Br. Ruhl in 1980.

Chances are that if you attended Saint Viator from 1970 through 2008, you knew (or knew of) Br. Robert Ruhl, C.S.V. He taught English.

While all teachers are memorable to an extent, Br. Ruhl’s impression on his students was lasting.

He’d say things like, “Now we’re cooking with gas,” and “Put on your scuba gear, kids, we’re going deep today,”–seemingly strange things his students will never forget, and when heard, will always associate with him.  

Remembered in a Saint Viator & Sacred Heart of Mary Alumni Update after his sudden passing in February of 2008, Paige Smoron Wiser ’88 wrote, “There was something about the man that stuck with you as you went through life, carefully avoiding “very” (“a useless word,” Ruhl would say) and “like” (a word is not like anything, a word simply is”).”

Br. Ruhl (center) with Kevin Huidobro ’08 and former social studies teacher, Mr. Thomas Nall.

“Alumni that visited the school found that Ruhl never changed much. He was intimidatingly tall as you remembered, and always had the same energy and enthusiasm–even for such pedestrian entertainment as the reality show, ‘Big Brother,’” wrote Wiser.

Along with reality television, he had many passions–some known by his students. He loved opera singer, Maria Callas, Shakespeare, and bar trivia.

“He managed to perfectly balance deadly seriousness with the wackiest whimsy I ever saw in a classroom,” Paul Noble ’82 wrote on the message board set up on the school website after his death. “He made us want desperately to learn, to be knowledgeable, to be insightful.”