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University of Central Missouri
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Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4640
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Beth Rutt Named Recipient of J.P. Mees Professional Staff Award

Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (April 20, 2009) –Beth Rutt, director of campus activities, was named the eighth recipient of the John Paul Mees Award for Outstanding Professional Staff during an annual breakfast hosted by the UCM Professional Staff Council April 13. Carole Nimmer, the 2008 Mees Award recpient, made the award presentation with Karen Hibdon, 2008-2009 Professional Staff Council president.

Honoring the Legacy of John Paul Mees

The award was established in memory of John Paul Mees, whodied in 2000 while serving as vice president of planning and policy/executive assistant to the president. Mees, who was known as a dedicated and motivated employee, joined the university in 1988 as executive assistant to the president and professor of education. He also served as provost and vice president of academic affairs during his tenure at UCM.

Selection for the Mees Award considers criteria such as commitment to the university, commitment to community, professional activities, service to students and offices and positions held during employment at UCM. Campus colleagues submit nominations and recommendations.

“I consider it a blessing in my life to have been able to come to the university when J.P. was here. The one thing I miss the most about him was his countenance. He had a smile that was ingrained,” Rutt said, adding that by his actions, Mees set a positive example for others. “I feel a great deal of responsibility in accepting this award in his honor.”

A UCM Alumna Dedicated to Professional Service

Rutt earned a bachelor’s degree in recreation and leisure education from UCM in 1978, and a master’s degree in recreation and public administration in 1983. She became director of campus activities in 2003 after joining the university in 2000 as an academic advisor for student athletes and students in the former College of Education and Human Services.

Long before she began her full-time responsibilities at UCM, Rutt touched the lives of students. She has taught a number of courses at the university since 1980 in subject areas related to leadership and group dynamics, programming and design of recreation and tourism programs, outdoor leisure education and outdoor skills. She has served as a faculty advisor for the Students of Tourism and Recreation Society (STARS), and advisor to the Student Government Association. She was named SGA Advisor of the Year in 2005-2006.

Recognized by Students

In their letters of support, they praised her “open door” approach to her office. They noted her willingness to help them with any issue, and the positive inspiration she provides. One student wrote, “I want to be a student affairs professional because of Beth,” Nimmer told the gathering.

Campus Involvement

Nimmer said Rutt has been involved with numerous committees that have campus-wide impact. This includes membership on the steering committee for the Campus Master Plan, participation in the Integrated Marketing Team, and providing leadership for the university group that is planning the new $20.5 million Student Recreation and Wellness Center.

“I am one of many people involved,” she said about her involvement in the latter project. “It’s an exciting  opportunity that we have at the university, and I’m glad I’m in a position to see it come to fruition.”

Community Involvement

Before joining UCM, Rutt served from 1980-1999 as recreation superintendent for the Warrensburg Park and Recreation Department. In that capacity, she assisted with the planning and design of a $5.3 million community center.

In addition to serving the university, Rutt has demonstrated a strong interest in her community through participation on the Warrensburg R-VI Board of Education, and through past leadership in activities such as the annual Heart Walk, sponsored by the Johnson County Chapter of the American Heart Association. Rutt chaired the walk in 2006. 

Rutt receives Mees Award
Beth Rutt, second from left, received the John Paul Mees Award for Outstanding Professional Staff April 13. Those participating in the presentation were, left to right, Joan Mees, wife of the late John Paul Mees; Karen Hibdon, president of the UCM Professional Staff Council; and Holly Davenport, vice president of the Professional Staff Council.