On November 17, 2012, hundreds of Bryant students, faculty, friends and members of the community gathered at the football stadium to participate in the Race for Rutledge, a charity 5k to honor Peter Rutledge. Peter was an active part of the Bryant community. He was the Assistant Director of the Academic Center for Excellence (ACE); in this role he coordinated Peer Tutoring Services and taught Foundation for Learning classes. Peter was diagnosed with a brain tumor in April 2011 and battled with it for 18 months. Unfortunately, Peter passed away in August, leaving behind his wife, Cari, two sons, and a gap both in the Academic Center for Excellence and the Bryant community.
Creating the Race for Rutledge was a dual effort from ACE and Beta Gamma Sigma (BGS), the national business honor society. As a tutor for ACE, I was personally affected by the loss of Peter and was highly motivated to do something for his family. Peter was an avid athlete and a giving individual; organizing a charity 5k seemed the best way to honor him on campus.
After explaining this idea to ACE and notifying the “Friends of Peter” Facebook page, I was contacted by a multitude of people, stating how excited they were for this event, wanting to help out in some way, and fully supporting the idea because Peter was such an amazing individual.
With the support of Bryant and friends, the planning stages began. I looked to ACE and BGS for help; luckily, BGS issued a statement about their centennial community service initiative and allowed current members to submit volunteer hours. Sue Wandyes, our chapter advisor for BGS, fully backed the idea. With the work of ACE’s staff and the BGS student Vice Presidents, Daniel Hebert, Courtney Simao, and myself, the Race for Rutledge was underway. I would also like to thank Athletics for all their help in organizing the race.
The Race for Rutledge was positively received by the Bryant community as well as the larger Rhode Island community. Many local businesses donated money for the cause and were also sponsors for the race. These sponsors included: Specialty Operations Solutions, Inc, Stepka Family Dental, Orthopedic Group, Dexter Training Concepts, Urologic Specialists of New England, Twin River Chiropractic, Discovery House, and Hearing Health Care Connection. In addition to these sponsors, other businesses, faculty members, and students donated to the race. With 277 total participants, the Race for Rutledge raised over $6,500, all of which will go directly to Peter’s family.
The actual day of the race was extremely rewarding. Some 277 people
participated altogether; 157 ran while the remaining walked a 1.5 mile course. Toshi Paganelli, 17, and son of Kaoru Paganelli of the Intercultural Center at Bryant, won the race.
Without the help of Bryant staff, students, and athletes, this race would not have occurred. Having volunteers from ACE and BGS helped the race run smoothly, and I am extremely grateful to have received the help and support that I did. Cari, Peter’s wife also shared her thanks, “Thank you, Courtney and everyone who participated! I am overwhelmed with gratitude for all the generosity and kindness. It means even more that Peter was honored through something he was so passionate about. I was cheering for you all from way out west and I know Peter was smiling down.”