WARRENSBURG, MO (March 27, 2015) – Beth Rutt, Warrensburg, was named the 30th recipient of the James C. Kirkpatrick Excellence in Governance Award by the University of Central Missouri Student Government Association in a ceremony Thursday evening, March 26, in the James C. Kirkpatrick Library on the UCM.
Rutt received the award in recognition of her longtime commitment to UCM and her role in public education and governance in the surrounding community. The SGA Internal Issues Committee selects the recipient of the annual award from nominees who promote good governmental procedures, efficiency and economy in government, and policies that are in the public’s best interest.
A graduate of UCM with a bachelor’s degree in recreation and public administration and a master’s degree in leisure and recreation, Rutt began her career in public recreation administration with the Seattle, Wash., Parks and Recreation Department. She then joined the Warrensburg Parks and Recreation Department as recreation superintendent, a post she held for 18 years. She joined the professional staff at UCM as an academic advisor for three years, followed by her current position of 12 years as director of student activities. She also serves as director for the Student Recreation and Wellness Center on the UCM campus.
Rutt also has served as a UCM adjunct instructor in recreation, leadership, program design and group dynamics for 34 years. She also serves as advisor to the UCM Student Government Association and Spotlight, the student programming board. She is a past recipient of the J. P. Mees Outstanding Professional Staff Member Award, presented annually by the UCM Professional Staff Council.
During her tenure at UCM, Rutt was instrumental in the planning and construction of the Student Recreation and Wellness Center and renovation of North Morrow Hall, as well as the development and opening of the Campus Cupboard food pantry on the UCM campus. She also led the development and implementation of IMPACT, the freshman student leadership program that includes a week-long orientation to college life and team building, and served as president of the UCM Professional Staff Council.
In addition to her professional duties at UCM, Rutt has served on the Warrensburg R-VI Board of Education for 24 years, including five terms as president. She also serves on the executive committee for Johnson County’s Project Community Connect, and she is past chair of the Johnson County Heart Walk and a member of the Johnson County American Heart Association. She also served as a Cub Scout leader and member of the local Cub Scout committee.
Rutt participated in the planning and development of the Teaching Garden at the UCM Mitchell Street Farm, a collaborative effort between the UCM agriculture program, the Office of Student Activities and the Warrensburg R-VI School District that allows Maple Grove Elementary School students to plant and harvest produce with assistance from UCM staff and students. She serves as public relations chair for the Warrensburg Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, is a member of P.E.O. Chapter MI, past president of the Johnson County Mental Health Association and a past board member of the Mid-Continent Girls Scouts Regional Board in Kansas City. She also served as a facilitator of outdoor education and team building experience for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for four years.
A native of Lexington, Mo., Rutt and her husband, Charlie, are the parents of two children, Sam, a UCM alumnus, and Hannah, a UCM student. She is the daughter of Liz Fenner and the late D.E. Fenner of Lexington.
The award honors the legacy of the late James C. Kirkpatrick, who served as Missouri’s secretary of state from 1965 to 1985, establishing the Missouri record for tenure of an elected state officeholder. An alumnus of UCM and former member and president of the university’s Board of Regents, Kirkpatrick was named UCM’s Distinguished University Fellow upon his retirement and return to Warrensburg from Jefferson City.
Past recipients of the award include U.S. Congressman Ike Skelton, U.S. Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, U.S. Sen. John Danforth, Gov. Mel Carnahan, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, and Missouri State Sen. David Pearce.
(Courtesy of UCM Public Relations)