devices work well? And how comfortable are we with the
amount of data collected about our behavior? “Who is going
to work on the human factors side of that?” he asks, noting,
“Algorithms don’t have insights.”
Rueff also believes that we have the opportunity in the
liberal arts “to create and define something—some course,
program, way of thinking, or symposium” that every
Purdue student would want to attend and benefit from. As
an example, he cites Stanford’s immensely popular design
institute, the “ d.school,” where the focus is on human
values and innovation, and graduate students from all
majors take classes.
For people to whom the liberal arts are important,
Rueff believes that tapping into the unique elements of
their experience provides a key area for support. He is
passionate about lending his business acumen to non-profit
organizations like the Purdue Foundation, the American
Conservatory Theatre, and the Grammy Foundation Board.
He will extend that reach to Washington, having been
recently appointed by President Obama as a member of the
Advisory Committee on the Arts for the John F. Kennedy
Center for the Performing Arts.
This leadership is important to the liberal arts, he says,
because, “We have to be bold and step forward to defend
our position; but more importantly, I think we have to
create our own narrative as to what the liberal arts have
done for us to be able to be successful and to carry ourselves
into life in a fulfilled way.”
And Rueff challenges every one of us to share and
support this narrative. “The liberal arts need all of us to be
courageous, bold, and generous with our resources, time,
and energy—to give back. That, to me, is important.”
By Stacey Mickelbart. Photo courtesy of Rusty Rueff.