Alumni Spread “the Love” in Honor of Beloved Flagler Employee
Aug 26, 2022
Maya Angelou once famously stated that “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” This is exactly what comes to mind when Ronnie Nichols ’97 and Rachel Wootten ’98 think of Delores Rutledge Love, a former Dining-Hall employee at Flagler College.
“She was a calming presence for students who might be homesick, stressed about an exam, or who just benefited from seeing a smiling face before heading to class,” Ronnie explains.
Similarly remembered by alumni, staff, and faculty alike, Ms. Love worked at the College for two decades and was known for her kind heart, the occasional extra scoop of Mac-n-cheese, and her trademark reassurance in times of difficulty: “Honey, it’s going to be okay.” Although she retired in 2015, Ms. Love’s name still prompts warm memories across campus from those who knew her.
In recognition of Ms. Love’s caring spirit and decades of service, Ronnie and Rachel recently established the Delores Rutledge Love Endowed Scholarship. This special fund will be directed to first generation or minority students who demonstrate a strong spirit of serving others and who have an interest in pursuing a degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management at Flagler.
The couple explains, “we are firm believers in giving people their flowers while they can enjoy them, and we wanted to make sure Ms. Love was recognized for the impact she made on the lives of Flagler College’s students and faculty.”
For Ronnie, Rachel, and the countless other Flagler community members touched by Ms. Love’s humanity, Ms. Love exemplifies the power of goodness. Many recall her ability to make a college lunch feel like a homecooked meal, as well as her maternal presence and sympathetic ear, which were sources of great comfort to Freshmen experiencing their first year away from home.
Ms. Love’s thoughtfulness wasn’t restricted to the Dining Hall, either. When Ronnie was a student at Flagler and member of the Basketball Team, she invited him and his teammates to her church, cheered at their games, and even brought them home for dinner on some evenings. When Ronnie was inducted into Flagler’s Basketball Hall of Fame, Ms. Love was in attendance.
“Our friendship with Ms. Love has extended beyond the boundaries of Flagler College,” Ronnie and Rachel say, “and she is still a dear friend to our family and many Flagler alumni.”
As for the Delores Rutledge Love Endowed Scholarship, the couple hopes it will increase diversity at the College, attract similarly gracious people to the campus, and ultimately enrich Flagler’s culture of respect, good will, and hospitality.
Anyone who knew Ms. Love would certainly agree that there is no better namesake to personify these aspirational qualities and inspire them in a new generation.
“She’s the kind of person you want to see at Flagler,” Ronnie and Rachel explain, “she’s an ambassador of kindness.”
If you would like to make a gift supporting the Delores Rutledge Love Endowed Scholarship, please visit https://giving.flagler.edu/campaigns/delores-rutledge-love-scholarship#/.Tagged As