Matthew Ruiz, Ph.D., associate professor of exercise science and chair of the department of kinesiology and sport leadership, will be leaving the university at the end of the school year for a faculty job at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn., his alma mater.
He has been at the university for nine years.
In an email to the exercise science department, Ruiz explained his reasoning behind his decision.
“I’m heading to Lipscomb for a few reasons,” he wrote in the email. “First, as I know many of you have embraced and fallen in love with HU because it’s your school, that’s the same way I feel about Lipscomb. My undergraduate experience there was amazing, and my goal at Huntington has always been to give students the same, if not better, experience than I had at my undergrad. The opportunity to return to my program and work with some of my old professors is a dream come true and something that was too good to pass up.”
Ruiz also said his wife’s family lives near LU, and his family will be closer as well.
“Family is important, and the opportunity to be closer to them is significant to my wife and I,” he wrote. “Many of you are aware of our daughter’s allergy problems. We need a fresh start for her in a place that might be better for her condition, and this is the perfect opportunity.”
Ruiz said he is not leaving the university because “I have lost faith or passion in HU.”
“It breaks my heart to leave behind our program and our students,” he wrote in the email. “If I have any regrets, it’s that I won’t be able to see many of you graduate and become alums. But, again, you are in good hands. Dr. Anderson is a masterful professor, and we will hire someone who will meet and exceed the current quality of our program. Dr. Emberton has the university headed in the right direction, so you have nothing to fear. The future is bright, and you will do wonderful things for the Lord through HU.”
Ruiz said his time at the university has been special because of the students.
“From those who’ve come before you, to those of you who are there now, my life has been truly blessed by your presence,” he wrote. “You’ve challenged me, inspired me, made me laugh, made me cry, made me angry and made me exceedingly happy. Our program and the students who’ve passed through it have seen much success, and the future will bring more. I will be leaving you in good hands, and you will do well.”
Senior Scott Skiles, an exercise science major, said Ruiz is making the right choice.
“Dr. Ruiz is an excellent professor as well as an upstanding man of character and has been given the opportunity he deserves that will not only benefit his career but his family as well,” he said. “It would be silly for him to pass it up.”