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The Journal Gazette

  • Hana Stith, 2016 Dedication Award honoree. Courtesy: IPFW

  • Linda Ruffolo, 2016 Dedication Award honoree. Courtesy: IPFW

Thursday, February 25, 2016 8:28 am

Verbatim: Ruffolo, Stith named Tapestry 2016 Dedication Award Recipients; Registration Opens February 26

The following was released on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016 by IPFW:

FORT WAYNE, Ind.—Community activist and teacher Hana Stith is the 2016 Dedication Award honoree along with Linda Ruffolo, beloved member of the IPFW community who is being honored posthumously at Tapestry: A Day for You, sponsored by Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) and Parkview Health.

Tickets go on sale Friday, February 26.

Registration for Tapestry: A Day for You will open Friday, February 26, at 8 a.m. Tickets are $75 per person for open seating or $800 for a table of 10. Corporate tables are also available for $1,000. Tickets will be available online at

This year's Tapestry takes place April 29 and will feature a keynote session by Vicki Lawrence: the multitalented Emmy Award-winning comedic television star, recording artist, theatre performer, and author best known for The Carol Burnett Show and Mama’s Family.

Fourteen morning workshops will give attendees the chance discuss and explore cooking, design, and a host of other women's interests and issues. The sessions will be at 10:30 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. Each workshop is sponsored by a different organization, including Parkview Health, IPFW, Woman's Health Advantage, and many more.

About Linda Ruffolo

Linda L. Ruffolo left us in March 2015 and left a huge hole in the hearts of family, friends, and community. “She charged out of the gate every day and made it count,” says Irene Walters. “She was steadfast in her convictions, unwavering in her faith, and extraordinary in her caring and thoughtfulness for others.”

Ruffolo joined IPFW in November of 1995 as director of development and was the executive director of development until her retirement in June 2014. She was an amazing advocate for the City of Fort Wayne, a tireless volunteer, and a caring friend to many. Her extensive list of achievements and volunteer roles included Arts United, Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Study Connection, Forte Festival, Fort Wayne Ballet, and Fort Wayne Youtheatre.

A quote from her favorite book, Quiet Thoughts by Paul McElroy, illustrates how dear she held her association with the organizations she supported: “… There is an unconquerable strength in being identified with some worthy cause and in belonging to some purposeful group … That to which we belong and to which we give our allegiance and loyalty must be worthy and should represent the highest and the very best that we know.

About Hana Stith

Hana L. Stith was born in Fort Wayne in 1928. She graduated from Central High School in 1946 and received both bachelor's and master’s degrees in education from The University of Saint Francis in 1960 and 1965, respectively.

In 1960, Stith was among the first African-American teachers to be hired by Fort Wayne Community Schools. She taught at McCulloch Elementary School, for 17 years ntil its closing. There she gained respect and recognition for her teaching skills and compassion for children. During her 36-year teaching career, mostly in inner city schools, she spent 22 years in the classroom and 14 years as a Title 1 math and reading teacher. To this day, she maintains relationships with her first students, their children, and grandchildren.

Stith has been a community activist for as long as she can remember. At age 14, she joined the first Junior Branch of the local NAACP. As an adult, she was a member of the original Fair Housing Group and of the Panel of American Women. Stith was the first female appointed to the Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission, serving 12 years under four mayors, and was the longest-serving member on the commission. She also served on the Metropolitan Human Relations Commission for four years and on the Fort Wayne Board of Safety for six years. She has always been known for speaking up for those who couldn't speak up for themselves.

Since retiring from Fort Wayne Community Schools in 1996, she has served as a docent at the Lincoln Museum and on the executive board of the NAACP. Stith was cofounder of the African/African-American Historical Society along with her late husband. In February 2000, she founded and opened the African/African-American Historical Society Museum, after having researched and collected materials for the entire museum for 35 years. She was the museum's CEO, manager, and director until February 2013.

About Tapestry: A Day for You

Tapestry is a day of inspiration, renewal, and education for women in all stages of life while also raising scholarship funds for those studying health sciences at IPFW. In the past 14 years, nearly $750,000 has been raised and 58 students have received scholarships to study health sciences at IPFW.

It began in 2002 as a way to enrich the lives of women in northeast Indiana and to raise funds for students studying in the College of Health and Human Services at Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW). Parkview Health shared this vision by joining forces with IPFW as the founding sponsors. Together, with the support of additional sponsors and the women of Indiana, IPFW and Parkview have grown the event to encompass a full day of inspiration, renewal, and education for women in all stages of life.

For more information on Tapestry: A Day for You, contact project manager Kathleen Jackson at 260-481-6854 (office), 260-409-2722 (cell), or