Dr. james e. Rush scholar Endowment



Jim is beloved by his family, friends, students, and colleagues. He was extraordinarily gentle, kind, and compassionate toward all those that he encountered. He worked tirelessly to empower his students and to bring altruism and compassion into all that he taught and did. He was passionate about being of service to others through his teaching, how he lived his life, and through his spiritual practices.

Jim had an incredible loving, giving, and supportive nature of tending to everyone who approached him with their troubles such that they left in a better state than they came.

The Dr. James E. Rush Scholar Endowment was established to continue his legacy of "drawing out the inherent wisdom each student possesses but has forgotten".   

By providing funds to assist Junior and Senior level Philosophy & Religion Majors in pursing their education at Philander Smith College, assisting with items often overlooked by traditional scholarships, and providing for basic needs as well as encouraging enhancing one’s growth and development outside of the college setting by attending local and national conferences and retreats, as well as educational opportunities abroad.

The endowment is student-centered following Jim's educational philosophy, thereby addressing challenges he saw his students face in pursuing their education and deepening their understanding of themselves and the global community they live in.  

You are invited

You are invited to join in continuing his legacy and furthering the reach of the scholarship by donating to the Dr. James E. Rush Scholar Endowment through the Arkansas Community Foundation. You may donate by clicking the button below which will take you to their website. Thank you for helping to support the students that Jim so dearly loved.

The button will take you to the Arkansas Community Foundation website. In the  “Please apply my gift to” box enter Dr. James E Rush Scholar for Philosophy and Religion Majors Endowment


Dr. James E. Rush Scholar Endowment is managed by the Arkansas Community Foundation. Your online donation will be received by the Arkansas Community Foundation and applied to the fund/endowment. Acknowledgment of your gift for tax purposes will come from Arkansas Community Foundation. Once processed, your gift cannot be refunded.


About Arkansas Community Foundation

Arkansas Community Foundation is a nonprofit organization that promotes smart giving to improve communities. The Community Foundation offers tools to help Arkansans protect, grow and direct their charitable dollars as they learn more about community needs. By making grants and sharing knowledge, the Community Foundation supports charitable programs that work for Arkansas and partners to create new initiatives that address the gaps. 

Jim's Educational Philosophy

“My primary assumption is that education is a life-long pursuit to know oneself in all of one's relations. In this, I do reflect my alignment with Socrates: "the unexamined life is not worth living." I take this admonition seriously and feel it reflects a moral imperative to know "self" in all relationships.

I am also influenced by the Buddhist teachings of "co-dependent origination or arising.” Where past, present, and future are interconnected and interdependent as well as all conventional reality. Although inherently empty, upon deep reflection, conventional reality and the relationships experienced must be consciously experienced. In this, I feel self-reflection or education is essential. I understand education in the sense of "drawing out the inherent wisdom" each student possesses but has forgotten. Most individuals pursue life experiences unconsciously and thus miss an important opportunity to gain wisdom. Such unreflective living can lead to harmful action in a variety of relationships.

In practical terms, I structure class experiences where students practice the skills of critical thinking and moral critique in thinking, reading, listening, and speaking about [the subject being explored]. My approach to religious studies is critical and comparative. Emphasis is placed upon a rational and intuitive engagement of religious expressions to discovered inherent truth or wisdom. To accomplish this, cultural sensitivity and comparative world-views is encouraged.

Students are encouraged to develop and practice the following critical and humane skills:

  • Self-awareness and fair mindedness;

  • Critical thinking;

  • Empathy;

  • Effective communication;

  • A commitment to life-long self-improvement;

  • Moral agency as exemplars expressing life affirming values;

  • Social justice, mediation, and effective advocacy.”

[Brackets are by Mrs. Rush.  Dr. Rush applied his educational philosophy and structure of class to all areas of study he taught and to all areas of his life.]


  • Laptops or other necessary technology needed for educational and professional purposes.

  • Conferences:

    • Professional and undergraduate conferences including meals and conference costs. Areas include, but are not limited to:

      • Philosophy & Religion conferences

      • Social Entrepreneurship

      • Ethics

      • Biomedical Ethics

      • Social Justice

      • Peace & Conflict Resolution

      • Compassion & Altruism

      • Study programs:

  • Field study programs and study abroad programs.

  • Fellowship opportunities and summer institutes (ie. The Summer Immersion Program in Philosophy at Brown University).

  • Workshops, retreats, or classes to further one’s own personal growth and development in the areas of compassion, altruism, and meditation, not limited to but may include the following:

    • Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT)

      • Cultivating compassion goes beyond feeling more empathy and concern for others. It develops the strength to be with suffering, the courage to take compassionate action, and the resilience to prevent compassion fatigue. These qualities support a wide range of goals, from improving personal relationships to making a positive difference in the world. Compassion cultivation can also support one’s own health, happiness, and well-­­being. Preliminary research suggests that CCT and similar programs can increase self-­­compassion and self-­­care, reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and enhance connection with others.

    • Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) training.

      • The 8-week MBSR program trains individuals in a class like setting in the daily discipline of mindfulness and its application to everyday life. Participants learn relaxation, meditation, coping strategies, and mindful movement. During the program, participants are asked to focus on informal practice as well by incorporating mindfulness into their daily routines thereby, enhancing self-management and coping. It also provides an outlet from ruminating on the past or worrying about the future, breaking the cycle of these maladaptive cognitive processes.

    • Meditation Retreats to further develop self-reflection and self-awareness.

  • Professional attire:

    • For workshops, conferences, special events on campus, and graduate school interviews. To include a suit for men or women or dress pants/jacket/dress ensemble. To be bought with the advice of the Arts & Humanities’ Division Chair.


Thank you so much, Dr. Rush, for being our healer, teacher, colleague, and friend. May we honor you by doing our best to emulate your love, compassion, wisdom, and faith in the goodness of us all.
— Dr. Lia Steele, Chair of the Division of Arts and Humanities at Philander Smith College