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Most teenagers who grow up in a small town dream of the day when they
graduate from high school, spread their wings and leave the nest. Dr. Betsy
Tutt, chair of the Education Division, was no exception as a young woman
graduating from Fulton High School. Little did she know she would spend her
life, raise children, and become employed in her hometown.
William Woods had come to be a second home to Tutt, especially since it was
only three blocks from her house as a child. Her mom attended the school
while it was still a two-year college for women, and her father and great uncle
were both members of the board of trustees.
“I remember there were these big, beautiful, solid wood study tables in the
library and from the time that I was in eighth grade to the time I graduated
from high school, I loved to study at those tables. It was always in the library
that I felt studious and at peace. That’s probably why I still continue to spend
a lot of time in the library studying and reading.”
Tutt learned the importance of being scholarly and actively involved at a
young age. While in high school, she was a member of the cheerleading squad,
the National Honor Society, and the speech and debate team.
“I had a really good time while I was in high school. I had the chance to be
very active, get good grades and have time for my friends. I had a very typical
All-American high school experience.”
After high school, Tutt was more than ready to discover new places in the
world. In 1966, while the United States was in the midst of a cultural
revolution, she enrolled at
Miami University in
Oxford, Ohio.
“When I was a freshman,
the girls were required to
be in their dorm rooms by
10 p.m. When I
graduated four years later,
there was no curfew at
all,” Tutt said. “There were
many drugs going around,
such as pot and LSD. It
was during the Vietnam
War so there were many
students protesting
social issues.”
During the spring of
1970, at Kent University,
just 100 miles from
Tutt’s college, four
students were killed by
National Guardsmen as
they protested the
Vietnam War.
By Leigh Rice, features editor
20
the Hoot
Dr. Tutt in the classroom (photo by Susan Jackson).
Dr. Tutt in front of Senior Lake as a child.
For Tutt, WWU has been a second home.
The murders led students all over the country to protest. After smoke bombs
were thrown into the administration building of Tutt’s school, it was shut
down for three weeks for student safety.
“It was around this time that I started to become more of a conservative
political thinker verses the liberalist’s mindset I had had before. It made me
angry that my rights were being infringed upon by protests,” said Tutt.
By her senior year, she had been accepted into the University of Illinois
graduate school, where she would earn her Master of Arts degree. While home
during the summer before grad school, though, she met the man who would
one day become her husband.
“It was never my intention to live in Fulton my whole life; that’s why I went
away to college. But it’s a classic example of how you can meet the man of
your dreams and your plans can change,” said Tutt.
“I honestly never saw myself being a wife and a mother. I imagined working in
a big corporation. I ended up getting a position in administration and
management after pursuing a career in education and managed to have the
best of both worlds. It just goes to show that what you plan doesn’t always
happen the way you think it will,” she said.
Tutt, who earned her Ph.D. at the University of Missouri, has been at William
Woods 21 years full time and seven years part time when her children
were toddlers.
“Being an educator is wonderful. It’s all about the little moments. Students
pursuing careers in education are so wonderful because it is common
knowledge that it is not a career you pursue for a paycheck, but rather for the
common good.”
Married for 40 years, Tutt thanks her husband for the life she has come
to live.
“You do a lot of influencing of each other and I think it’s a good thing.
You never know what twists you’re going to take in your life, you just have to
be open to it. When you’re young, you have limited horizons and few
experiences. As you mature, you come to learn that home is where the
heart is.”
Dr. Betsy Tutt shares her life’s story