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Larry Ruvo honored as entrepreneur, community leader

Larry Ruvo, founder of the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, stands outside the center. The unique and elaborate design is the work of architect Frank Gehry.

Southern Nevada alcohol distributor and philanthropist Larry Ruvo will receive a Horatio Alger Award, given to people who overcome obstacles to become successful entrepreneurs and community leaders.

Ruvo, one of 11 recipients this year, will receive the award in April at the 66th annual Horatio Alger Awards Induction Ceremonies in Washington, D.C., organizers announced this week.

Ruvo started his career at the Sahara and Caesars Palace and later became the youngest hotel manager at the Frontier. He worked briefly as general manager of the Los Angeles Playboy Club but returned to Las Vegas in 1970 to form an alcohol distribution company with Frontier investor Steve Wynn.

Their business, Wynn Distributing, was sold two years later to Southern Wine & Spirits of America. The Miami-based company operates locally as Southern Wine & Spirits of Nevada, with Ruvo as senior managing director.

He also started Keep Memory Alive, a nonprofit group that raises money to research and treat brain disorders. Ruvo played a key role in building downtown’s Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health.

The center started treating patients in July 2009 and is named for Larry Ruvo’s father, who died from Alzheimer’s disease in February 1994.

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