Today, the Pitt-Johnstown campus community is mourning the loss of Thomas H. Russell, associate professor emeritus of English. Mr. Russell, who began his Pitt-Johnstown career in 1965, was instrumental in the establishment of the journalism curriculum and internship program. He also served as director of the Pitt-Johnstown student newspaper. Prior to his career at Pitt-Johnstown, Mr. Russell worked as an editor and reporter at the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat from 1949 to 1965. Upon his retirement from Pitt-Johnstown in 1988, he established the Black/Dickson/Stevens Memorial Award in Journalism in honor of three of his former colleagues at the Tribune-Democrat.
Mr. Russell is being remembered by colleagues and former students for his dedication to the field of journalism and for the strong mentorship of his students preparing to enter the field. As one of his former students, Christine Irvin Miller ’85, commented, “He was overflowing with encouragement and always kept me focused on developing my voice and making my writing better.”
A veteran of World War II, Mr. Russell earned his BA at the University of Pittsburgh and his MA at Carnegie Mellon University. He pursued a PhD at Pitt. His survived by his wife Shirley; children Kathy Beam, Todd, and Kerry Blough; and grandchildren Collin Thomas Russell and Hope Ann Beam. Friends will be received from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. at the Charles O. Dimond Funeral Home in South Fork.
Photo courtesy of the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat.