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Providing perpetual support for business education
Education is a central theme in Bill (MBA '71) and Pam Russell's lives. Bill, who credits his MBA from Loyola with giving him a platform for success in his career in commercial real estate, worked full-time as an elementary school teacher while earning his degree. Pam taught elementary school for 32 years. For these reasons, the Russells have decided to create an endowment for Loyola through their estate plans.
While working as an elementary school teacher, Chicago native Bill Russell worked toward his MBA part-time at Loyola. Having received his undergraduate degree at Providence, he returned to Chicago and found that night classes fit nicely into his schedule. As many of his classmates had several years of work experience already under their belts, he was able to benefit from lessons they had learned on the job. "In classroom discussions, I could learn from their practical work experience, and I could add things from an academic standpoint."
After earning his MBA, Russell's first job was as an economist for a construction consulting firm. After two years, he joined Sears as a research analyst in the real estate department, and then worked in the real estate departments of several other companies before eventually opening his own real estate consulting company, where he spent the rest of his career.
Bill and Pam Russell met at a wedding: she was the maid of honor; he was the best man. The Russells married in 1973.
Pam Russell, also a Chicago native, received her undergraduate degree from Northern Illinois University and went to grad school at National Lewis. She worked as an elementary and gifted-education teacher for 32 years, and, having retired ten years ago, now works part-time at her community library.
The couple named Loyola's Graduate School of Business as the partial beneficiary of their estate plans to create an endowment for the dean's discretion. "It was at that time that we asked ourselves who would be a good beneficiary of parts of our estate," says Bill. "We're both really interested in education. Aside from personal connections, Loyola is a great institution. We thought they would be a good recipient of our bequest.
"We have made no stipulations about how it should be used other than to set up an endowment for the dean. With the percentage that the school can withdraw, the fund will remain in perpetuity."
The Russells say that although it can be hard to decide where to focus philanthropy, working with Loyola was simple. "Gift-giving is easy. It's the decision that's hard," says Bill. "Loyola makes the whole process easy."
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