The Larry and Ruth Pike Funds establish professorship, support faculty development

By Francesca Petty
J Alumni News staff

When Ruth Pike gave jobs to National Youth Administration students in the 1930s that paid a fraction of a dollar more than similar jobs off campus, she probably did not expect that those few cents more would turn into a $12,500 scholarship fund in her name — and lifetime friendships.

The generous Pike spirit is also evident in Larry Pike, Ruth’s husband, who left an estate worth approximately $880,000 to the school of journalism after his death in December 1998.

Both Ruth and Larry Pike graduated with journalism majors in 1926. After graduation, Larry Pike worked for as a reporter for the Lincoln Journal and for newspapers in Twin Falls, Idaho, and Belleville, Ill. In the depths of the Great Depression, the couple returned to Lincoln, where both took jobs at NU.

Larry Pike taught reporting and photojournalism as well as working in public relations for Chancellor Burnett. Ruth Pike was the supervisor of the Regents Examination and was able to hire NYA students to assist with the program. After they graduated, those students kept in touch with the Pikes — calling themselves Pike’s Picks — and held an annual reunion with the couple.

In 1942, the Pikes moved to San Antonio where he worked in public relations for the U.S. Army and she taught at Trinity University. They later moved to Colorado and eventually to Seattle. Larry Pike retired in 1970. When Ruth Pike died in 1990, the Pike’s Picks group raised $12,500 for a scholarship fund in her name and continued to hold annual reunions with Larry Pike.

Larry Pike died in December 1998, leaving the journalism college an estate worth $880,000. The money will be used for two things:
—$250,000 will establish the Larry and Ruth Pike Professorship.
—The remainder will be used to support faculty development.

The trust earns an income of about $30,000 a year.