The World Food Prize Foundation

Mr. John Ruan III

Mr. John Ruan III

Former Chairman
World Food Prize Foundation

May 10, 1943 - September 11, 2021

John Ruan III served as Chairman of the World Food Prize Foundation from 2000-2021, succeeding his father, John Ruan, Sr., in the role. He passed on September 11, 2021 and is commemorated in the video presented below. 

Under Mr. Ruan's leadership, the World Food Prize expanded from a one-day event to a week-long series of noteworthy ceremonies and conversations. He was also the driving force behind the restoration of the former Des Moines Public Library building, supporting its transformation into the Hall of Laureates, a distinguished home for the World Food Prize Foundation. To recognize the contributions of Mr. Ruan and his wife, Janis, the garden at the Hall of Laureates was dedicated as the Janis and John Ruan III Garden in 2016.

Mr. Ruan also served as Chairman of Ruan Transportation Management Systems and Chairman of the US Chamber of Commerce, the only Iowan to hold this position. He was also a member of the U.S. Chamber’s Executive Committee.

In addition to the transportation business, Mr. Ruan provided oversight to several Ruan organizations serving as Chairman of Concentric International; Chairman and President of City Center Corporation; Trustee of the John Ruan Foundation Trust; and, Chairman and CEO of Ruan Center Corporation, and Ruan, Inc.

Mr. Ruan was also Chairman, President and CEO of bank holding company, BTC Financial Corporation and served as Chairman for the bank subsidiary, Bankers Trust Company NA.
Mr. Ruan was involved with several community organizations, serving as a member of the boards of Hubbell Realty Company, Iowa Business Council, the Greater Des Moines Partnership, the Downtown Community Alliance, Chief Executives Organization and Castle Pines Golf Club.  He was trustee of Culver Educational Foundation, and past chairman of The Des Moines Metropolitan Planning Organization and The Greater Des Moines YMCA.
Ruan received his B.S. in Business Administration from Northwestern University, and was a graduate of the Program for Management Development at Harvard Business School.

The Foundation's Board of Directors provided guidance and direction for the World Food Prize Foundation during Mr. Ruan's illness. Paul Schickler serves as interim leader of the Board, working closely with Rachel Ruan McLean. Mr. Ruan passed away on September 11, 2021, at the age of 78. His wife of fifty years, Janis, and their two children, John IV and Rachel, keep his spirit of philanthropy alive in the Des Moines community.

For more information on John Ruan III's life and career:

Video tributes honoring John Ruan III


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