Former FHSU professor to enter hall of fame posthumously

Dr. Jim Rucker

By Randy Gonzales
University Relations and Marketing
HAYS, Kan. -- Dr. Jim Rucker, a professor at Fort Hays State University for nearly 30 years, is remembered as a professional who cared about his students. Rucker died Oct. 21, 2010, after a battle with cancer at the age of 63, but his memory lives on.

On Saturday, Oct. 15, Rucker will be posthumously inducted into the Business Education National Hall of Fame at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in Whitewater, Wis. Rucker's wife, Jeanne, will be in attendance with their son, Jason Rucker, and their daughter, Jill Dilly. They will be joined at the ceremony by Scott Jones, instructor of management at FHSU, who nominated Rucker for the honor.

"He was the epitome of a professional in the way he carried himself and the things he did every day," said Jones, who had known Rucker since 2004.

Jeanne Rucker was happy for her late husband being recognized.

"I thought it was a great honor for Jim," said Jeanne, who moved to Overland Park after retiring from USD 489 to be near her children and grandchildren. "I thought it was pretty neat. The kids did, too."

Rucker first came to FHSU in 1982 to teach in the College of Business. He won numerous awards while at Fort Hays State, including Faculty Member of the Year in 2003-04. He also received a regional Collegiate Business Teacher of the Year Award in 2000 and was the 2003 recipient of the Collegiate Teacher of the Year Award from the National Business Education Association.

"The students really liked him," Jones said. "He had a dry wit, kept them on their toes in terms of his humor."

Rucker battled cancer for more than two years. He was still in the classroom a week before he died.

"He said it was better to be around people than to sit around, think about what was to come," his widow said. "He was positive up until the very end. We were grateful for that."

Jones was excited upon learning Rucker was going to be inducted into the hall of fame.

"I thought it was really cool that it was kind of the last thing I could do for him," Jones said. "He was a great guy."

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