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Skip’ Rutherford is WCHS Statehood Day sSpeaker

by Special to Enterprise-Leader | June 7, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.

FAYETTEVILLE – The Washington County Historical Society will hold its annual Statehood Day Lecture at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 11, at the First Christian Church, 220 N. College Street here.

Speaking will be James L. "Skip" Rutherford, the founding and Dean Emeritus of the Clinton School of Public Service. A musical prelude and postlude to the speech will be from Loco Focos, an 1830s style string quartet from Tulsa, Okla.

Following the program, refreshments featuring "Statehood Hand Pies," from Rymolene's Pies, and ice-cold lemonade will be served.

Reaching back into his days as a gubernatorial aide, Rutherford will speak on "The Titan II Missile Explosion in Damascus, Ark., September 1980: The Backstories and The What Ifs (of that day)."

WCHS President Lee Anne Wiederkehr invites the public to hear Rutherford's presentation.

"We are looking for a most interesting program on one of our state's most frightening events in our current history," Wiederkehr said. "Armed with his first-hand knowledge within the state government that evening, Rutherford will offer some interesting insight."

In 2006, Rutherford became dean of Clinton School of Public Service, which offered the country's first master's degree in public service and served in this position until 2021.

Rutherford followed in the footsteps of David Pryor, who had been the founding dean of the school. Under Rutherford's leadership, the Clinton School developed concurrent degree programs with the Walton College at the University of Arkansas; the Boozman College of Public Health at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences; and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law.

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