Staff Profiles

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Dr. Ruth Ost

Senior Director

Born and raised in New Jersey, Ruth headed to Ohio for college. She earned an A.B. from Oberlin where she majored in English, minored in history, took a lot of French and not enough art history (but she made up for it later). She spent the first half of her career in Michigan teaching high school English, Humanities (recognized as a Program of Excellence by the National Council of Teachers of English), and directing the high school gifted program. Interrupting those Michigan years, she lived in Paradiso (a.k.a. Rome, Italy) and traveled far and wide with two Airedales. She spent a couple of summers in NYC on National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Fellowships, one at Fordham, one at the Jung Center. Interested in art, literature, ritual, visual anthropology and Jungian psychology, she did the math and it added up to making the move from Ann Arbor to Philadelphia where she earned a Ph.D. in religion at Temple. She taught for many summers at the University of Tennessee at Martin, in the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Humanities. For a short time she was a visiting professor at the University of Rochester, but eventually came back to Temple where she found her home, finally, in the best of all possible places—Honors!

In 2006, Ruth won the inaugural Outstanding Temple University Academic Advising Administrator Award.  She has been deeply involved in advising, whether helping students figure out their Temple path, or encouraging (see also: pestering) them to apply for national and international opportunities.  She is not surprised to see Temple students become Udall, Goldwater, Truman, Marshall, Rhodes, Fulbright and Knight-Hennessey Scholars.  She has served on the national board of NAFA (National Association of Fellowship Advisors) and has been a reader for the Udall Foundation Scholarships.  While she been involved in honors education for many years, what she especially enjoys is teaching Honors students. Her courses are broad-ranging: Death and Dying; First Person America; Art, Ritual and Gender; Pilgrimage: from Holy Lands to Graceland; Collecting (team-taught with Dr. Katherine Henry); and in fall 2019, an Honors first year seminar.  Trying something new, which she advises students to do, she has made good use of the Honors Podcast Studio with her own Honors podcast! 

And for that matter, she wishes everyone would get to know Philadelphia, the U.S.’s first World Heritage City.