James L. “Skip” Rutherford, Dean


Skip Rutherford of Little Rock is Dean of the University of Arkansas Clinton School (UACS) of Public Service. UACS opened in 2005 and is located on the grounds of the William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park in Little Rock, Arkansas. It was the first school in the country offering a Master’s degree in public service.

A graduate of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, he received the Journalism Department’s first Distinguished Alumnus Award. He has an extensive private sector background in communications and public relations and has served as a visiting professor at the University of Arkansas; Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas; the University of the Ozarks in Clarksville, Arkansas; and the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, Arkansas.

From 1997 until it opened in 2004, Rutherford supervised the planning and construction of the Clinton Presidential Center and Park and served as Founding President of the William J. Clinton Foundation.

He is a former administrative assistant to United States Senator David Pryor (D-AR), and has been active in numerous campaigns and initiatives at the local, state and federal levels. He is the founder and organizer of the Political Animals Club, a non-partisan grassroots organization of community leaders and activists who meet regularly to discuss politics and issues.

He coordinated the 40th anniversary commemoration of the 1957 crisis at Little Rock Central High School. He also coordinated the dedication of the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport, only the third new commercial airport to open in the previous 25 years.

He served as past president of the Little Rock School Board, was the first president of the advisory board for the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts and serves on the Lyon College Board of Trustees. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of The Foundation for the Mid South and Arkansas Children’s Hospital where he has promoted statewide Children’s health advocacy through the formation of the Natural Wonders Partnership.

Rutherford was named Tourism Person of the Year at the Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism, and also was honored as the Arkansan of the Year by the Arkansas Broadcasters Association. He is the recipient of the William F. Rector Memorial Award for distinguished civic achievement in Little Rock. When the Clinton Library opened, he was named Arkansan of the Year by the Arkansas Times newspaper and Headliner of the Year by the Arkansas Press Association.

He is the recipient of the Humanitarian Award from Just Communities of Arkansas; the Men of Volunteer Achievement from the Retired Senior Volunteer Program; the Arkansas Community Service Award from the Arkansas Department of Volunteerism; the Martin Luther King Award from the Black Community Developers, the Community Service Award from the University of Arkansas Alumni Association and the Champion Award from the Home Instruction Program for Parents of Pre-School Youngsters (HIPPY). In 2014 he was recognized as the Clara Barton Distinguished Humanitarian of the Year by the American Red Cross of Greater Arkansas.

He and his wife, Billie, are the parents of three children. They are members of Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church in Little Rock where Rutherford is a past chairman of the Board of Stewards and co-chaired the church’s 100th Centennial Celebration.  He also co-owns and manages two family farms in Arkansas.