Alumni Honor Mr. Jim Russell with Portrait

October 8, 2014

Faculty News

Mr. Jim Russell with his portrait, painted by Mr. Jie Ruan of Montgomery, AL

Mr. Jim Russell with his portrait, painted by Mr. Jie Ruan of Montgomery, AL

The Alumni Executive Board honored Mr. Jim Russell, beloved English instructor for 48 years, with a portrait that will adorn the Dining Hall. Faculty and students, friends and family gathered on campus October 6 for an unveiling reception and to celebrate Russell, who held the Sue Hightower Hyde Chair of English from 1969-2013. Mr. John Barton ’95, president of the board, introduced the program in honor of this 10th portrait in the series celebrating men and women who have helped define the legacy of MUS.

Headmaster Ellis Haguewood described Russell as a gentleman of impeccable integrity, an unpretentious scholar, and a proficient musician who offered inspiration and wisdom to MUS students and faculty members for nearly five decades.

“He is a man, in Tennyson’s words, whose manner inside and outside the classroom exhibits ‘high thought and amiable words and courtliness and love of truth and all that makes a man,’” Haguewood said.

Russell’s former student, Dr. Lou Adams ’70, thanked Russell for being his teacher, mentor, and friend, and for teaching his sons, Mr. Galloway Allbright ’98, Mr. William Adams ’03, and Mr. Hunter Adams ’06. The elder Adams said Russell not only taught him to express his thoughts clearly and write with proper English technique, but he also fostered his love of art in a co-educational Humanities class.

“As a teacher you never know where the seeds you cast will take root. My love of art today is one of those seeds, and I thank you for it,” Adams said.

Mr. Terry Shelton, co-author with Russell of The Owl English Handbook and holder of the A. Robert Boelte, Jr. Chair of Excellence in Teaching, described his colleague’s gentle, ever-supportive manner with the teachers he supervised as the English Department chairman for 44 years.

“Rather than being severe and critical, or even mildly admonitory, his evaluations always sought to encourage and support. He would say things like ‘Terry, I really liked the way you pretended not to know the answers to all those student questions in order to encourage the boys to seek the truth for themselves.’

“Pretend, hell,” Shelton said.

Describing the life-changing love of literature, music, and art that Russell passed along, Shelton said, “What he is will always live on through his students and colleagues and through their students and colleagues and children to the verge of time.”

To see more photos from the unveiling reception, click HERE.

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The Faculty Portrait Series is a project taken on by the Alumni Executive Board to honor MUS faculty members that have given much of their lives in service to the school. With the many changes in the appearance of the campus, these portraits will serve as a constant reminder to alumni, students, faculty, and friends that, although the school may look different, the faculty has always been the consistent and primary reason for MUS being the great school that it is. Each year, a new portrait is unveiled at a reception, and the portrait is hung in the Dining Hall.

 

Mr. Jim Russell and his family

Mr. Jim Russell and his family

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