David R. Russell, Ph.D., Commissioner of Higher Education, will provide the Commencement Address at North Central Missouri Collegeâ€™s morning ceremony on Saturday, May 10.
North Central will host two Commencement ceremonies on May 10 as ever-increasing numbers of graduates have prompted the College to move to two events. The morning ceremony will focus on all candidates for degrees or certificates in non-allied-health areas, including those for Associate in Arts, Associate in General Studies, Associate in Arts in Teaching, and various other two-year degree and certificate programs.
Dr. Russell became the Missouri commissioner of higher education in 2010, following a 19-year career with the University of Missouri System, where he served as director of university relations, senior associate vice president and chief of staff. As commissioner, Russell provides overall leadership for a state system of higher education that serves approximately 400,000 students through 13 public four-year and 19 public two-year institutions, one two-year technical college, 25 independent colleges and universities and 150 proprietary and private career schools. Under Russellâ€™s direction, the Department of Higher Education has adopted policies and initiatives in the areas of student retention, time-to-degree and degree completion that have raised the national profile of Missouri higher education. He has focused state resources on such goals as eliminating barriers to college completion for Missouriâ€™s students, making a college education attainable and affordable and promoting career pathways in such high demand areas as the sciences, education and the health professions.
Prior to his tenure at the University of Missouri, Russell served in the United States Army as a commissioned officer, retiring in 1991 as a lieutenant colonel after a 22-year career, including assignments in infantry, personnel management and public affairs. His personal decorations include the Legion of Merit, Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal for Valor and Combat Infantrymanâ€™s Badge. Russell holds a B.S. degree in education from Henderson State University, Arkansas; an M.A. in communications from The American University in Washington, D.C., and a doctoral degree in educational leadership and policy analysis from the University of Missouri in Columbia.
NCMCâ€™s morning Commencement ceremony is set to begin at 9 a.m. on May 10 in the Ketcham Community Center on the NCMC campus. For those not able to attend, the NCMC Development Office is sponsoring videos and live streaming of the ceremonies on www.kttn.com and www.kgozfm.com.