UCF College of Nursing recognized its 2009 outstanding alumni, Major Editha “Edie” Dulce Ruiz and Mark “Brian” Ligad, at the university’s annual Black & Gold Gala held Thursday, Nov. 12 during Homecoming Week. Maj. Ruiz received the college’s 2009 Professional Achievement Award, while Ligad received the college’s 2009 Rising Star Award.

Maj. Editha “Edie” Dulce Ruiz:

Maj. Edie Ruiz of Alexandria, Va. currently serves as the education and training officer for the Army Nurse Corps branch, where she oversees the professional development, career counseling and management of more than 3,400 Army Nurse Corps officers. She manages all Army nurse health education and training programs, and advises senior leadership on nursing educational requirements. She often describes her role as creating “life plans” for the Army Nurse Corps members.

Maj. Ruiz completed her undergraduate education at UCF 1995, earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. As a proud alumna, Maj. Ruiz provides global outreach and awareness and serves as an ambassador for UCF’s nursing programs. With great honor, she incorporates the UCF logo on all of her presentations and has encouraged Army Nurse Corps officers to pursue their degrees at UCF – including one of the college’s first Ph.D. graduates.

“Edie is not only committed to serving our country and the field of nursing, she is truly a nurse leader,” said Dean Leuner as she presented Maj. Ruiz with her award.

Download Video highlighting Maj. Ruiz.

Mark “Brian” Ligad:

A recent graduate of UCF, Brian Ligad is currently working for Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. on the Cardiothoracic Surgical Intensive Care Unit. As a certified progressive care nurse, he provides post-operative care to patients undergoing invasive cardiac and thoracic surgical procedures. In addition to his clinical duties, Ligad also serves as a nurse preceptor where he trains and orients newly hired registered nurses and nursing students. He also serves on Duke’s Preceptor Development Council.

“Brian is truly a rising star and an example of why every patient deserves a UCF nurse. During his undergraduate career, Brian demonstrated his exceptional leadership skills as Vice President of the Student Nurses Association and as an Honors in the Major student. After graduation, he was accepted into Duke University’s premier Cardiothoracic program and has already been recognized by Duke with their ‘Hope, Strength, Caring’ Award,” said Dean Leuner about Ligad.

Ligad received his bachelor’s degree in nursing from UCF in 2008. As an undergraduate student, he wrote his Honors in the Major thesis on “Environmental Stressors Affecting Sleep in Critically Ill Patients.” He received the College of Nursing’s 2008 Founders’ Day Award and was inducted into the UCF chapter of Sigma Theta Tau, an international nursing honor society.