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Dr. Doris Rucks Sculpture Unveiling
September 26 @ 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm| Free
A sculpture of the late Dr. Doris Rucks, a Muskegon Community College sociology instructor for more than two decades and a community activist and human rights champion for a half century, will be unveiled during ceremonies scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 26, on the campus.
The event, which is free and open to the public, begins at noon in Stevenson Center Room 1100. Amy Swope, director of the Foundation for Muskegon Community College, will welcome the guests. Offering remarks will be MCC President Dr. Dale K. Nesbary and David Rucks, the son of Dr. Rucks.
The ceremonies will move to the adjacent Stevenson Center courtyard, where the sculpture will be unveiled. The artwork, which was commissioned by the college, was created by MCC alumnus and artist Ari Norris.
“A passionate advocate for the power of education, Dr. Rucks challenged her students and community members alike to use their knowledge, their energies and their compassion to find solutions and to help those most in need as they struggled to help themselves,” said Nesbary. “She was a shining role model and a leader by example for two generations in our community.”
Rucks, who passed away in August 2016 at age 92, earned a master’s degree in social work from Columbia University and a doctorate in education from Michigan State University. In 1963, she began teaching sociology at MCC. In 1987, she became an associate professor of sociology at Grand Valley State University, where she was the first coordinator of the university’s Women’s Studies Program. She remained at GVSU until 1999, retiring at age 75.
In 1970, she was appointed to the Department of Social Services board for Muskegon County and remained in the position for more than 45 years through its various name changes, including the Family Independence Agency and Department of Health and Human Services.
Her Muskegon activism began when she was in her 20s, when she helped found the Citizens Recreation Association to provide better housing, living conditions and recreation for black southerners who migrated to Muskegon to work in the factories during World War II. In 1949, the association transformed into the Urban League of Greater Muskegon, and equality became its focus. She remained active with the Urban League, the NAACP and Black Women’s Political Caucus. Rucks was a member of the Hackley Public Library board.
In 2009, MCC honored Rucks with its Women of Accomplishment Award. In 2013, she was presented with both the Muskegon Rotary Club’s Paul Harris Fellowship and the 103.7 Beat’s Living Legend Award. GVSU’s Positive Black Women presented her with the organization’s first-ever Trailblazer Award. In 2017, Rucks posthumously was awarded the MLK Unity Award in appreciation for her support and demonstration of justice and service to the community.