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September 08, 2016

Coordinating Board for Higher Education honors former commissioner with emeritus title
Dr. David Russell served as Missouri Commissioner of Higher Education from 2010 to 2016

The Coordinating Board for Higher Education has awarded Dr. David Russell the title of commissioner emeritus in recognition of his contributions to higher education in Missouri.

Russell served as Commissioner of Higher Education from 2010 to 2016. He is the first person to receive the honor.

The Coordinating Board established the emeritus title in June to recognize individuals who have served as commissioner or as a member of the board.  The current commissioner or a member of the board can nominate an individual for the honor.

As the leader of the Department of Higher Education, Russell focused on expanding access to higher education to more Missourians, reducing remediation rates, improving the transfer of credit among colleges and universities, and increasing college completion. He led efforts to develop a new coordinated plan for higher education in Missouri. The plan, Preparing Missourians to Succeed: A Blueprint for Higher Education, was adopted in January 2016 following a series of nine public hearings throughout the state that gathered input from education, business and community leaders and students.

Russell promoted the importance of “Missouri’s Big Goal,” which calls for 60 percent of working-age adults in the state to have a two- or four-year college degree or professional certificate by 2025.

The emeritus title may be granted to individuals who serve as commissioner of higher education for at least five years or as a member of the board for at least six years; has indicated the willingness or desire to receive emeritus status; and whose contributions to Missouri higher education are recognized as “exceptionally meritorious” as determined by a majority of the members of the board.