Initially begun to commemorate the canonization of St. Leonie de Sales Aviat, this series was renamed in 2005 in memory of Anthony J. Ruggiero, an adjunct faculty member who taught the philosophy of education and helped supervise the student teacher program at DeSales University.
Mr. Ruggiero worked in the Bethlehem Area School District for 32 years, serving as a social studies teacher, assistant principal, and principal at Liberty High School. He earned his master's in education from Lehigh University and completed post-graduate work at Georgetown University.
Upon his death in 1994, he bequeathed to the college a significant gift, which now forms the bulk of the endowment for this lecture series. The Ruggiero Lectures focus on topics in the realm of Catholic education.
The lecture is held annually in September, usually on the second Monday, to commemorate the birth of St. Leonie Aviat.