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Fall 2009
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Outstanding Alumni Awards

Ruth Zimmerman BleylerRuth Zimmerman Bleyler ’62 retired in 2008 from the New Hampshire House of Representatives, serving since being elected in 2002, where she focused on environmental and disability issues. Before taking office, Bleyler worked as an environmental scientist with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from 1990 to 1997; and as a quality assurance chemist with Viar and Company from 1985 to 1990. Prior to working at Viar, she was both a science and math teacher at several schools including the Potomac School in McLean, VA., Mary Institute in St. Louis, and Punahou School in Honolulu.

Bleyler has been a committed volunteer for Cornell more than 20 years. She has served as reunion chair for the Class of ‘62 for their 40th, 45th, and the upcoming 50th Reunions and has been a member of Cornell University Council, serving three terms between 1992 and 2008. While on the Council, she was an active and engaging member serving on various committees. With her husband, Pete, she has been a faithful supporter of the Cornell Plantations for many years, serving as a member of the Plantations Committee for the 21st Century from 2002 to 2007. During this time, she hosted an alumni event in Hanover, NH that introduced many alumni to the Plantations mission. She currently serves as a member of the Plantations Advisory Council. She has served as co-chair of the Washington area Cornell Alumni Admissions Ambassador network (CAAAN) and as scholarship chair of the Cornell Alumni Federation. Bleyler also served as a volunteer on her Regional Tower Club Committee in Boston and New Hampshire, using her wide network of connections to reach out to other alumni. In New Hampshire, she organizes an annual picnic gathering of Cornellians in the Upper Valley of Vermont and New Hampshire hosted by Michael ’76 and Barbara Gerling ‘77. For many alumni, this is their only opportunity to catch-up with fellow Cornellians and get updates from campus. Wherever Bleyler and her family have lived, she has been active with the Cornell Club in her area, serving in leadership and fundraising roles with the Cornell Club of Boston, Cornell Club of Washington, and Cornell Club of New Hampshire. She is a longtime member of the CALS Alumni Association and Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority.

In addition to her Cornell service, Bleyler has been a committed volunteer engaged in activities that go to the heart of bettering a community, whether it is Special Olympics, developmental disabilities and behavioral health issues, school boards, or environmental issues. She has served as chair of the board of directors from 2006 to 2009 for West Central Behavioral Health, a community mental health center. In addition, Bleyler has served as a board member for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, New Hampshire, from 2000 to 2004 and on the New Hampshire Developmental Disabilities Council, from 2000 to 2006. The myriad of professional and volunteer activities which Bleyler has been involved fall under the theme of caring about humanity and the environment in which we live. All the while, Bleyler has demonstrated extraordinary commitment and leadership in support of Cornell University, her professions, and in the betterment of society.

Based on her lifetime of leadership, it is obvious that Bleyler is someone others look to in order to get things done. When a mission is accomplished, Ruth and her husband, Peter, return to their beloved New Hampshire mountains to pursue the outdoor interests that they love, engage in their passion for travel, and stay in touch with family and friends.

In addition to her bachelors degree from Cornell University, Bleyler received a masters degree from George Washington University in 1984. She lives in Lyme, NH with her husband, Pete. They have three children: Allison Bleyler McDonald, MBA ’92; Melanie Starr Bleyler ’92 (A&S), and Tracy Lynn Bleyler.


Outstanding Alumni Awards