Ruth Huston-Whipple Award for Civic Engagement

The Ruth Huston-Whipple Award for Civic Engagement is named in honor of Ruth Huston-Whipple, Plymouth’s first female elected City Commissioner (1934-1949), first female mayor of Plymouth (1940-1942) and first female Wayne County Board of Supervisors member.

She was a 1913 graduate of Plymouth High School and later worked as a teacher and debate coach at the school. She fought against school policies that discriminated against married women and eventually left the district in protest. She remained, however, a leader in the Plymouth community, championing the improvement of inhumane conditions at a local juvenile detention center and addressing environmental and beautification concerns in the City.

As an elected official, Ruth Huston-Whipple organized the first city-wide refuse collection system in Plymouth, served on the Zoning Board and represented Plymouth in the Michigan Municipal League. She was a tireless volunteer leader of local organizations such as the Plymouth Historical Society, Plymouth Woman’s Club, Plymouth Garden Club, Plymouth Business and Professional Women’s Club and Plymouth Canteen Club’s War Service Committee.

Though disabled at a relatively young age by a series of strokes, her example of selfless dedication to the community and leadership on issues both profound and practical improved life for every resident of Plymouth during her tenure.

The purpose of the Ruth Huston-Whipple Award for Civic Engagement is to honor a community member who, like Ruth Huston-Whipple, has positively impacted the quality of life in the City of Plymouth through his or her exceptional civic and/or philanthropic engagement.

Nomination Criteria

Nominees must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Person must have demonstrated civic and/or philanthropic engagement within the City of Plymouth. Examples of impact should show a community benefit, delivered with integrity and perseverance.
  • Married couples can be nominated
  • Past Ruth Huston-Whipple Award recipients, current members of the Plymouth City Commission and full-time employees of the City of Plymouth are not eligible to be nominated.

Selection Criteria

The Ruth Huston-Whipple award winner will have demonstrated engagement, leadership and achievement over a period of time and in one or more of the following areas:

  • Contributed to the City of Plymouth above and beyond reasonable expectations
  • Demonstrated character, commitment and/or leadership qualities
  • Actively participated in community or civic organizations whose sphere of influence falls within the City of Plymouth
  • Exemplified accomplishments and contributions to the economic vitality and/or residential quality of life in the City of Plymouth

The nomination period opens January 1 and closes April 30 of each year, when a selection committee comprising two mayor-appointed City Commissioners and a representative from the City of Plymouth administration will select and notify the winner(s).  Winners will be recognized at a City Commission meeting in June of each year and their names will be etched on a plaque to be displayed at City Hall. Applications will remain on file and be reviewed annually for up to three years.