Buddy Russell: Building a Legacy from the Soil Up

Virginia Tech has always been an integral part of the life of George Edwin Russell, Class of 1952. Russell, known to most as Buddy, grew up on a country farm working with pigs, dairy cows, and beef cattle. This led Russell to join the 4H club as a young boy and inspired him to study Animal Sciences at Virginia Tech.
Buddy’s father had also dreamed about attending Virginia Tech, but due to the passing of his father (Buddy’s grandfather), he had to stay home and take over the family farm.

Always a bright student, Russell graduated high school at the age of sixteen and started school at Virginia Tech soon thereafter. At the time, the university had started to grow dramatically. Russell was in awe of the size and scale of his new home.

“I came to the 4H Conference a couple of years before that, maybe starting in ’46, and my first impression was, ‘It’s huge.’ A big auditorium, Burruss Hall; it seemed like it was large coming from a small town.”Buddy Russell

Following graduation, Russell went on to earn his Master’s Degree in Agricultural Education at the University of Maryland in 1959 and his Doctorate in Extension Education at the University of Wisconsin in 1964. However, the mountains of southwest Virginia called him back home as he joined the Alumni Association and served as director in 1968. During his tenure the growth of alumni expanded to nearly 130,000 before his retirement in 1995. Russell also held positions as the former president of the Old Guard, member of the Virginia Tech Corp of Cadets Board of Directors, and currently the Vice President Emeritus for Alumni Relations.

The relationship between Virginia Tech and Buddy Russell is as strong as the Hokie Stone. In the same vein, Russell see’s a similar bond between the surrounding community and the university. Virginia Tech is truly home for Buddy Russell and his dedication and passion for the university is felt throughout his story.

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About this Story

Date Recorded: May 15, 2015

Interviewer: Ren Harman and David Cline

Date Posted: September 28, 2016

Editor: Ren Harman

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