James and Kathy Rutherford P’99

Award presented: September 26, 2020

Jim and Kathy Rutherford are the proud parents of Otterbein alumnus Keith Rutherford, class of 1999. For more than two decades, Jim and Kathy Rutherford have been true ambassadors for Otterbein’s values in the comprehensive way they have chosen to lead and serve. Whether through Jim’s service and counsel as a member of Otterbein’s Board of Trustees, or through the couple’s thoughtful and visionary giving, together they have focused on advancing the potential of students, supporting efforts to broaden awareness of our institution and growing opportunities for Otterbein and its students and programs to impact the world. In 1997, Jim and Kathy established the James A. and Kathleen C. Rutherford Endowed Scholarship; it is awarded annually to first-generation college students with financial need and demonstrated leadership potential. During the Where We Stand Matters campaign, the Rutherfords’ provided a multi-year grant to Otterbein to be used to “raise awareness of the University both locally and nationally to ensure the University’s viability (do you mean visibility) and competitiveness in a challenging market environment.” This grant has allowed Otterbein to build and enrich its strategic marketing and communication efforts, leading to increased awareness of the University both locally and nationally. The Rutherfords’ support helped Otterbein expand its reach to potential students and communities, which has played a role in bringing in more diverse and academically accomplished classes. Additionally, their consistent annual support for the University’s Otterbein FUND shows that they know the vital role played by unrestricted annual gifts in supporting strategic priorities, academic excellence, and the student experience. Jim once shared his perspective on the Rutherford family’s giving. “We’re helping deserving students become successful. When they become successful, they can help others become successful. To Kathy and me, that’s how philanthropy works.”