CFO / Illinois Tool Works
Paying it forward
With the help of his daughter Jean (pictured), JIM RUSSELL ’35 leaves behind a lasting gift
There were three things you could count on when it came to Jim Russell: He would be in the stands whenever the Wildcats took on the Illini; family vacations meant either the woods of Door County or a beach in Florida; and if you ever needed anything, you could just ask.
“He thought about others,” his daughter, Dr. Jean Russell, says. “You wouldn’t know it unless you knew him because he wasn’t a braggadocious, boastful person.”
Maybe that big heart grew out of a humble childhood spent on a farm near Milan, Ill., or came from the relief of landing a full scholarship to Northwestern’s School of Commerce, Kellogg’s precursor.
Maybe it came from the joy of marrying his college sweetheart Helen or maybe it raised up like his 40-year career at Illinois Tool Works, where he would retire in 1979 as the firm’s chief financial officer.
Whatever the reason, that spirit never left, not even after he passed away in 2011.
Mr. Russell bequeathed a gift in both his and his wife’s names, a gift that not only would fund a space inside Kellogg’s new global hub, but also fund a new program at Kellogg, the Master of Science in Management Studies.
The students are known as Russell Fellows. Jean Russell thinks her dad would approve.