Williamsburg City Manager Jackson Tuttle will join an amazing array of civic-minded stalwarts as the 2014 recipient of William & Mary’s Prentis Award.
The award, which is given each year to recognize those individuals in the Williamsburg community for their strong civic involvement and support of the College, will be presented to Tuttle on May 13 at 5:30 p.m. in the Great Hall of the Wren Building.
Tuttle, who has served as city manager since 1991, was preceded in receiving the award by, among others, State Sen. Tommy Norment J.D. '73; W&M Department of Government Chair John McGlennon; former county administrator Sandy Wanner; Lois Hornsby, a local activist for the arts leading regional activist for the arts and honorary chair of First Night; Jack Edwards, professor emeritus of government, former member of the James City County Board of supervisors and former chair of the Christopher Wren Association; Colonial Williamsburg President Colin Campbell and his wife, Nancy; former Williamsburg Mayor Jeanne Zeidler M.A. Ed. ’76 and W&M Professor Emeritus of economics and current Williamsburg Mayor Clyde Haulman.
“For more than two decades, Jack Tuttle has been a major force for both desirable continuity and essential change in Williamsburg and the Historic Triangle as a whole,” W&M President Taylor Reveley said. “Along the way he has been a steadfast friend of William & Mary, helping bring the College and the city together in pursuit of the common good. His steady hand and excellent judgment have served us all well.”
Haulman described Tuttle’s tenure in Williamsburg as “masterful,” and added that he has made Williamsburg “the envy of communities across the nation.”
“He has developed and implemented innovative and effective policies and procedures for strengthening the city's management team bottom to top and has created a workplace culture that ensures the city provides the best services of any community in the Commonwealth,” Haulman said.
The Prentis Award is named in honor of the Williamsburg family, whose 18th-century store on Duke of Gloucester Street was an important part of the local community. Members of the family have been friends of the College and community since 1720, when the first Prentis proprietors -- appropriately named William and Mary -- arrived in Williamsburg.
“I’m hard-pressed to think of a recognition in Williamsburg that means as much,” Tuttle said. “It speaks to the College’s view of what the city government team has accomplished for the well-being of the entire community. This means a great deal to me.”
Tuttle assumed his current role following seven years as city manager of Gulf Breeze, Fla. Prior to that, he was assistant city manager for Pensacola, Fla. He was commissioned an ensign in the Navy in 1972, spent four years on active sea duty and 26 as a Naval Reserve officer.
In 1978, he earned a Masters of Public Administration degree from the University of West Florida.
“I always had an interest in public affairs, and yet, as much as I enjoyed my Navy experience, I didn’t see myself working at the federal level,” Tuttle said. “Public service seemed right for me, but I was pulled to the local level, where the gap between policy and what actually happens is so close, so tight.”
The “closeness” between the city and the College that exists in Williamsburg is exactly one of the parameters that make his job so fulfilling, Tuttle said.
“There are many touch points between the city and the university where we come together over issues that must be addressed – the town-gown relationship,” he said. “I always found the College to be a good partner looking out not only for the College community but for the impact on the wider community.”
Tuttle pointed to ways the College opens its doors to the community, such as the fall Virginia Symphony Concert and First Night Williamsburg, not to mention Tribe football and basketball, as just a few examples that make Williamsburg life more enjoyable. He and his family attend them all.
“(Conversely) what the College needs more than anything is a local government that does all of the basics well, caring for the Commons,” Tuttle said. “All of those things preserve the unique character and quality of Williamsburg, creating a ‘nest’ for the College to sit in.”
Tuttle sees a bright future born from the continued close cooperation between city and College.
“We need a strong college of the highest reputation possible that’s attractive to the best minds, that means spin-off in terms of economic development in the region,” he said. “That’s what the community wants to see, along with the advantages culturally that a great university provides for us all..We need each other; we are totally interdependent.”