2011 Local Hero: Ruth Tang Ding

Ruth Tang Ding

"I feel that music is the universal language because it uplifts the spirit and makes a person feel so good about so many things; it brings harmony."

Both as a music teacher and as a philanthropist, Ruth Ding has inspired students and members of her community with her organizational expertise and unflagging optimism in all of her endeavors. She credits the strong work ethic and vision that her family instilled in her throughout her upbringing for her positive outlook on life, which served as a constant reminder to never take for granted the opportunities that she was afforded.

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Both as a music teacher and as a philanthropist, Ruth Ding has inspired students and members of her community with her organizational expertise and unflagging optimism in all of her endeavors. She credits the strong work ethic and vision that her family instilled in her throughout her upbringing for her positive outlook on life, which served as a constant reminder to never take for granted the opportunities that she was afforded.

Ms. Ding received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Music from Arizona State University. Her graduate work was performed at the University of Southern California. She has been an activist and promoter of the arts and Chinese culture in Orange County for over fifty years. She was honored in an article by Jodi Cadenhead of Newport 17 Magazine that celebrated "Champion[s] of the Arts". She has produced and chaired many ethnic festivals, music, and cultural programs in Southern California.

In addition to her commitments to the arts, Ms. Ding is extremely active in a number of philanthropic community interests. She is the founding president of the Orange County Chinese Cultural Club and Pan Pacific Performing Arts, Inc. She served on the founding board of the Opera Pacific and Asian American Senior Citizens Service Center in Santa Ana, and the Segerstrom Center for the Arts (formerly the Orange County Performing Arts Center) in Costa Mesa. She is also the 2011 Gala Chair for Founder Plus, a support group consisting of founders of the center. Founder Plus will collaborate with the Center to celebrate its 25th Anniversary Season at a gala to be held on September 23. 2011. This event will kickoff The Founder Plus Endowment Initiative for education and community programs. Ms. Ding believes deeply in not only supporting the arts but also in instilling pride in younger members of the Chinese American community.

Ms. Ding was also instrumental in founding several major benefit events including the Opera Pacific Opera Ball, The Asian Headdress Ball, The International Music and Dance Festival, and The Winter Blossom Ball. Ms. Ding added the most recent event to her extensive fundraising resume just last year, when she founded and produced the AASCSC's "Winter Gala". The event raised two hundred thousand dollars for vital programs hosted by the Senior Service Center.

Ms. Ding has been honored with numerous leadership, music, and service awards in her illustrious career. She has received the "Special Commendation for Service to Orange County Award," presented by the Orange County Board of Supervisors, and she was also made an "Honorary Goodwill Ambassador" by former Secretary of State of California, March Fong Eu, in 1990. She is also listed in the "International Who's Who of Music", "The Who's Who of Women", and The Dictionary of International Biography.

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I have great respect for music teachers and I found most of my inspiration through music in school. It's awesome to hear that she has been so instrumental for fundraising for the arts.

Big Mike
CEO of Santa Ana Jail