celebrate education - brought to you by the amarillo globe-news

CEO was never tempted to give up

Jim Rutledge
Age: 64
Occupation: President and CEO, Coffee Memorial Blood Center

Where did you receive your education?
University of California, Berkeley; University of California, Davis.

How has your education played a role in your life today?
My undergraduate and graduate degrees opened doors to so many career choices, not limited by my fields of academic expertise.

What was your greatest educational challenge and how did you overcome it?
I went straight from an unremarkable high school to one of the most prestigious and competitive universities in the world, and frankly I wasn't ready for it. I didn't realize how much more difficult it was going to be, how much more time I was going to have to spend on my studies. It's when those first grades came out that I got the message and made some significant adjustments in my priorities.

What would you say to someone who's undecided about continuing their education?
Continuing your education is essential, but timing is everything. For some people, going straight through to a "final" degree is the right answer. That worked for me, but just barely. For others, it might be better to take some time off between high school and college, or before going on to post-graduate studies. There is no "one size fits all" answer.

When did you make education a priority?
Education did not really become a priority until I got to graduate school. That's when coursework and associated activities became my job rather that just a means to a getting a job. That was a key to future success.

What made you realize the importance of education in your life?
Some key teachers along the way played pretty important roles, even as far back as sixth grade. I wanted to be one of them, to learn what they knew and to command the respect that they seemed to command. It was pretty easy to see that continuing my education was the way to get there.

Did you ever think about quitting? What made you keep going?
I was never really tempted to quit. The real fear was that I might fail. During my undergraduate years at Cal-Berkeley, that possibility never seemed far away. I had to keep reminding myself that they (whoever they were) wouldn't have let me in if they (same folks) hadn't thought I could make it.

2009 Stories
2008 Archive
calendar of events
  • January 11
    Kickoff of 2009 Program
    Find out what Celebrate Education is all about in this special section in your Sunday paper.
  • March 7
    Regional Spelling Bee, West Texas A&M University
    The annual Regional Spelling Bee will feature the top spellers from the Amarillo area. The top five winners will receive scholarship money ranging from $500 to $5,000 and the winner will travel to Washington, D.C., in June to represent the area in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
  • Spring and Fall
    Amarillo Reads community-wide reading projects.
    Dates and details TBA
  • April
    Amarillo Education Matching Grants Program. Exact date TBA
  • April 10
    What's a Kid to Do Special Section
  • April 12
    What's a Kid to Do at the Amarillo Civic Center
    This event will focus on activities and camps for children to participate in during the summer..
  • May 8-29
    Beating the Odds
    A series of stories published daily in the Amarillo Globe-News during the graduation season that profiles people who have inspiring stories to tell about the degree they are about to receive.
  • May 12
    Ready for the Real World program at Amarillo Civic Center
    AISD juniors get training on what's going to face them in a little more than a year.
  • May 16
    Best and Brightest Special Section
  • May 16
    Best and Brightest Event at West Texas A&M University
  • Fall
    Discover College Day
    Fifth graders from area schools visit college campuses.
  • October 1
    Great Jobs Special Section
    Focusing on well paying jobs available in the area that people may not know about.
  • November 2
    Career Education Special Section
    Focusing on businesses and others in the community helping young people gain a career vision.
  • November
    Yes You Can Event
    Designed to help people gain information about the next level of education from GED to PhD. Date TBA.
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