Honoree receives special award
By Oliver Joszt and Laura Mortkowitz
Although Mike Rutkowski is the grants manager, he has been involved in many activities during his nine years at Rider. During University Day on April 7, 2009, he was announced as the newest recipient of the Nancy Gray Award.
Rutkowski’s day job consists of managing all the grants for faculty and administration, as well as the restricted gifts that the university receives. He is co-chair of the Faculty Staff Annual Fund Campaign Committee and he works with Student Support Services.
“I’m fairly active on campus and involved in many things that are outside of the normal functions of my position in the Finance Division,” he said.
However, he is also very involved with the students in other ways. Rutkowski is the adviser for the Japanese Pop Culture Society and co-adviser for both the Gay-Straight Alliance and Vox. And he isn’t just involved on the Lawrenceville campus; his niece is a student at Westminster Choir College
“I will be leading a group of students to Costa Rica on a service trip in May,” Rutkowski said. “I try and support activities on campus — the theater productions, various sporting events, speakers coming to campus and whatever else is going on here and on the Westminster campus.”
Betty McErlean, director of the Budget Office, nominated Rutkowski for the Nancy Gray Award. The award, named for the former vice president for development and university relations, honors a member of the faculty or staff who exemplifies campus leadership, involvement, school pride/spirit and community service, according to the Rider Web site.
For McErlean, the decision to nominate Rutkowski was an easy one. She said she “couldn’t think of anyone who deserves this honor more.”
“Michael is a most generous man, with his talents, his time and his personal attention,” she said. “He has a great passion and enthusiasm for the mission of serving the students.”
Rutkowski exhibited another trait when he learned he was receiving the award. He said that he still feels humble.
“I was in shock at first,” he said. “Then it was like, ‘Oh, my God. Somebody thinks enough of what I’ve been doing to deserve this?’”
Being the recipient of the award made Rutkowski feel as if his work was being validated. According to him, he just does “what feels right.”
“[The award] made me feel appreciated for doing some things that I really enjoy,” he said. “I base a lot of what I do by observing other people that I respect and admire, both on campus and off.”
Rutkowski is now sharing company with other esteemed members of Rider’s faculty and staff who have won the Nancy Gray Award in the past, such as last year’s recipient, Dr. Carol Brown, associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Education and Sciences.
“I’ve been told that I deserved it for all that I do on campus, but I feel truly blessed to be in a place that allows me to be me and to take part in so many different activities,” Rutkowski said. “I am the lucky one here.”