CU MSW grad gives $2,000 to help future adult MSW student

CU MSW grad gives $2,000 to help future adult MSW student

June 8, 2010
For Immediate Release

By Linda Waggener, marketing and media relations coordinator

CAMPBELLSVILLE, KY – “Life is hard,” said MSW graduate Tony Michael Rutherford, “even when it’s going great, life is hard.” That knowledge was behind a gift of $2,000 he and his wife Beth gave to Campbellsville University for a scholarship to help future adult students. He was among 15 students who made history at CU May 7 in the first class of master of social work graduates from the Carver School of Social Work and Counseling since it moved to CU from Louisville in 1998.

Homeless at age 15 when he lost his parents, Rutherford knows how important help can be. He remembers having slept in the lobby of Somerset Hospital in his native Pulaski County, in old abandoned buildings and cars and that is why he said, “I have never forgotten where I came from. If we become desensitized to others’ needs, then we’re not contributing. And now we want to help somebody else.”

Rutherford said that everyone at the Carver School had bent over backwards to help him make the transition as an older student and that had helped motivate the gift that he and Beth gave to help create a scholarship for future adult students. They hope to see it grow and continue.

Dr. Darlene Eastridge, dean of the Carver School, said, “Tony is an example of what we prepare our MSW Christian Servant Leaders to do: change the world one person at a time.”Future adult MSW students will be changed as the recipients of the special gift given by this graduate, who, at a time when most are looking outward, was looking inward, feeling grateful, wanting to give back.

MSW graduate Tony Rutherford and his wife Beth gave a gift to Campbellsville University’s Carver School of Social Work and Counseling because they “couldn’t think of a better cause than this”. The Adair County residents say they chose to live there because of all the friendly folks and they chose Campbellsville University because they believe in the mission. (Campbellsville University photo by Linda Waggener)

 Rutherford said of his wife, “Beth has been my rock. I could never have finished without her. When you go to graduate school, your wife knows all about graduate school whether she wants to or not. She’s heard me talk about the CU program a million times. I came to realize that I liked Campbellsville University’s values when I was here completing my bachelor’s degree 10 years ago. I believe in the mission, believe in the vision, the whole works.”

Beth said she’d seen how caring the professors were throughout her husband’s education at CU. She said that she could see the decency of the people at CU who did what they said they were going to do. “They have really cared about Tony and about his education,” she said.

“We have a charity account and look for good causes and I can’t think of a better one than this,” he said. The Rutherfords gave their gift in memory of their deceased parents: Beth’s father and mother, Vance and Bonnie Graybeal; and his, Robert and Rosa Rutherford.

Rutherford didn’t plan for a longterm education when he started. “My mission coming here to undergrad school,” he said, “was to get a degree as fast as possible and get out.” That changed while working in his job at Lifeskills in Edmonton where he said he felt a strong connection and began to believe he could make a difference in the mental health field.

From there he said that he carefully researched every step of the education needs to excel in that field. He said, “An LCSW with an MSW is the best degree you can get in the mental health field. Period. It will open more doors than any of the other degrees.” That’s when he enrolled in the MSW program at the Carver School and said that as an adult student he really needed the strong support he was given here.

“Darlene doesn’t only talk the talk,” Rutherford said of the dean, “she walks the walk. I respect that in her, as I do every one of the professors of the Carver School. And as long as we’re blessed, I feel it’s our obligation as people to give something back.”

Leaders at CU are excited about this new MSW chapter in the life of the Carver School. A vibrant undergraduate program has been in place for several years with many graduates earning the bachelor’s of social work degree and now the class of 2010, Tony Rutherford’s class, is the first to receive the Master of Social Work degree.

For more information about the work and opportunities at the Carver School of Social Work and Counseling at CU, visit:

Campbellsville University is a private, comprehensive institution located in South Central Kentucky. Founded in 1906, Campbellsville University is affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention and has an enrollment of 3,006 students who represent 97 Kentucky counties, 30 states and 37 foreign nations. Listed in U.S.News & World Report's 2010 "America's Best Colleges," CU is ranked 23rd in "Best Baccalaureate Colleges" in the South, tied for fifth in "most international students" and fourth in "up-and-coming" schools in baccalaureate colleges in the South. CU has been ranked 17 consecutive years with U.S.News & World Report. The university has also been named to America's Best Christian Colleges® and to G.I. Jobs magazine as a Military Friendly School. Campbellsville University is located 82 miles southwest of Lexington, Ky., and 80 miles southeast of Louisville, Ky. Dr. Michael V. Carter is in his 11th year as president.


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