In its dedication to nurturing an ethical environment on campus and in the communities Clemson University serves, the Robert J. Rutland Institute for Ethics is an extension of Bob Rutland’s personal and corporate philosophy.
“The purpose of the Institute for Ethics is to encourage discussion on campus, in businesses and in the community about how ethical decision-making can be the basis of both personal and professional success,” says Rutland. His generous support of Clemson’s Institute for Ethics reflects his long-standing commitment to promoting ethics in both the workplace and the community.
In 1934 Rutland’s grandfather founded Allied Holdings Inc. Allied’s philosophy is simple: “From day one, ours has been a company that treats people with respect. The commitment to protect that caring attitude has never diminished.” Rutland believes that this "human touch" approach underpins Allied’s solid, lasting relationships with customers and guides its focus on the safety and well-being of its employees. Allied’s "we care" attitude has tangible outcomes. Two stand out: First, Allied’s very first customer is still a major customer. Second, while industry-wide employee turnover is very high, Allied has a turnover rate of less than 5 percent.
As chairman of Allied Holdings, Rutland helped pioneer the field of industrial chaplaincy. Since 1963, Allied has employed industrial chaplains to minister to its employees and their families. “We have been able to keep our employees satisfied and happy, and they stay with us,” Rutland said. “The chaplaincy program helps create bonds between employees and the corporation, which makes them more committed to the company, even in a union environment.”
Rutland is very active in his church and community. He is a member and Deacon at First Baptist Church in Covington, Georgia. He is the director of Fidelity National Bank in Decatur and Georgians for Better Transportation. He is former chair of the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce and the Sam Jones Boy’s Club. He was a trustee of Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, and of Atlanta Youth for Christ. He was named the 1997 Executive of the Year by Georgia Securities and was a 2000 finalist for the Entrepreneur of the Year for the Southeast. Rutland is Past Chair and a board member of the Haggai Institute, which teaches Christian leaders in the third-world how to be disciples in the corporate and educational sectors of their countries.
Rutland was a student in industrial management at Clemson in the Class of ’64. He and his wife, Cherry (deceased), have three daughters. Carie, his youngest daughter, graduated from Clemson in 1996.