Former Miami University Hamilton executive director left ‘legacy of valuing public transit’

Jack Rhodes moved to Wisconsin after retiring from Miami branch campus in 2002.

The former executive director of Miami University Hamilton is being remembered for always helping and serving others.

Jack Rhodes, of Waupaca, Wisc., where he lived after he retired in 2002, died last week. He was 80.

When the Hamilton campus celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2018, Rhodes addressed several milestones during his seven-year tenure, including the construction of the Harry T. Wilks Conference Center and Schwarm Hall and the launch of the local bus service linking Miami’s campuses and the county that grew into the Butler County Regional Transit Authority.

Amy Terango Waldbillig, vice president for workforce development at Cincinnati State, was then the general manager of the Butler County RTA.

She said Rhodes’ vision was to increase the accessibility for students. She was quoted in the campus newsletter saying Rhodes pursued the goal of bus service with “passion and persistence.”

She said his “legacy of valuing public transit” positioned BCRTA to be a “thriving public service,” increasing the mobility of Butler County residents and Miami students.

Also while at MUH, Rhodes launched the school’s multicultural and diversity programs. This led to the creation of the first multicultural office, the hiring of the first director, and the start of public diversity programming including the long-running Racial Legacies series.

Bob Rusbosin, retired senior associate dean of students, said Rhodes was “a kind and thoughtful human being” who connected with students, faculty, staff, and many diverse community leaders, according to the newsletter.

Mike Governanti, his counterpart at the Miami University Middletown campus, called Rhodes “a true friend and colleague who always maintained an even keel and sense of humor even in difficult times.”

Rhoades came to Miami in 1984 to lead the forensics program, rising to chair of the communication department before becoming the executive director at Hamilton.

The Hamilton campus honored Rhodes in 2006 in naming the study area in Mosler Hall after him.

While in Waupaca, Rhodes was a co-founder of the Waupaca Area Community Foundation, an advocate for the establishment of the Waupaca campus of Fox Valley Technical College and a founder of the Waupaca Duplicate Bridge Club.

He also served on the board of the Wisconsin Historical Foundation and chaired the board of the Fox Valley Community Foundation. Following his move to Waupaca, he took up the challenge to provide film programs for the Waupaca Public Library.

His survivors include wife Glenda, two nephews and a brother-in-law.

Funeral services were held last week in Waupaca.

Memorial donations may be made to the Jack and Glenda Rhodes Fund, Miami University, 1601 University Blvd., Hamilton, OH 45011.

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