Janis and John Ruan III were honored with the Des Moines Register's
annual Iowa Star Award Wednesday night in recognition of their contributions to
the central Iowa community.
The Ruans are dedicated philanthropists in Des Moines who recently
pledged $5 million for the lease and nearly $30 million renovation of the
former Des Moines Public Library into the Norman E. Borlaug World Food Prize
Hall of Laureates, which opened its doors in October 2011.
The couple also oversees the John Ruan Trust, which funds arts, cultural
and civic projects in the community. Janis dedicated a large portion of her
time to local beautification projects, including projects on Ingersoll Avenue
and Fleur Drive, as well as the garden surrounding the Hall of Laureates.
John, chairman of Ruan Transportation Management Systems and the U.S.
Chamber of Commerce, as well as chairman, president and CEO of bank holding
company BTC Financial Corporation and bank subsidiary Bankers Trust Company NA,
said he was humbled by the award.
"Des Moines is a
vital city that continues to grow and thrive because of individuals like
tonight's nominees," said Ruan who was joined by his wife, Janis, on stage. "We're proud to call Des Moines our home."
The Ruans received a Steuben "Star Stream" crystal sculpture at the
ceremony, which was held at the Temple for Performing Arts. Iowa Legal Aid was
also recognized at the ceremony as the winner of the Aurora Award, honoring an
organization that serves a need in the community.
Other Iowa Star nominees, selected by Des Moines Register readers,
included fundraiser Johnny Danos, service-learning leader Cheri Doane, Casey's
General Stores founder Donald Lamberti and community volunteer Mary O'Keefe. An
independent panel of judges selected the finalists and winners.