Ruthe Batulis came to Normandale as an adult learner in 1989. She originally went to college straight out of high school, but left to become a flight attendant and eventually started a family.
When she returned to college to pursue a degree in Early Childhood Education at Normandale, Batulis was initially apprehensive.
It had been almost 20 years since she had set foot in a classroom. Her apprehension quickly subsided, however, and Batulis proved an excellent student, maintaining a 4.0 grade point average throughout her time at Normandale.
“I found the transition to be very smooth, because Normandale made it easy to start school again,” said Batulis. “The curriculum was great and they provided tutors for any assistance that was needed. It was great to have that available, and I found the instructors to be of the highest caliber.”
Batulis graduated from Normandale in 1991, and worked as an Early Childhood educator for 3-5 year olds. In 2002, she decided that she wanted to be in an industry that was more project-based and found an administrative job with the Burnsville Chamber of Commerce. She quickly moved to doing membership management, managing databases, and learning about the financial and event management aspects of the organization. In 2002, the position of President of Bloomington Chamber of Commerce opened up. Batulis knew it was a challenging position, but she decided she was ready for the challenge, so she applied for, and landed the job.
As one of the first orders of business, Batulis began establishing a relationship with Normandale. She invited then Normandale President Thomas J. Horak (now President Emeritus) to sit on the Advisory Council. The strong connection Batulis established between the Bloomington Chamber of Commerce and Normandale still exists today.
In 2004, Batulis left the Bloomington Chamber of Commerce to become President of the Dakota County Regional Chamber of Commerce. Today, she often reflects on her time at Normandale and how enjoyable that experience was—and, she says she appreciated the role the college played as a community partner during her time at the Bloomington Chamber of Commerce.
“From a community perspective, the leadership at Normandale has always been of the highest quality,” said Batulis. “They were always immersed in the business community, really understood the needs of the overall community, and responded to it by meeting those needs as part of their curriculum. That has always been the culture at Normandale, and it still is today.”