David Rutledge, H.C.

David Rutledge, H.C. received his undergraduate degree in Political Science from Tennessee State University and has studied at both Harvard Law School and the University of Michigan Law School.  He holds an honorary doctoral degree from Eastern Michigan University.

David’s work history includes both public and higher education experiences.  He has chaired both the Washtenaw Community College Board of Trustees in Ann Arbor, Michigan and the ACCT Board of Directors (2003-2004).  From 2011 through 2016, he served as a Michigan State Representative, and he presently serves on the faculty at Central Michigan University, holding the position of Griffin Endowed Chair in the Political Science Department. He is a Vietnam era military veteran having served in the United States Air Force as a Personnel Officer achieving the rank of Captain.

David has served on state commissions appointed by two governors from different political parties. He currently serves at the pleasure of the governor on the Michigan Veterans Facility Authority Board. Because of his leadership and service to his community and the State of Michigan, David has been honored by the Ann Arbor News as its Citizen of the Year.

David’s wife, Geraldine Simmons Rutledge, an elementary school teacher passed in 2015. They have two children, Marcus Rutledge and Felicia Rutledge Thomas, and two grandchildren, Kelton Patton of Ypsilanti and Darius Rutledge of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

Spotlight Questions

1. Who was your earliest professional influence?

In addition to my mom and dad, I am blessed to have had many nurturing people who influenced my early years.  My 9th grade English teacher, Christine Simmons, stands out in my mind even now.  In additional to preparing us academically, she was a motivator who also taught us the rules of social etiquette, and the importance of making ethos a part of our character.  In her mid 80’s now, she addressed my recent 60th high school class reunion and ended her remarks by giving us a final homework assignment.  It is said that teachers touch the future—Christine Simmons sure touched mine.

2. What are you most proud of personally and professionally?

I am thankful for the opportunity to have participated at an early age in nurturing organizations like the church and social clubs where my leadership skills were developed and nurtured.  These experiences significantly contributed to the development of my personal philosophy of “servant leader.”  Professionally, most of my adult life has been spent in public service.  I’ve been appointed by governors of different political parties to serve on statewide commissions; served as an elected township supervisor; and served as a state representative.  Dreams realized!  Having the opportunity to serve on the Political Science faculty of Central Michigan University for four years and teach young minds what I’ve lived, was a bonus.

3. What is your favorite pastime or hobby?

My favorite hobby is playing the game of golf.  I like the game for more than the beautiful venues.  I find it a metaphor for living a successful life.  For example, your objective is to overcome the course’s challenges.  To do that, you must understand the rules of the course and play within them; you must avoid the traps or be successful in getting out of them.  And, if you make a mistake while playing, you can’t put the blame on someone else.  

4. If not Higher Ed, what?

Being a policy governance consultant in the higher ed space fits my academic training and practical experiences as a former member of several boards including the board of trustees for a community college.  However, another dream job yet unfulfilled is writing motivational articles for a magazine or newspaper.

5. What was the best piece of advice you have received?

“Don’t let people who aren’t going anywhere take you with them.”  From a conversation my dad had with me before I went away to college.

6. What is your favorite drink?

My favorite drink is a Margarita on the rocks with a salted rim glass made from 1800 Tequila.  My wine of choice is a good Merlot. 

7. What is your favorite cuisine?

My favorite dish is salmon.  When I prepare this dish for guests, I start with wild caught salmon.  I put individual pieces on separate sheets of aluminum foil, sprinkle with salt/pepper, add several pads of butter on top, add slices of onion, put a couple of fresh dill on top, and add a tablespoon of capers (with a little of the juice).  Seal the aluminum foil around the salmon and place in oven on a cookie sheet (pre-heated to 350).  Bake for 15 minutes—then pure JOY!      

8. What is your favorite movie?

My all-time favorite movie is Dr. Zhivago (released in 1965) staring Omar Sharif and Julie Christie.

9. Fun fact?

A fun fact, but scary at the time: I rode a bike down the face of Haleakala, an East Maui volcano with an elevation of 10,023 feet.  It is the location of one of the most important observatories in the world.


David Rutledge