Ron Fruit, who with his wife Beth owns WRCO Radio in Richland Center, was honored during a special ceremony held in Madison on September 23. At that ceremony, UW Colleges and UW-Extension interim Chancellor Dr. Marv Van Kekerix presented Fruit with a 2010 Chancellor’s Award as a Friend and Advocate. The citation inscribed on the plaque recognizes Fruit “for dynamically supporting and building awareness of the UW Colleges’ and UW-Extension’s contributions to Richland County and southwestern Wisconsin.”
The Friend and Advocate Award recognizes support at the local, state, national or international level, including program development and support, community or volunteer service, expanding access, enhancing diversity, building political support, and involvement in fundraising. From reporting on local events to interviewing international students and covering international programs, Fruit has kept the people of southwest Wisconsin inthe-know about the university.
“It is apparent that Ron and Beth include the university as a major factor in the community’s quality of life, as they use WRCO to improve the quality of life of the citizens of the area,” one nominator wrote. “He is a true partner in promoting the Wisconsin Idea.”
Another nominator wrote, "Ron truly understands the impact of Extension educational efforts in making our community strong and vibrant.”
Fruit said that he has been in an excellent position to work with both the local campus and Extension and see first-hand how valuable each is to the local area. "Knowing how local residents can benefit from both, we feel we have a real responsibility to share the information with the public," said Fruit. He continued, "We are a good example of those benefits. UW-Extension's Small Business Counseling was critical in our efforts to purchase WRCO Radio."
In addition to WRCO, Fruit has volunteered his time and talents in other ways to support higher and outreach education. He has served as a board member and president of the UW-Richland Foundation, as a member of the UW-Richland 40th Anniversary Planning Committee, as UW-Richland’s graduation speaker, as vice-chair of the Farm Progress Days Committee in 2002 when the event took place in Richland County, and has twice been honored as a Friend of Richland County 4H.
A member of the UW-Richland Class of 1975, Fruit was named Outstanding Alumnus in 1995. Two of his children are also alumni. The Fruits have owned WRCO AM & FM Radio since 1994. His broadcasting career started at WRCO while still a student at Richland Center High School.