Rutledge Scholarships awarded to Cook and Nichols

The Fort Atkinson Community Foundation recently awarded two Ralph and Clara Rutledge Memorial Scholarships, totaling $7,000, to former Fort Atkinson High School graduates Rachel Cook and Olivia Nichols.

The Ralph and Clara Rutledge Memorial Scholarship is funded by a gift made to the Fort Atkinson Community Foundation by Ralph and Clara Rutledge. The Rutledges were long-time residents of the Fort Atkinson area and, though they did not have children, they lived near the high school and maintained an interest in local students and their advanced educations. Although their retirement years were spent at the Fairhaven Retirement Community in Whitewater, the Rutledges chose to endow a scholarship fund through the Fort Atkinson Community Foundation in recognition of their hometown and their interest in helping further the education of its young people.

Rutledge Memorial Scholarships are available to residents of Fort Atkinson or graduates of Fort Atkinson High School who are enrolled, or accepted for enrollment, in a graduate program at an accredited college or university, leading to a masters, doctorate, or professional degree. The recipient may be a full or part-time student, but they must be making steady progress toward a degree.

Selection is based on academic achievement, potential for success in their chosen field, community involvement and citizenship.
For more information about the Rutledge Memorial Scholarship, or any of the Community Foundation’s other scholarships, contact the Foundation’s executive director, Sue Hartwick, at (920) 563-3210 or via email at

Students earning Rutledge Memorial Scholarships in 2020 are:

Rachel Cook

Cook, a 2014 graduate of Fort Atkinson High School, has been awarded a $4,000 Rutledge Memorial Scholarship for the upcoming academic year.

After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in 2018 with degrees in biology, biochemistry, and French, Cook enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where she is pursuing a Master of Biological Sciences degree in Behavioral and Molecular Ecology. While working on her degree at UW-Milwaukee and carrying a 4.0 gradepoint average, Cook has also won rave reviews for her work as a teaching assistant.

She plans to graduate in May 2021.

Olivia Nichols

Olivia Nichols is the recipient of a $3,000 Rutledge Memorial Scholarship.

A 2010 graduate of Fort Atkinson High School, Nichols earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in 2014 and a master’s degree in human development from Auburn University in Alabama in 2017, focusing on early childhood development. She is now working on her doctoral degree at Auburn, investigating how racial disparities in childhood result in health inequities later in life.

With plans to graduate in May 2021, Nichols hopes to teach and conduct research at a university where she can collaborate with the local community to build programs or policies which focus on the origins of inequities.