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July 08, 2019

Ruff Weds Talents in Arts and Technology

By Bruce Gerson

Tim Ruff is a singing software specialist.

During the week, he uses his technical skills as a systems and support consultant for the Dietrich College, where for the past year he has built and managed the online application system for all of the college’s graduate programs. On the weekends, the Carnegie Mellon College of Fine Arts graduate is a singer, songwriter and wedding musician.

“I absolutely love my work,” Ruff said. “I’m very analytical, which might be surprising for a musician, so I enjoy code, software and computing. This is one of the best jobs I could have found at Dietrich.”

After earning his bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from Carnegie Mellon, Ruff joined the Alumni Relations Office as an administrative coordinator while working on his first album, “Winter’s Coming,” which he released in 2010. He cut his second album, “Love is,” in 2013, while working as a program coordinator in the Philosophy Department. After a stint in the History Department, he was promoted to his current consultant’s role last year.

Ruff said his focus this year is to develop an online marketing program for the Dietrich College’s graduate programs.

“We’ll be developing online systems and communications strategies to encourage students to apply,” he said. “We plan to take a more proactive approach to connect with potential students and to increase the number and quality of applicants.”

In 2011, Tim Ruff produced a parody of “Walking in Memphis,” titled “Walking in Pittsburgh,” which has garnered more than 229,000 views.

As a wedding singer, Ruff, who markets himself as the “Acoustic Crooner,” plays everything he likes, from Frank Sinatra and Frankie Valli to contemporary pop and country. He’s played dozens of weddings at churches and synagogues, and venues such as Heinz Chapel, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Five Pines Barn and The Pennsylvanian.

"If you’ve ever heard catholic music on an acoustic guitar, it’s something to behold."

He also writes songs for couples, crafting lyrics and music from their top 10 favorite moments together. He even sings in Italian, German, French and Latin.

“If you’ve ever heard catholic music on an acoustic guitar, it’s something to behold,” Ruff said. 

When he’s not playing weddings, he plays at local clubs. He has an upcoming appearance scheduled at Apericena Wine Bar in Upper St. Clair on Thursday, July 25.

In his spare time, Ruff likes spending time with his family, reading non-fiction, and working around the house.

“We just bought a new home and I’m already taking it apart,” he said. 

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