Kent Station scholarship to honor longtime Green River College president

Rich Rutkowski, who died in 2022, was president of the college from 1983 to 2010

Rich Rutkowski. Courtesy Photo, Green River College

Rich Rutkowski. Courtesy Photo, Green River College

The Kent Station shopping center will dedicate its annual Green River College Scholarship in 2023 in the name of longtime president Rich Rutkowski.

Rutkowski, 79, died in October 2022. He was president of Green River College from 1983 to 2010 and was the driving force behind starting the school’s satellite campus at Kent Station in the early 2000s.

Green River College, based in Auburn, became one of the anchors of the Kent Station project along with AMC Theatres.

“Rutkowski personally lobbied the state to fund the college’s portion of the development,” according to a March 7 Kent Station news release. “His creativity and commitment were key to making the current campus a reality.”

Kent Station has provided over 40 scholarships since the program’s inception in 2007. The scholarships have benefited local Kent students who may not have been able to attend college without financial assistance.

“I would like to express my gratitude at being selected for this scholarship,” one scholarship recipient wrote to Kent Station. “As a low-income student with chronic health challenges, finding the funds to continue my education has been difficult. Your generosity has allowed me to continue my education without added debt or stress.”

Over the years, Kent Station has hosted various promotional events while sponsoring the annual scholarship, including “Dollars For Scholars” and “Moolah For Schoolah,” just to name a few. All donations have gone directly to the Green River Foundation which provides over 300 nonathletic student scholarships annually.

“This year, the scholarship will be donated and dedicated in honor of Rich Rutkowski for his commitment to Green River and Kent Station,” according to the news release.

Celebration of life event

Green River College will celebrate the life and legacy of its third president, Rich Rutkowski, at 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 11. The event will be in-person in the Mel Lindbloom Student Union on the Auburn campus and virtually on Zoom.

Rutkowski served Green River from 1974 until 2010, first as the college’s vice president of business affairs and then from 1983 to 2010 as the college’s longest-serving president.

Under his leadership, Green River College expanded its connections and partnerships throughout the local and global communities and launched Green River College’s International Program, according to the school’s website. With his vision and under his stewardship, Rutkowski obtained funding to make major capital improvements on Green River’s main campus, as well as establish new campuses in Kent and Enumclaw.

He also served on the Boards of Gesa Credit Union, College Spark Washington, Pemco and the Green River College Foundation. He was a Kiwanian and an avid fisher.

He is survived by his wife, Shirley, and his two daughters.

Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

The Green River College campus at Kent Station. COURTESY PHOTO, Kent Station

The Green River College campus at Kent Station. COURTESY PHOTO, Kent Station

More in News

Madeline Goldsmith. COURTESY PHOTO
No suspect yet in July 2023 Kent murder of Madeline Goldsmith

Someone fatally shot 18-year-old Kentwood High graduate as she sat in vehicle near Lake Meridian

Police bust mother, daughter in Kent for retail crime spree

Two reportedly joined one other woman in 3-state crime ring taking women’s clothing from Lululemon

Reith Road in Kent to get two new roundabouts this year

City Council approves $4.28 million bid; project to start in late May or early June

Puget Sound Fire’s Teddy Bear Clinic set for May 18 in Kent

Annual event provides free checkups for teddy bears and children

Overturned military vehicle causes I-5 backup near Kent, Federal Way

Wednesday, April 10 in northbound lanes near South 272nd Street

Kent Police Blotter: March 26 to April 7

Incidents include robberies, burglaries, shooting

State Patrol seek witnesses to I-5 hit-and-run crash in Kent

Collision at about 11:30 p.m. Monday, April 8 along northbound I-5 near State Route 516

Riverbend Golf Complex in Kent turns profit for 2nd consecutive year

City-owned facility brings in about $600,000 in 2023

Kent Police recovered nearly 800 catalytic converters in a 2021 bust. File photo
New state legislation fights catalytic converter theft

Governor Jay Inslee signed a bill on March 26 adding new regulations… Continue reading

Firefighting Diversity & Recruitment Workshop set for May 11 in Kent

Event designed to help potential candidates get jobs

Kentwood High grad’s legacy of love lives on through organ donation

Madeline Goldsmith one of 344 organ donors honored by Gov. Jay Inslee in Olympia

Flowers, framed photos, plush toys and a QR code to the GoFundMe pages of the families grace the memorial site after the March 19 crash. Photo by Bailey Jo Josie/Sound Publishing.
Judge, lawyers debate low bail for Kent driver in fatal Renton crash

Judge explains reduction from $1 million to $100,000, which was posted by family of Chase Jones