Longtime Holmes chemistry instructor Ray Rutledge touched the lives of many students seeking degrees in the medical field, and one of his former students, David Hudson, and his wife, Christy, have recently established the Ray Rutledge Memorial Science Department Fund in his memory to assist the science department on the Goodman Campus.
Rutledge, who passed away in October 2015, was David Hudson's chemistry instructor from 1987-89 and played a vital role in Hudson's reaching his goal of becoming a pharmacist.
"He was an inspiration to me," Hudson said. "He was my Sunday School teacher. He was my chemistry teacher at Holmes Community College. He just inspired me to do great things. He was always somebody I looked up to and respected."
Hudson said Rutledge was "hard but fair."
"Nothing is ever easy if it's worth having," Hudson said. "Going to pharmacy school I knew I was going to be challenged. He challenged me, and I did have to study hard. I made my first 'B' in chemistry I, and I didn't make a 'B' again. I always enjoyed his classes. He was always so passionate about his classes."
He and Christy wanted the science instructors to have access to funds if they needed something for their students at Holmes, whether it is lab equipment, trips to a statewide events or even a department party. "A lot of times these things do not get budgeted in," Hudson said. "I just wanted them to use it to help the students have what they needed to be the best chemistry students they can be."
The fund is open to anyone wishing to help the science department or to memorialize Rutledge.
"I'm where I am because my parents helped me or somebody went before me and did something to encourage me to go to pharmacy school," Hudson said. "I want everybody else to have the same opportunity as though Mr. Rutledge impacted their life. He impacted a lot of people's lives both physically and spiritually. He was a hard teacher you respected and really liked. Your hardest teachers are the ones you remember and keep up the most relationships with a lot of times."
Rutledge, the son of Percy and Rosalie Gunn Rutledge, grew up in Lena and graduated from Lena High School in 1961 before attending Mississippi State University for undergraduate and graduate school. He and his wife, Sandra, moved to Kosciusko in 1968 after he accepted a position as the chemistry and physics teacher at Kosciusko High School, where he worked for approximately 30 years.
He left Kosciusko to come to Holmes where he taught chemistry and served as the chair of the Science and Mathematics Department until 2002. During this time, he was a faithful servant of his church, First Baptist Church of Kosciusko, where in 1968, he and his wife, Sandra, founded the Adult 8 Sunday School Class, which he taught until two months before his death.
Approval of expenditures to the fund will follow the college's regular purchasing process. Funds can be used for equipment, supplies or projects for the Goodman Campus Science Department. Only 75 percent of the fund's balance can be used annually.
If you are interested in making a donation to the Rutledge Memorial Science Department Fund, you may do so by mailing a check to the Holmes CC Development Foundation, P.O. Box 527, Goodman, MS 39079. Questions about the fund can be directed to Foundation Executive Director Dr. Lindy McCain at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (662) 472-9017.