National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council, Spring/Summer 2014, Volume 15, Number 1.


Copyright © 2014 by the National Collegiate Honors Council.


Russell was one of the first students to join the American Honors Program. He was one of four children raised by a single mother in rural Idaho. After working hard in high school, graduating with statewide honors, and being awarded as the physics student of the year, he lacked the money to pay for college and had no role models to help him apply for scholarships. He moved instead to Kolkata, India, to volunteer at Mother Teresa’s Home of the Dying and Destitute. After serving there for five years, he returned home and found a job as a janitor at the nearby four-year college while he attended Spokane Falls Community College. His intention was to transfer to the local four-year college upon completion of his associate’s degree, what he perceived to be the only affordable path to a bachelor’s degree.