Obituary: Russell, associate dean of Arts & Sciences; 63

Sarah Russell, associate dean of Arts & Sciences, died Tuesday, April 13, 2004, of a brain tumor at her home in Clayton. She was 63.

A native of Clayton, Russell’s affiliation with the University began when she enrolled as a freshman in 1959. After a 20-year hiatus to raise three children, she returned and earned a bachelor’s degree in 1982 and a master’s degree in 1983, both in English in Arts & Sciences.

Sarah Russell
Sarah Russell

In 1984, she joined the Department of English as a lecturer, teaching beginning and advanced writing courses. She received the Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence in 1986 and was named the Mortar Board Teacher-of-the-Month in January 1991.

She also taught a professional writing workshop in the George Warren Brown School of Social Work.

She was named assistant dean of Arts & Sciences in 1990 and associate dean in 1994. Her responsibilities included serving as managing editor of the Arts & Sciences Newsletter, as liaison to the development office and as coordinator of the Arts & Sciences National Council. She also oversaw Edison Theatre.

“Sarah was a wonderful colleague and friend to so many people,” said Edward S. Macias, Ph.D., executive vice chancellor, dean of Arts & Sciences and the Barbara and David Thomas Distinguished Professor in Arts & Sciences. “She had an optimistic outlook on life and in her work at Washington University.

“She helped so many people through her writing, her creative ability and her attention to detail. She believed deeply in Arts & Sciences and loved the Washington University community.”

She most recently served as a member of the University’s Sesquicentennial Commission and as coordinator of the Arts & Sciences participation in the 150th celebration.

Russell also had a second career as an artist over the past 30 years. She exhibited her work, which included beaded vessels, cut paper collages and wearable beaded amulet bags, in solo shows as well as local and national juried exhibitions.

A memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. April 18 in Graham Chapel. Burial will be private.

Among the survivors are her husband, John Porter; two sons, Clark and Andrew Russell; a daughter, Margaret Berkes; her father, H. Richard Nussbaum; a sister, Mary Lang; a brother, Richard Nussbaum; three stepsons, Jonathan, Joshua and Justin Porter; and four grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that memorial contributions be made to the Sarah Nussbaum Russell Unrestricted Arts & Sciences Deans Fund, in care of Lisa Siddens, Washington University, Office of the Dean, One Brookings Drive, Campus Box 1094, St. Louis, MO 63130-4899.

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