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Ruth Anne Petrak

InterviewedBy: Bergen Quaerna and Nicole Barnett

Ruth Anne Petrak was born and raised in Des Moines Iowa. She attended Oak Park elementary school, Harding junior high, and North high school. She graduated early her senior year and started attending Drake University during the second semester. Petrak never lived on Drake’s campus, throughout her college career she lived in her parent’s home, and eventually her and her, now, ex-husband’s house. Upon entering Drake she didn’t have any career aspirations at the time. She described herself as a generalist; she wants to know about everything and anything. During her junior year registration process she decided to check out the journalism major where she met Robert Bliss. He was the “whole show of the journalism school” she said, and he convinced her to become apart of the journalism major. In order to be in journalism, she said you have to know something about a lot of different subjects. At Drake she was apart of Town Girls, an organization for girls who live off campus. She also worked on the Times-Delphic as an editor. Her first job outside of Drake was at the Des Moines Register, in the woman’s department. It was a section that held feature stories on beauty advice, recipes, and childcare tips and held an advice column. Ruth was the advice column’s editor and marketing editor, she was also in charge of going to find feature stories, with a photographer in all of Iowa.

After she left the Register she started a family and began to become a freelance writer and a mother. She also edited publishing materials for an English professor; and found the job through Robert Bliss, her former professor. Now she is not as involved on campus; she comes back meet with the Ray Society, and she comes to see speakers and performers at Olmstead, Old Main, or Sheslow. Since her retirement, she is more involved in things outside of Drake. Ruth Anne Petrak remains active at her church, the Democratic Iowa caucus, Planned Parenthood, and she was one of the advocates to get homosexuality implemented into the Book of Discipline for the Methodist religion. Ruth describes herself, as a life long learner, her advice for the seniors of 2012, was to never stop learning.

Audio Interview: