Dr. John H. Russel, Professor Emeritus, Higher Education was a professor for more than 20 years. A native of Jacksonville, Illinois, Dr. Russel developed a love for languages from a high school French teacher. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Illinois College and a master’s degree from Harvard – both in French – and studied at the Sorbonne, in Paris. His love for languages continued throughout his whole life. After he retired, he continued to take courses in Spanish and Italian, and taught English as a second language and tutored at the International Institute. Dr. Russel taught high school French for a time. But his experience during World War II as an educational services officer in the Navy piqued his interest in education. After the war, he received his doctorate in college administration from the University of Chicago.
Dr. Russel joined The University of Toledo faculty in September, 1965, to help develop research and training programs in the field of higher education, and to teach graduate students in the nuances of college administration. Before coming to UT, he was academic dean and president of Shimer College, Mount Carroll, Illinois, professor of higher education at the University of Denver, and chief of student and higher administration in the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare. Additional responsibilities at UT included assistant to the Provost for academic planning and special assistant to President William S. Carlson for accreditation matters. Dr. Russel retired from full time teaching in 1978. He continued to teach part-time at UT, and tutor at the International Institute and the Read for Literacy Program.
Dr. Russel believed if you could teach people to run universities with vision and wisdom, the universities would be better and make a greater impact on society. His wife, Lois, was an English professor at UT. Son, John, and daughter, Sarah, remember growing up in a home filled with students. Their parents loved teaching, and loved helping the students. Dr. Russel possessed a rare personality, fostering the spirit of good fellowship in the College of Education and throughout The University of Toledo. He had a great ability to remember everybody’s name and everything about them. He was an unusual gentleman; he was nice to everybody. He was interested in the other person. You liked him right away because he liked you. A very warm and caring individual, who upon being introduced to someone would often insist that it be known that Russel is spelled with one “l,” Dr. Russel sang bass in the choir at Monroe Street Methodist Church, where he served on several committees and the administrative board, played bridge several times a month with friends, enjoyed good theater and tending backyard vegetables and flowers. He was an occasional member of a faculty barbershop quartet that entertained at College of Education social functions.
John H. Russel, teacher, husband, father, friend, and visionary, died March 9, 1991, at the age of 80. His dedication and contributions to the university were recognized when the John H. Russel Center for Educational Leadership was established in his honor.