Indiana University Northwest regrets to announce the passing of Philip James Rutledge, Ph.D., IU professor emeritus and former director of the School of Public and Environmental Affairs on the Gary campus. Rutledge, 81, a resident of Silver Spring, Md., passed away due to natural causes on Jan. 26.
Rutledge oversaw the SPEA program at IU Northwest from 1983 until 1986. He also served for a time as chair of the minority studies department here. Though he left IU Northwest in 1986 to accept other important responsibilities throughout the University system, Rutledge maintained many personal friendships and professional relationships with colleagues on the Northwest campus throughout the rest of his life.
Rutledge had visited IU Northwest as recently as November 2006, when he accompanied a high-ranking political delegation from Free State Province, South Africa here as part of a weeklong goodwill visit to Indiana. Rutledge arranged the South African visit through his role as senior fellow at the National Academy of Public Administration. He said at that time that he was excited to make IU Northwest and the city of Gary the delegation’s first stop in Indiana.
Also during November, Rutledge met with his IU Northwest colleagues to solicit advice regarding the writing of his memoirs. IU Northwest Prof. Jean Poulard, Ph.D., whom Rutledge hired at SPEA in 1983, recalled having dinner with Rutledge on Nov. 26, just two months before his death. Poulard called Rutledge a “good and honest man.”
“He was my boss, but I can say he was also my friend,” Poulard stated in a statement of tribute he prepared in honor of Rutledge. “We had very different political ideologies, but that did not bother us. We agreed to disagree on certain things. He used to kid me in front of audiences, saying ‘There are ways to look at things, and then there is the Poulard way!’ And he would laugh, and I would laugh along with him.”
Poulard noted that Rutledge founded the International Affairs Club at IU Northwest and also the World Affairs Council of Northwest Indiana. He said that Rutledge’s extensive network of international contacts served the students and faculty at IU Northwest well over the years, as the recent South African visit demonstrated.
“In the few years he spent on our campus, he demonstrated how great a leader he was, not only through his creations but also in bringing to us all sorts of interesting personalities from his worldwide acquaintances,” Poulard stated.
Rutledge’s time at IU Northwest was but one part of a distinguished 32-year academic career that saw him serve in various academic and administrative capacities on three IU campuses and at Howard University as chair of the Department of Public Administration there. Rutledge also served as adjunct professor of public administration at Farleigh Dickinson University, and at Harvard University as a Fellow of the Institute of Politics at the Kennedy School of Government, and also as a member of the Board of Overseers’ Visiting Committee at the Kennedy School. His many positions of note at IU included: special assistant to the president and director of the Center for Global Studies system-wide; IU representative to the Board of the Midwest Universities Consortium for International Programs (a post he held for 10 years); chair of the Working Group on Environmental Equity and Sustainable Development at IU Bloomington; associate dean of SPEA at IUPUI; and a member of the President’s Council on International Programs, among others.
Rutledge was a fully tenured professor of public and environmental affairs and political science at IU when he retired in 1999, and he held appointments as professor emeritus on all three campuses at which he had served. His fields of interest included public policy formation, labor force issues, environmental equity, sustainable development, urban management, and international and comparative administration. Rutledge was especially interested in governance issues in Africa, and he lectured, conducted research in or consulted 22 of the 46 countries on the African continent.
Rutledge was born Oct. 15, 1925 in Dawson, Georgia and later moved to Florida. In 1943 Rutledge left Florida after refusing to give up his seat on a Jacksonville bus to a white man, and he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. There he served as a medical technician and field sanitarian.
Following the war, Rutledge moved to Chicago to complete his education. He earned his bachelor’s degree in political science and sociology from Roosevelt University. He later was awarded a Master’s of Public Health from the University of Michigan School of Public Health. In 1980, Rutledge received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from IU Bloomington.
Rutledge’s academic interests in public administration stemmed from years of practical experience in government work. After serving under Detroit Mayor Jerome P. Cavanaugh as director of the Mayor’s Committee for Human Resources Development, and as a Detroit representative to Michigan Governor George W. Romney’s Committee on Higher Education and to the Southeastern Michigan Regional Planning Committee, Rutledge moved to Washington, D.C. to join President Lyndon Johnson’s administration. There he served as executive director of the President’s Committee on Manpower and deputy administrator of the Manpower Administration in the U.S. Department of Labor. Rutledge later served as deputy administrator of the Social and Rehabilitation Services and Commissioner of Welfare in the Department of Health Education and Welfare under Secretaries Elliott Richardson and Caspar Weinberger under President Richard Nixon.
Following his federal government service, Rutledge moved to the administration of the first mayor of the District of Columbia, Walter Washington. Appointed in 1970, Rutledge served as special assistant to Washington and as the mayor’s director of the Department of Human Resources, the umbrella agency for health, welfare, vocational rehabilitation, veterans’ affairs, and education.
Rutledge also was active in a number of professional, community and civic organizations. His positions included: chairman (for 25 years) of the Board of Directors of the United Black Fund of America, the United Black Fund of Greater Washington, D.C. and the International Black Fund; member of the Ministerial Fellowship Committee of the Unitarian Universalists Association of Congregations; and senior fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA). On the evening of his death, Rutledge was to be honored as an inaugural recipient of NAPA’s George Graham Award for Exceptional Service to the Academy, recognizing his lifetime of achievement in public administration.
A devoted and loving husband, father and grandfather, Phil Rutledge is survived by his wife of 54 years, Violet Eklund; four children: Phyllis Caldwell (Barry), Janet Rutledge (Norman Fortenberry), Patricia Ford, and Edward Rutledge (Carol); and six grandchildren: Jessica Ford, Lorenzo Ford, Hillary Caldwell, Lauren Caldwell, Brendan Caldwell, and Carter Fortenberry.
The Indiana University Northwest campus community extends our deepest sympathies to the family of Philip Rutledge. His contributions to IU Northwest will never be forgotten, and the impact of those efforts will be felt for generations to come.
Visitation is scheduled at Hines-Rinaldi Funeral Home, 11800 New Hampshire Avenue, Silver Spring, Md. from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 2, followed by a funeral service at 3 p.m., with a private interment to follow. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be sent to the Rutledge Fellows Program, Indiana University Foundation, P.O. Box 500, Bloomington, IN 47402.