Stephen J. Ruda

Cal State – Northridge ’75

Distinguished Alumnus Award – As Captain of the LAFD, Brother Ruda leads one of the largest stations west of the Mississippi River



The Distinguished Alumnus Award is presented to alumni of Phi Delta Theta who have achieved significant success in their personal careers and excelled in leadership positions.

Stephen J. Ruda is a 30-year veteran of the Los Angeles Fire Department. He is a graduate of California State University at Northridge, where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Public Relations in 1975. Upon graduation, Steve was accepted into Officer Candidate School for the United States Marine Corps. Commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in August of 1975, he was assigned as a Platoon Commander and later selected to serve as the Aide De Camp to General David M. Twomey. Steve attained the rank of Captain of Marines before his honorable discharge from active duty in 1978.

As a Fire Officer for the Los Angeles City Fire Department, Captain Ruda has served in the busiest stations in the city. He received from the California State Firefighters Association’s the Medal of Valor. While gang members ambushed patrolling Los Angeles Police Officers with automatic gunfire, one of the Officers was hit and lay seriously wounded. Ruda and his Fire Company saw what had happened and exposed themselves to deadly gunfire as they successfully rescued the wounded officer. He also holds three commendations for bravery, including the Medal of Merit. This award is one of the Fire Deparment’s highest award for valor. Captain Ruda was selected as“Firefighter of the Year” for 2005.

Captain Ruda has served two tours as the Commander of the Public Information Office for the LAFD. He was instrumental in developing media relations with the largest metro media industry in the United States and has been featured on many news programs aired locally in Los Angeles as well as nationally. Steve’s experience and dedication to the Department and its image has won him honors by the news industry. The Radio, Television News Association awarded his unit a special “Golden Mike Award”. During his watch he and his staff handled the Los Angeles Civil Unrest of 1992, the Great Floods of 1993 and the destructive Fire Storms of 1993. He was involved in the 6.7 Northridge Earthquake as both a departmental spokesperson and a member of the LAFD’s elite Urban Search and Rescue Team. As the Task Force Commander of Fire Station 27 in the “Heart of Hollywood”, Ruda leads one of the largest fire stations west of the Mississippi River.

Attendees of the 2008 Emerging Leaders Institute had the opportuntiy to hear Brother Ruda speak about leadership. His “Leaders…Born or Formed?” speech captivated the audience through Steve’s experiences with the LAFD and how they shaped his leadersihp style. Brother Ruda was also featured on the front cover of The Scroll in 2000.

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