biggest difference between when you went here in the 90’s compared to now?
A: Anytime you go to school somewhere and then come back 20-25 years later, the facilities have changed drastically. The soccer field is amazing and the practice fields are bigger. We didn’t have those practice fields up there, (North field) those were all homes. Also, one of the biggest differences is the nice weight room. It’s different when you’re a student here and you don’t notice all the things you do when you’re an adult but you know the faculty here is so well-rounded, so caring, so smart, so passionate, and those are some things that stick out.

Q: What is your favorite part about the faculty here at De Smet?
A: Remind me a lot of the whole culture of De Smet and the students. Nothing shakes them, their fearless, they need to be heard, and supported. We are in the middle of a pandemic and they’re all in the building so that tells you everything you need to know about the faculty.

Q: What do you think the culture here at De Smet is?
A: I think the culture here is one of understanding, resilience. No matter what challenges we face we use the teachings of De Smet and of society to figure it out, discuss it, and handle it. The culture here is fantastic and there is not one member of faculty here that I don’t feel comfortable enough to go talk to about anything, whether it’s my problem or something I need help with, they are all very supportive.

Q: What are some things about you no one else knows?
A: I have a ton of passion for this place. I’m a golf fanatic and a shoe fanatic. I like being around the energy of this building. It truly is fantastic. I love to fish with my boys and love to watch all my kids sports. I also love spending time with my wife and three dogs. I have two vizslas and a French bulldog. I bring the French bulldog here a couple times a week, he’s a little puppy. Family is probably my number one hobby right now, because they have been pretty active. Then we have what we call our “fourth son”, Zdenek, who is also a sophomore who is from the Czech Republic who lives with us. He has been an exciting addition. I want everyone to know from students to faculty that my door is always open, anybody anytime can come talk to me. We are all in this thing together.