Recipient of the 2019–20 Alumni Award
Growing up in Larchmont, New York, you first fell in love with Dartmouth during visits to a family friend’s home in nearby South Royalton, Vermont. Whether attending a football game in the fall, or taking a day off from skiing, you thought, “This is what a college is supposed to look like.” Tours of other college campuses just didn’t match up, and—luckily for us—you applied early decision. Dean of Admissions Richard Jaeger ’59 graciously accepted your request for an interview, and you have remained fast friends since 1984. You still recall the enthusiastic sendoff the Westchester County Dartmouth community gave you as you headed north, and the alum who told you, “You don’t join Dartmouth for four years; you join Dartmouth for life.”
Initially an aspiring lawyer, you tired of reading philosophy and switched your focus to become a government major. Unexpectedly, your favorite class ended up being Engineering Sciences 34, in which you learned to consider the impact of actions and reactions on systems. For your final project, you modeled alumni giving to Dartmouth based on variables such as the football team’s record or social issues on campus. The project idea sprang from your role as an intern in the Alumni Fund office, an opportunity that provided a fabulous introduction to alumni leadership and volunteerism, as well as another network of friends. You faced campus life with the same energy you face everything—as a lightweight rower your freshman year, a member of Psi Upsilon fraternity, an explorer of mountains, a skater on Occom Pond, and, of course, a devotee of EBA’s chicken sandwiches.
You studied abroad on a government Foreign Study Program in Hungary. Led by Professor Charles MacLean and housed at the Karl Marx University of Economic Sciences, you found your experience at a communist university behind the Iron Curtain fascinating. Your travels through Poland, Czechoslovakia, and back to Hungary whetted your appetite for the wider world. In fact, the next term you leapt at the opportunity to work at the Calgary Olympics for ABC Sports.
After graduation, you joined Leo Burnett Company in Chicago as an account executive. Two years later you returned to Hanover as a student at the Tuck School of Business. A role as director of market development with MTV followed. Shortly after, you began a 22-year career with ESPN holding multiple roles, including international postings, and now serve as the executive vice president and general manager of ESPN+. You lead ESPN’s involvement with the Special Olympics for athletes with intellectual disabilities. Inclusion in all dimensions is important to you.
Despite this very successful career that has taken you around the world, you have always had time for your beloved alma mater. Over the past 30 years, you’ve built an awesome list of Dartmouth volunteer roles: president and vice president of the Great Class of 1989; alumni fund volunteer, class agent, and leadership agent; Tuck MBA Council member; Alumni Council representative for the Tuck School; chair of the Council’s Athletics Committee; member of the Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee; president of the Alumni Council; chair of the Alumni Liaison Committee; member of the Reunion Committee; and now a member of the Tuck Board of Advisors.
You say one of the things you treasure the most about being a Dartmouth volunteer is your interaction with students. Your inspirational address to first-year Tuck students about finding your dream job is a popular capstone to their orientation week programming. A “collector” of people, you enjoy the company of Dartmouth friends all over the world, from Park City, to London, to Hanover, and beyond.
Of course, none of this would be possible without the support of your amazing wife, Patty, whom you met at Tuck, and your delightful sons, Michael and Spencer. Their enthusiasm for the Big Green has been nurtured over many joyous hours in Hanover as a family. Russell, for your remarkable energy, your unwavering support and encouragement of students and alumni, and your joyous devotion to your alma mater—we are truly honored to recognize you with the Dartmouth Alumni Award.