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Rutherford Receives Honorary Degree from Cumberlands


Dr. Jim Taylor, President of University of the Cumberlands, presents Judge Rutherford with an Honorary Doctor of Law degree.

Williamsburg, Ky. – University of the Cumberlands (UC) honored Dr. Wayne T. Rutherford with a Doctor of Law degree during the 53rd annual Honor’s Day Ceremonies on Monday, April 23rd in the O. Wayne Rollins Center.

Wayne T. Rutherford has spent his entire life serving those around him. He is currently serving an unprecedented sixth term as Pike County Judge/Executive. A graduate of Pikeville High School, Judge Rutherford attended Pikeville College, Eastern Kentucky School of Law Enforcement and the University of Kentucky School of Social Work. He has also completed an economic development course at the University of Kentucky Economic Development Institute and attended forestry courses at Virginia Polytechnic Institute.

Perhaps the most innovative achievement of Judge Rutherford’s career was his role in creating Kentucky’s coal severance tax. Judge Rutherford pioneered the idea for and lobbied legislators and local government officials to support the tax which became a reality with legislative approval in 1972. Over the years, this tax has paid for much needed infrastructure and economic development in counties that for so long received no compensation for the mining of their precious natural resources.

Not only does Judge Rutherford go above and beyond what is required of him as a judge/executive, he also donates time and effort to give back to the communities in other ways. For his efforts, he has received such honors as Kentucky Department of Natural resources Environmental Award, Kentucky Council of Crime and Delinquency Award, U. S. Agency for International Development Appreciation and Contribution Award, Kentucky Coal Coalition Appreciation Award, Pikeville/Pike County Airport Board Leadership Award, and Kentucky Genealogical Society’s Outstanding Service to Genealogy Award.

Judge and his wife Pat are the proud parents of three and grandparents of five.

Located in Williamsburg, KY, University of the Cumberlands is an institution of regional distinction, which currently offers four undergraduate degrees in more than 40 major fields of study; nine pre-professional programs; seven graduate degrees, including a doctorate and six master’s degrees; certifications in education; and online programs.