Boys State, West Point, UCA
As a rising high school senior, Rush was chosen as a delegate to the week-long immersive civics program known as Arkansas Boys State. Notable names who have attended Arkansas Boys State include former U. S. President Bill Clinton and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee as well as U. S. Senators Tom Cotton and John Boozman. In 1971 when Rush attended, he was elected as governor of Boys State, the highest elected official.
His senior year of high school, he and his high school best friend, Gary Cook, had a pact: they swore they would go to college together. Gary piqued Rush’s interest when he decided to pursue an impressive appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point first. What are the chances that the tiny town of Clarendon (population at the time was 2500) would have two high school seniors to receive appointments that year? It happened. In 1972, both Rush and Gary were off to West Point. Tragically, Gary drowned two days after graduating high school. That’s when Rush knew that he had an enormous responsibility to not let his community, his family or the U.S. senator who appointed him, Sen. John L. McClellan down.
After graduating as co-valedictorian at Clarendon High School, Rush excelled at West Point, but his heart was drawn back to the South. He finished his last two years of college at UCA where he graduated with honors in both math and English. While at UCA, he was president of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity where he would meet some lifelong friends, a member of the collegiate basketball team, and active with the Wesley Foundation, a campus ministry for the United Methodist Church.