PCCUA 2023 graduate is recipient of new mini-grant opportunity
Posted Date: 5/26/23

PCCUA 2023 graduate Tyonna Williams, of Lexa, is among four University of Arkansas System students to receive a $1,000 mini-grant from an endowment honoring James “Skip” Rutherford, dean emeritus of the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service.

Williams recently completed an Associate of Arts degree in general education graduating this month at PCCUA-Helena. A graduate of Barton High School, Williams has volunteered with the Humane Society and worked in retail sales, while taking college classes. She has completed much of her coursework online and learned of this unique grant opportunity through her mother. She used the grant money for school supplies and household expenses as she worked toward completing her degree.

This is the second year for grants to be awarded from this fund. Other mini-grant recipients included Scott Davis, of University of Arkansas at Monticello, Lindsay Mast, of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, and Naomi Mendoza, of the University of Arkansas Pulaski Technical College.

“We had another year with so many compelling applications,” said Eric Wilson, who serves as chair of the Rutherford Endowment selection committee. “The four recipients each represent what this program is all about – providing support to those students who could use a boost to help reach their goals in higher education. I want to encourage those who we couldn’t fund this year to apply again next year.”

Rutherford served as dean of the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service from 2006 to 2021. During his term, he emphasized the unique project-based learning model in the school’s Master of Public Service degree program and built a nationally renowned public speakers’ program, among other accomplishments. Before becoming dean, Rutherford oversaw the planning, construction and opening of the Clinton Presidential Center. He also has an extensive private sector background in communications and public relations. The Rutherford Student Leadership Endowment was founded in 2021 by friends of Rutherford upon his retirement to honor his life and career in public service.

Commenting on this year’s recipients, Rutherford said, "I'm honored and humbled that these students and so many others have taken interest in this program, and I am so impressed with each of the winners,” Rutherford said. “I hope these mini-grants will help each of them reach their goals in higher education and beyond. I appreciate all the donors to this endowment who have helped and will continue to help make a difference for students in need of support across the UA System.”

The grants were awarded by an independent committee appointed by Dr. Michael Moore, UA System vice president for academic affairs, in accordance with the terms of the endowment. Each spring, undergraduate and graduate students from any UA System campus may apply for the grant.

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