About Dr. Richard H. and Mrs. Julia Rush

Mrs. Julia Rush sitting with Dr. Richard Rush on the edge of the Garden of Inspiration Koi Pond. Dr. and Mrs. Richard H. Rush have spent 50 years collecting art, automobiles and antiques across the United States and Europe, and sharing a wealth of knowledge with others. Their bold financial decisions, captured in 12 books and more than 700 articles, detail the advantages of investing in things of beauty, not only for profit but for joy as well. Hoping to kindle an appreciation of art, they have left a legacy of treasures to museums, colleges and universities around the world.

The Rushes began giving to Florida SouthWestern State College in 1994, when they provided the seed money for a garden flanking the Barbara Mann Hall. "In this life we want to do everything we can to help others," Mrs. Rush says. They subsequently procured an exquisite bronze statue, called Romeo and Juliet, from the estate of George T. Delacorte Jr. They went on to provide funding for student art show prizes, scholarships, and the renovation of the Richard H. Rush library. "I feel you should use your money for the improvement of people, particularly those who need it," Dr. Rush says.

Although they have spent a lifetime among the rich and famous - Harry Truman, J. Paul Getty and Jeanne Dixon - their philosophy grew from harsh personal experience. When his father died suddenly, Richard was six, and quickly came to appreciate the value of a nickel. His widowed mother moved to a farm in Connecticut where life required both pluck and enterprise. "To go to college I didn't have a penny. We didn't have any money. The taxes were defaulted and the mortgage was defaulted so how was I going to go to college? There were no jobs to be had. The brick factory was paying $1 a day so I decided to raise chickens. My aunt gave me enough money to buy the chickens and I raised and sold them until I had enough to go to a nearby college."

His grit, determination and keen mind won him admission to Dartmouth the following year, and a degree in business that opened the door to success. He subsequently entered Harvard on a full scholarship, graduating from the Harvard Business School with a doctorate in commercial science.

Shaped by the school of hard knocks, he vowed to help others whenever he could. "In those days," he says, "I didn't have anything and I wished somebody would give it to me and they didn't. When I later had ample resources, I thought about giving.  FSW's tuition is far less than any other college," he says. "Education is the key to success and if education can be made affordable, why not help people?"

Great Grandson of Philip Freneau, "The Poet of the American Revolution," who is credited as having saved the country from "monarchy" through his publication the "National Gazette." Great grandnephew of General Phil Kearny, Civil War General and New Jersey's most prominent soldier. Grand Nephew of America's first Consul General and Minister to Japan, Townsend Harris, who through his determined-negotiating of the American Japanese trade treaty, signed in 1858, opened Japan to trade with the west. Harris, before going to Japan, founded the free College of the City of New York as President of the New York Board of Education (see the 1846 photograph of Townsend Harris, from a Daguerreotype in the City College Archive and Museum and the photograph of General Philip Kearny in France in the 1850s.) Also a copy of a miniature of Richard's Uncle Oskar Gunkel who lived in Constantinople-Istanbul and was the Oil Representative in the Middle East for The Standard Oil Group. He gave Richard's grandmother and mother all of his elegant furniture and paintings on his return from Constantinople and they furnished their Connecticut home with these. (1923). The Connecticut house in Tylerville, Connecticut, had been an Inn in the Seventeenth Century. (1680s) Richard's father purchased the house in about 1918-1920 when Richard was a little boy and the family needed to get out of the city of New York in the heat of the summer. Richard's father died a few years afterwards, in 1921, and the house became the main home for Richard and his mother and grandmother. On his mother's side, a great great grandfather who came to America in 1638, (Michael R. Vreeland) was given by the Dutch Crown two thousand acres in what is now Leonia, New Jersey. The house came down to Richard Vreeland, Richard's grandfather.