Sophia (Zardiashvili) Rutigliano (’10)
“That’s a really old Georgian flag; Baruch needs a new one,” thought then-undergraduate Sophia Zardiashvili, noticing the out-of-date flag of her nation among the 190 that rim the seventh-floor atrium in the Information and Technology Building. Created in 2003 to reflect the countries of origin of Baruch’s student body, the College’s international-flag installation is a proud and powerful reminder of Baruch’s status as one of the country’s most ethnically diverse institutions of higher education.
Time passed. Zardiashvili graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in public affairs, married, and began working for Tiffany & Co. as a vendor liaison in Supply Management. But she did not forget her pledge to replace the flag. In 2011 she contacted her alma mater and arranged for the purchase of the current Georgian national standard: a white flag with a large central red cross and four smaller red crosses in each corner. Says Zardiashvili—now Rutigliano—“I am happy that Georgians can now see their flag every day.”
Rutigliano came to Baruch College after two years in the Georgian university system and after completing English language courses at CUNY’s Borough of Manhattan Community College. How did the Tbilisian choose Baruch? “Baruch was the best opportunity in New York City. It has the perfect combination of faculty, curriculum, resources, diversity, affordability, and accessibility,” she says.
Baruch turned out to be the perfect fit for Rutigliano, who amassed extraordinary experiences and honors. In addition to earning a 3.9 GPA, she was a senator in the Undergraduate Student Government (USG), interned at City Hall and HealthCare Chaplaincy, was honored by the American Humanics Program with a NextGen Award, and was selected to receive a Hagedorn Fellowship for Public Affairs (supported by a gift from Amy Hagedorn, class of ’58).
Rutigliano sees a bright future ahead that balances her interest in the nonprofit sector and public affairs and her interest in business. In that same spirit, she balances pride in her homeland and a love of her adopted country. “There are so many opportunities in the U.S. That’s why I love it here,” says Rutigliano.