Batesville native Skip Rutherford announces retirement as dean of Clinton School of Public Service

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James L. “Skip” Rutherford, the longtime dean of the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock, will be retiring from the school next year.

Rutherford, a Batesville native, made the announcement in a letter Monday to Dr. Donald W. Bobbitt, the president of the University of Arkansas System. Rutherford’s retirement will be effective June 30, 2021.

“It has been personally special being part of the nation’s first master of public service program founded by President Clinton and inaugurated by Founding Dean David Pryor,” Rutherford wrote. “But since higher education is always a work in progress, I also believe the best for the Clinton School is yet to be.”

In his letter, Rutherford said he had always “…tried to keep the public in public service.”

“Since becoming Dean in 2006, after coordinating the Clinton Presidential Library project, it has been a privilege associating with many outstanding students, staff, faculty, alumni, volunteers, and friends,” Rutherford wrote.

To read the letter, click here.

Rutherford succeeded Pryor, the former Arkansas governor and United States senator, as the Clinton School’s dean in 2006. The school was founded in 2005 by President Bill Clinton and is located on the grounds of the William J. Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock.

Rutherford supervised the planning and construction of the Clinton Presidential Center and Park from 1997 until it opened in 2004.

The Clinton School was the first school in the world to offer a master’s degree in public service, and according to its website, has an emphasis on project-based learning.

A graduate of Batesville High School and the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, Rutherford was also Sen. Pryor’s former administrative assistant and has an extensive background in public relations and communications in the private sector, according to his biography on the Clinton School’s webpage.

He has also served as a visiting professor at the University of Arkansas; Lyon College in Batesville; the University of the Ozarks in Clarksville; the University of Central Arkansas in Conway; and was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree from Hendrix College in Conway.

He currently serves on the board of trustees at Lyon College as well as the Health Policy Board for the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement, and the board of directors of Arkansas Children’s Inc.

To read Rutherford’s full biography from the Clinton School website, click here.

Image via Clinton School of Public Service

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