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.


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

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

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