Herkimer County College Foundation announces new scholarship for veterans

The Herkimer County College Foundation has established the Raymond J. Lenarcic and Gary W. Ruff Veterans Scholarship to be awarded annually in the amount of $500 to a veteran of the United States military, enrolled in the Liberal Arts and Sciences: Social Science program at Herkimer College, and active in college and community activities.

Lenarcic, an emeritus professor of history, and Ruff, emeritus professor of sociology, were integral to the establishment and progression of Herkimer County Community College. Each served more than three decades as faculty, both specializing in the past and present struggles faced by minorities in the United States.

Lenarcic and Ruff have a legacy of serving as community activists with a special interest in supporting Vietnam combat veterans in their struggle for better treatment at VA hospitals. They formed Save-A-Vet and the Veterans Rights Coalition in a successful effort to involve their students as advocates for veterans’ rights. Ruff passed away March 26, 2020, and Lenarcic continues to serve the community through a variety of organizations and initiatives, including the Herkimer County Hunger Coalition.

 “This scholarship recognizes Professor Lenarcic’s and Professor Ruff’s lifelong dedication to veterans’ rights and causes. Monuments honoring Vietnam veterans located in Herkimer, Little Falls, and Frankfort, along with Veterans Memorial Park on the Herkimer College campus, remain testaments to their belief that our veterans’ sacrifices must never be forgotten,” said Rob Palmieri, a friend and former colleague of Lenarcic and Ruff, who was instrumental in establishing the scholarship.

For those interested in donating to the Raymond J. Lenarcic and Gary W. Ruff Veterans Scholarship, please make checks out to the HCC Foundation and mail to the HCC Foundation, 100 Reservoir Road, Herkimer, NY 13350. Please indicate “Lenarcic/Ruff” on your check. Donations can also be made online on our Give Back page and select “Scholarships” and specify “Lenarcic/Ruff.”

For more information, contact the HCC Foundation via email at