James Ruebel, the dean of the Honors College and a professor of classical studies, died early on Oct. 9.

Ruebel worked as a dean at Ball State since 2000, but he had worked as a professor for more than 20 years before coming to Muncie. He started his career in academia at Yale University, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Classics and Ancient History. He later received his master's and doctorate from the University of Cincinnati.

In 1994, he received an American Philological Association Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Classics. Ruebel also published articles in Roman history and is the author of "Apuleius: The Metamorphoses, Book 1" and "Caesar and the Crisis of the Roman Aristocracy"

Dr. James Ruebel Celebration of Life

1 p.m. Oct. 23

Sursa Performance Hall

Ruebel was 71 when he died. At the time of his death, he was on continued leave due to illness.

John Emert, acting dean of the Honors College, announced Ruebel's death to members of the Honors College on Oct. 10 through email.

"The staff of the Honors College would like to share our condolences with all of you," Emert said in an email. "We know that many of you had very special relationships with Dr. Ruebel because he had so much passion for working with and getting to know Honors students. Dr. Ruebel's guidance, leadership, and sense of humor will be missed by all of us. Our thoughts are with Connie [his wife], their sons, Jason and Matt, and all of their extended family and friends."

A basket has been placed in the Honors House to collect cards from any one who would like to send a note of encouragement to Ruebel's wife, Emert said.

After the announcement was released to students, posts flooded Facebook as former students and friends shared their memories they had with Ruebel.

Junior acting major Kelsey Skomer commemorated her first professor and mentor at Ball State by posting on her Facebook page.

“Dr. Ruebel was easily one of the most intelligent, driven and passionate people I have had the honor of meeting. His dedication to each student in class was truly inspiring,” Skomer said. “I am forever indebted to [him] for the incredible whirlwind of a first semester I had in college. He taught me how to think deeper, broaden my horizons and expand my creativity in ways I did not know were possible.”

While senior creative writing major Andrew Miles said he was devastated over the loss, he is relieved Ruebel is finally at peace.

"Thank you a million times over for believing in me, and investing in me, and teaching me and sharing yourself with me. I'm so thankful to have had you in my life,” Miles said. “I hope to give as much as you did, to love as much as you did and to help others like you've helped me.”

Like the students who knew Ruebel during his time at Ball State, faculty who worked with him during his years at the university are also feeling the affects of his passing. 

Secretary to the Dean Coralee Young recalls Ruebel’s spirit and love for academia.

“He was our leader and friend,” Young said. "[Ruebel]'s passion and spirit for working with students was contagious.  I know he taught me that everything we do should revolve around what is best for our students and how we can help them grow and meet their personal and professional goals."

Ruebel was actively involved with students during their time on campus, and he kept up with them after they graduated from Ball State, said Barb Stedman, an Honors College fellow and director of national and international scholarships.

“Any time I’ve needed to find out what an Honors College alumna or alumnus is doing, all I’ve had to do is ask [Ruebel],” Stedman said.  "He became Facebook friends with seemingly every graduate of the Honors College since he became our dean.  He loved the students, and they clearly loved him. The impact he has had on students’ lives over the past 17 years at Ball State is immeasurable."

After students left college, Ruebel was well-known for helping students throughout their careers. His involvement, Emert said, was genuine — not passive.

“He had a vision of how students could move forward during their college careers and worked closely with as many as he could, playing a pivotal role in their lives,” Emert said.

To celebrate Ruebel's life and contributions to Ball State and the Honors College, there will be a memorial service at 1 p.m. Oct. 23 in Sursa Performance Hall, and a reception will follow at the Ball Honors House.