Passionate Leader is Remembered by Career Education Community: RIP Scott Rhude, 1963 – 2015
On May 17, 2015, Scott Rhude passed away. In recognition of his dedication to higher education we celebrate his life. The following are comments from members of the career education community.
In 1987, when Scott was 24, he took over the operations of two 100-year-old business colleges in Nebraska that were struggling. Scott knew how to identify, hire and develop people that would make students and the college more successful. Scott had a level of maturity I had never seen in someone his age. His professionalism, management, and leadership skills transformed our colleges.
I thank him greatly for giving me opportunities that propelled my career. While I had various roles in the college, it was Scott who encouraged me to be on several reaccreditation teams, to attend the APSCU Leadership Institute, and get involved in APSCU committees. We spent a lot of time together traveling between the campuses in Nebraska, talking college administration and how to make our students more successful, often leveraging new technologies. Scott was in an ideas exchange group, and we would prepare our innovative ideas to share with other colleges, and always looked forward to implementing the really good practices of other colleges. We had a great time re-engaging 20 years later in just such an ideas exchange group.
-Jeff Arthur, VP Regulatory Affairs & Chief Information Officer, ECPI University
It is with deep respect we pause and reflect on the life of Scott Rhude, who served on the Board of the Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education for over 14 years, from January 1997 – August 2011. He served multiple terms as Chairman of the Board, as well served on the Finance Committee. It was under his leadership that the finance committee was formalized and will continue to serve as a point of oversight for any licensed school experiencing financial uncertainty. Scott Rhude worked in the school business for his entire professional career, overseeing the operations of four business schools in three time zones at one point. Scott Rhude spent a lot of time traveling, yet rarely ever missed appearing in person for the Arizona State Board meetings. In addition, Scott served on various committees working with the accrediting agencies in Washington, D.C. to help create policy and provide leadership.
Both an entrepreneur and educator, those who knew Scott described him as calm in demeanor, fair in decision making, and absolutely committed to being a student advocate.
Scott believed in giving people the skills they needed to be successful in the workplace, in the most cost-effective way possible. He believed in working within the bureaucratic systems, to challenge the status quo and make sure all points of view were considered, most importantly of which is the voice of the end-user, the consumer – the students.
Scott Rhude leaves a legacy; His life will be remembered as one of selfless service to the ethics and excellence of education. He will be missed and admired forever forward.
-KC Miller, Founder of Southwest Institute of Healing Arts (SWIHA) and Vice Chair of Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education (AZPPSE)
Somehow it does not seem enough to say that Scott was a great school owner and passionate about the business he grew up in; that he exemplified “engagement” on and off the court, and he is sorely missed. As a young school owner nearly 28 years ago, I met Scott as the Career College Idea Exchange Group (CCIEG) was formed. Scott coached and encouraged me. He took time for me. He never made me feel foolish even though I may have felt dumber than a goat. Scott is a tribute to his parents who raised him to be an honorable and decent man with a zest for life with tireless energy he shared with everyone. Scott was my colleague, confidant and friend and I miss him very much.
-Jennifer Deitz, President & Founder, Alaska Career College
I have known Scott since I was about 14 and of course, he was even younger. I keep replaying times we were together over and over in my memories. He was always a kind person, a clear thinker, and a fierce advocate for things in which he believed. We have lost a true friend; the industry has lost one of the good guys.
-Glenn Sullivan, President, Sullivan University System
It seems like I knew Scott all my working life. This was a man who in his young 20’s went into the Nebraska School of Business and the Lincoln School of Commerce when they were absolutely struggling to survive and not only brought them back to life but made them successful. Then taking over Chaparral in Tucson where again he ran a successful business. I remember when Lauren Rhude was on the Arizona state board and on his way home from Phoenix to Tucson stopped and bought a new Lexus, of course he did not have a check book with him so he just told them to call Scott and he would take care of it and of course he did.
When we founded the Career College Idea Exchange Group my job was to recruit AICS (at the time) members and I think my first call was to Scott who contributed so much to that organization. Scott had worked for Cole Furr when he was first starting in the business and that grew into a mutual admiration. When Scott took over Coleman he called a couple of times to have me talk to staff and see it we could move them onward as there was quite a bit of sedentary thinking. I went out to San Diego to help the University prepare for its ACICS visit and had the opportunity to experience some of what Scott had been going through over the past couple of years. No thanks to me the University received one citation and am sure they got a 6-year grant of accreditation. Scott again had brought a school back from the doldrums.
What else can I say about my friend, will I miss him most assuredly. He was a wonderful friend and a dear, dear person. I will miss him at every turn of the road and I can only give my deepest sympathies to his parents.
God Bless my dear friend!
I met Scott at the first PERC meeting I attended about 14 years ago, and he made me feel welcome and we hit it off quickly – so intelligent, funny, engaging, and most of all, passionate about the right things. Many students have him to thank for where they are now.
-Renee Herzing, President/ CEO, Herzing University
Scott’s passing is a tremendous loss to his family, personal friends, Coleman University and the entire career college universe. We will all honor Scott by remembering his huge contributions to higher education, his loyalty to his family and friends and his incredible zest for life. Scott will be missed by many.
-Dean Johnston, Chief Executive Officer, SBBCollege Administration
Scott was always such a caring, decisive, compassionate, smart, and welcoming guy. He truly was a leader in the career college sector who always put students first and led with such intent in all of his interactions.
He understood what our sector means to our country and how to inspire staff and faculty to ultimately inspire their students to reach their aspirations.
You always knew where you stood with Scott, and his decisiveness was a trait that I admired. Scott was one of the early leaders I met in our sector some 15 years ago at a PERC meeting, not too long after I started serving at Harrison College. Early on, I recognized his keen understanding of how to best serve a school’s mission, and he shared many thoughts and ideas through numerous conversations in a range of settings. Lastly, Scott was always welcoming to me and my wife, Jodi, and our kids for that matter. He initiated an early conversation and invitation to join the CCIEG group while visiting Coleman University many years ago and introduced me to a variety of other sector leaders that I am close friends with today. Scott will be missed, but never forgotten, and I treasure the time that was spent with him while he was here.
-Jason Konesco, President, Harrison College
I came to know Scott Rhude after he served on the AICS Commission with my sister Sharon Rhoads. It was through that relationship that Scott invited our school group to join the Career College Idea Exchange Group, which he was forming. At that time he jokingly referred to us along with others who were second-generation school owners and operators as “school brats.” That was over 20 years ago and many, many meetings ago. It was through these meetings and the social time that came with it that I came to know Scott personally. I counted him among my very good friends. That friendship brought so many blessings. I knew I could always pick up the phone to ask Scott his advice on any subject, school related or not. If he did not have the answer he knew where to find it. Additionally, he was always willing to lend his time to assist both personally and professionally. He conducted many mock visits at our campuses prior to ACICS re-evaluation visits and connected me with many people as I counsel my children through their college years. My last communication with Scott was “Been meaning to call just to catch up.” He replied “Me too.” I will miss catching up with my dear friend Scott.
-Annette C. Howard, Vice President Strategic Planning, West Virginia Junior College
I first met Scott at a meeting over 10 years ago, and I was very impressed at first by his warmth and friendliness. Later, as the meeting went on and he led the discussion, I was not just impressed, but quite overwhelmed by his expertise and confident manner.
As the leader, he never monopolized the discussion or pressed the group with his own opinions, he always showed the utmost respect for his fellow participants.
As we maintained the contact and friendship over the years, this never changed. Scott was a true leader and innovator in our business for many different reasons; one of the best ones, I think, is the fact that he was an excellent listener. He could take your comments, process them, use them or not, but make you feel like YOU were the most esteemed expert in that area. I will remember Scott for his many kind words, actions, and his generosity. We all miss him.
-Nancy Bradley, Owner, Daytona College
Ann and I are so shocked and saddened by this news we cannot even find the words to respond.
Please know that, his family, friends and business associates are in our prayers and thoughts. He will surely be missed by all and remembered for his life-long contributions to the advancement of career education as well as his personal impact on each of the lives he touched.
-Ken and Ann Horne
We have known Scott for such a long time and it feels like he has always been there.
He was kind, loving, brilliant, courageous and so hard working. We always respected his opinions and values. His memory will live on in all the good he has done for this world.
In his memory we have donated books – education was so important to him, and in his honor we have planted a tree. He will not be forgotten in our hearts.
He truly left an imprint on this world and the void he left is indescribable. We are grateful for his friendship. We love you Scott.
-Ray & Doris Gauthier