Shining her bright light in technology
Ruth Hennigar (’81)
“There are always people smarter than you – and that’s a good thing, not a bad thing,” says Ruth Hennigar (’81). As top of her high school class in New Brunswick, Hennigar was accustomed to high marks and being thought of as clever, but at Acadia she found herself studying Computer Science with people who were both book-smarter as well as being exceptional in other ways. “It was a really helpful realization and gave me both confidence that I could succeed as well as appreciation for the skills of others.”
In January of her final year, one of only a handful of women in her graduating class, she received 20 job offers. What followed was an extensive career in technology that began with Bell Northern Research and Apple. Two weeks after her 25th birthday, she moved to California. Hennigar’s career as an engineering and product management executive spanned start-ups and Fortune 500 companies. The latter included Apple, eBay, Motorola/Google and Sun/Java. She was responsible for defining and delivering a broad range of customer solutions including software for Motorola mobile phones, Palm PDAs, Apple laptops, and internet/e-commerce sites. Her last position before retiring in 2012 was Vice-President of Software Product Management at Motorola Mobility.
“Acadia’s high academic standards and small classes allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of the subjects I was studying, which led to a very successful career in technology,” she says. “As a woman in computer science I am supporting Acadia’s efforts to encourage other girls and young women to pursue technology careers.”
“As a woman in computer science, I am supporting Acadia’s efforts to encourage other girls and young women to pursue technology careers.”
In 2014, Hennigar established the Ruth Hennigar Entrance Scholarship in Computer Science, awarded on a renewable basis to a female student entering the Bachelor of Computer Science program who has demonstrated excellence in academic achievement and community engagement. Preference is first for students from New Brunswick and secondarily for students from the Maritimes.
“I had an amazing time at Acadia,” Hennigar says. “I learned so much about myself as well as from the courses I was taking. I met interesting people and made lifelong friends. Acadia was my first experience meeting people from different cultures, and the environment enabled us to get to know each other and respect each other. Such wonderful memories!”