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Notre Dame football hero subject of inspirational movie Rudy
(Bethlehem, Pennsylvania) – Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger, the University of Notre Dame football hero on which the movie “Rudy” was based, will speak at Moravian College on Wednesday, April 14 at 7 p.m. in Johnston Hall. In just twenty-seven seconds, on a football field in South Bend, Indiana, Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger beat the odds and engraved his name into the history books as arguably the most famous graduate of the University of Notre Dame. Ruettiger’s presentation is being funded and sponsored by Moravian College’s United Student Government. The talk is open to the public and admission is free of charge.
Ruettiger, the son of an oil refinery worker and the third of fourteen children, was born in Joliet, Illinois in 1948. After graduating from Joliet Catholic School, Ruettiger worked in a power plant and went on to serve in the United States Navy. He returned to working at the power plant but never lost sight of his dream to enter the University of Notre Dame and play football for the Fighting Irish despite a poor academic record, mediocre athletic skills, and little encouragement from family and friends.
When an industrial accident killed his best friend, Ruettiger was determined to pursue his dream. At the age of 23, Ruettiger was admitted to Holy Cross Junior College in South Bend. He studied hard while working as a groundskeeper at Notre Dame’s Rockne Stadium. While at Holy Cross, it was discovered that Ruettiger suffered from a mild form of dyslexia which had affected his earlier academic performance. He learned to compensate for the condition and earned good grades. It took several rejections but with dedication to his dream, Ruettiger was accepted to the University of Notre Dame.
At just 5’6’’ and 165 lbs., Ruettiger risked his life everyday on the practice field as a member of the scout team going up against the Notre Dame Varsity Team as it ran plays. Because of his strong heart and unwavering determination, Ruettiger won the respect of his teammates, coaches, and the entire Notre Dame student body. In the last few minutes of the final home game, Ruettiger’s last chance to play, the team started to chant RU - DY, RU - DY, RU - DY. Within minutes, the entire stadium was chanting his name. Just 27 seconds remained in the game when Ruettiger was put in. It was this game, the only one he ever played in, that made Ruettiger a legend. For the only play of his college career, Ruettiger sacked the quarterback! Ruettiger is the only player since 1975 to be carried off the field on the shoulders of his teammates.
Today, Ruettiger is a highly sought after motivational speaker. He entertains international audiences with a unique, passionate, and heartfelt style of communicating. He reaches school children, university students, and professional athletes with boundless enthusiasm, portraying the human spirit that comes from his personal experiences of adversity and triumph. His captivating personality and powerful message of “YES I CAN” stays with his audiences forever. Ruettiger has appeared in “People,” “Sports Illustrated,” “US,” “Reader’s Digest,” “Inside Sports” and on “CBS Good Morning,” “ABC Good Morning America,” “NBC Talk Live,” “Regis and Kathy Lee,” “Montel Williams Show,” and “Entertainment Tonight.” Ruettiger has also co-authored several books, including Rudy’s Insights for Winning in Life, Rudy’s Lessons for Young Champions, and Rudy & Friends.
He recently established the Rudy Foundation whose mission is to help children of all ages around the world reach their full potential. The Rudy Foundation develops and supports programs that positively impact the lives of children cognitively, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. The Rudy Award Program was created by the Rudy Ruettiger Foundation to recognize children who make an outstanding, exceptional effort to do their personal best, overcome obstacles, set goals, stay on track to reach their dreams, and build the qualities of character, courage, contribution, and commitment in their lives every day. The Rudy Award is about a child’s heart, will to change, and desire for self-improvement. For more information, call the HUB information desk at (610) 861-1491.