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LV Life Editor
Mrs. Ruth Brandt Hersch, founder of the University of La Verne Child Development Center, died on Jan. 17. She was 87.
Mrs. Hersch was known as a passionate child care advocate for more than 30 years, best remembered for merging the University of La Verne’s infant-toddler program and L.A. County Fairplex child center in 1991. She served on the board until 2000, after which she was named an honorary board member.
“Our lives and the lives of children that she affected have been enriched by Ruth’s presence,” Stephen Morgan, chairman of the board of the Los Angeles County Fair Association and ULV president, said in a statement. “She is remembered and honored for her commitment and dedication to child development and education.”
Mrs. Hersch, a longtime resident of La Verne, began her career as the Founding Director and Lead Teacher of the Church of the Brethren Parent Cooperative Nursery from 1965 to 1974. She later became the founding director of the La Verne College Child Center in 1974, which later became the University of La Verne Child Development Center. It operated in the Hanawalt House on the University’s campus.
“She was a person everyone respected,” said ULV Professor of Journalism George Keeler, who was once her Sunday school pupil. “She took it upon herself to start up childcare at ULV. When you thought of childcare, Ruth Hersch always came to mind.”
Keeler remembered Hersch’s dedication to establish a quality childcare center in the community.
She even went as far as to lobby for the Hanawalt House, in which she then refurbished from the inside out, bringing in large truck tires and creating a playground for the children. Mrs. Hersch actively supported fundraising efforts for the Child Development Center, including its annual auction held each September at the Fairplex.
“She was a dynamo, a very gentle person, but also very firm at the same time,” ULV Professor of Educational Management Tom Harvey said. “She was so nice and a delight to know.”
Mrs. Hersch was survived by her husband of 65 years, Paul Swartz Hersch, along with three sons, Stephen and wife Janice, Timothy and wife Carol, and Peter and wife Linda; six grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.