Mr. Gary Russell
Class of 1962
Career Pathway: Human Services
Gary Russell was nominated by Sherman Neal and Arthur Thayer, who wrote, "Please consider Gary Russell for inclusion in the GHS Alumni Hall of Fame based on his significant and impressive life achievements, as well as honors and awards received, while working on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., for nearly 30 years."
Gary graduated from Grayling High School in 1962 and earned a bachelor of arts degree with majors in science and history from Central Michigan University in 1966. He then studied for a master of arts degree in educational administration at both CMU and Michigan State University.
From 1966 to 1973, he taught American Government and other social studies courses in the junior high, senior high and adult education program for the Alma Public Schools. During that time, he won the Outstanding Young Educator Award from the Alma Jaycees, held several leadership positions in the Alma Educational Association and the Michigan Educational Association and became a life member of the National Educational Association. He was the first Big Brother of the Big Brothers of Gratiot County and a member of the Alma Zoning Board of Appeals.
From 1973 to 1979, Mr. Russell was a legislative assistant and legislative coordinator for U.S. Senator Robert P. Griffin of Michigan who, during most of that time, was the assistant minority leader (whip). The office was deeply involved in matters involving the transition of Gerald R. Ford from congressman to vice president and president and his programs as U.S. president.
From 1979 to 1982, he was the legislative director for Congressman Carl D. Pursell of Michigan. The office’s primary legislative responsibilities were appropriations for the Departments of Education, Health & Human Services and Transportation.
From 1982 to 1991, he was the chief of staff for U.S. Senator Rudy Boschwitz of Minnesota, whose office led the Senate in areas of agriculture, Middle East policy and budget matters.
From 1991 to 1999, Mr. Russell served as senior policy advisor to the assistant secretary for diplomatic security for the United States Department of State.
He has received several awards, including the director’s award from the Diplomatic Security Service in recognition of his outstanding service and dedication to duty, the secretary’s certificate of recognition for outstanding service in the aftermath of the August 7, 1998, embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania and the U.S. State Department’s superior honor award for outstanding contributions to the department.
From 1999 to 2001, he was the chief of staff for U.S. Senator Rod Grams of Minnesota, whose office was very active in the areas of financial securities and the operations of the U.S. Department of State.
While living in both Michigan and Virginia, Mr. Russell has been active in the United Methodist Church, the Republican Party and various community and charitable organizations. He has been married to Barb Anderson, a fellow CMU graduate who was an elementary school teacher and librarian, for over 30 years. The Russells have two adult daughters and two grandchildren.