Happy Birthday, Ruth Colvin

December 17, 2016

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A Syracuse icon who taught the world to read turns 100

Ruth Colvin, who turned 100 on Dec. 16, is the mother of the adult literacy movement in the U.S. She began Literacy Volunteers of America in 1962. In 2002, that organization merged with Laubach Literacy International to become ProLiteracy, which is still based in Syracuse.
Colvin has taught hundreds of people to read. And her efforts, including training programs she has designed and published, have helped thousands learn to read. You might think that, at nearly 100, she is done. And that would still be extraordinary.
But Ruth Colvin is not just that amazing list of accomplishments. She golfs three times a week with women who are her daughter and granddaughter’s age: “No one my age plays,” she says.
It’s not uncommon to get an email from Colvin with the signature “Sent from my iPhone.” Her text messages ding away as she talks.
Colvin’s life lesson that she returns to is this: “Out of everything bad, something good comes.”

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