The Columbia College Board of Trustees has elected Dr. David Russell to a four-year term as chair of the college’s governing board. Russell joined the board of trustees in 2016, and his term as chair officially begins today, July 1. He succeeds Walter E. Bixby III, who served in the position from 2016-2020 and was a member of the board for 19 years.
“Columbia College is well-positioned to meet the challenges posed by the pandemic, economic uncertainty and academic programs that must be delivered in multiple formats,” said Russell. “My colleagues and I welcome the opportunity to serve our students, administration, staff and faculty.”
Russell has been dedicated to public service for more than 50 years. He was appointed Missouri’s Commissioner of Higher Education and CEO for the Missouri Department of Higher Education in 2010. He oversaw a statewide system that served 430,000 students attending both public and independent two- and four-year colleges and universities. He was the architect of a new blueprint for Missouri higher education called “Preparing Missourians to Succeed.” He also launched initiatives to eliminate barriers to college completion for Missouri’s students, make a college education attainable and affordable and promote career pathways in such high-demand areas as the sciences, education and the health professions.
“I’m excited to work more closely with Dr. Russell,” said Dr. Scott Dalrymple, president of Columbia College. “His vast experience in higher education and the military is impressive, and perfect for CC.”
Prior to his appointment as state commissioner, Russell spent nearly 20 years working for the University of Missouri System in several senior administrative positions, including UM System chief of staff. He was appointed a general officer and senior associate vice president of the university in 2009. He provided leadership in planning, facilitating and coordinating activities of the office of the president with members of the board of curators, general officers and the university’s internal and external stakeholders.
Before starting his career in academia, Russell completed a highly decorated 22-year Army career as a commissioned officer, retiring with the rank of lieutenant colonel in 1991. He held command and staff positions in infantry, personnel management and public affairs, including two combat tours in the Republic of South Vietnam, Germany and the Pentagon in Washington D.C.
He holds a Bachelor of Science in Education degree from Henderson State University, a Master of Arts in Communications from The American University in Washington, D.C., and a doctoral degree in educational leadership and policy analysis from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Three other board members will be joining Russell as members of the executive committee: Rev. Dr. Brad Stagg of Columbia, who will serve as vice chair; Carol Winkler ’93 of Columbia, who will serve as treasurer; and Genie Rogers of Columbia, who will serve as secretary.