While Ruettiger getting carried off the field may have been the pinnacle of the film, the real-life Rudy, with the help of exposure from the film, has continued to push for more since his college days.
His website, www.rudyintl.com, details some of his current work, much of which comes in the form of motivational speaking.
Ruettiger said he makes 75 or more public-speaking appearances every year.
"I do a lot of corporate engagements but these are more of an honor for me to do," Ruettiger said. "I want to keep giving people hope and keep giving back. I want to pay it forward, show gratitude, and have that kind of message."
Along with his wife Cheryl, Ruettiger in 1977 founded The Rudy Foundation, which the website describes as a "nonprofit organization dedicated to the support and recognition of those who aspire to fulfill their dreams through character, courage, contribution and commitment."
The foundation gave out an award to a college and a high school athlete that exemplified such characteristics but stopped in 2010 to pursue a new direction.
"We're really focused on developing the youth because they're they future," Ruettiger said. "We haven't [given out the awards] in the past couple of years because of the kids. We kind of switched gears. We saw more kids that needed development so we went in that direction."
The last college player to receive the award was Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich in 2010. Herzlich was a first-team All-America selection and the ACC defensive player of the year in 2008 before being forced to sit out all of 2009 with Ewing's Sarcoma, a form of bone cancer.
He returned for a successful senior season in 2010 and, after going undrafted, signed with the New York Giants on July 26, 2011 and made his first start on Nov. 20 of that year against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Herzlich is still listed as a middle linebacker on New York's current depth chart.
Such stories are what Ruettiger said he hopes the movie and his life continue to inspire.
"I hope we get back to giving out the college award because that is fun," Ruettiger said. "I'll never forget giving the award to his [Herzlich's] father and the gratitude he had."
Reach Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948, ryan.pr...@wvgazette.com, or follow him at twitter.com/Rpritt.