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The late Dr. Elizabeth Russell

Elizabeth Russell

Dr. Elizabeth S. Russell is an outstanding scientist, one of the relatively few women elected to the National Academy of Science, author of over 120 papers, with specialties in the patterns of aging and the genetics and physiology of blood abnormalities. Dr. Russell was born on May 1, 1913 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Having graduated with a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1937, she came to Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor as an independent investigator and retired in 1978 as Senior Staff Scientist. Dr. Russell's primary research interest has been in physiological genetics; hereditary disease; mouse hematology and aging.

Dr. Russell has traveled extensively including China and Africa for the World Health Organization. She has also been active in her community having served on numerous committees of town government. She has received international fellowships; she has also worked on Fundraising activities to benefit local scholarships for women and has spent much time counseling high school girls headed for college. Dr. Russell was a Trustee of the University of Maine from 1975 to 1983 and is currently a Trustee of the College of the Atlantic.

Dr. Russell raised four children, essentially as a single parent during the later years of their childhood. At the same time, her research of aging led to heavy involvement with the Maine Eastern Area Agency on Aging, dealing with social issues. In her "retirement" she has twice taught at Cuttington College, a women's college in Liberia, to which she took her wide knowledge of women's organizations in Maine, and from which she brought back and shared many new and exciting ideas.

As a featured panelist at each of three symposia for students at the University of Maine, Dr. Russell also managed to meet one-on-one with many of the students and to give each one a new sense of worth, ability, and higher potential. This is her specialty, which she has pursued throughout Maine at every opportunity. During her fifty years in Bar Harbor, she has sponsored an enormous number of students in her laboratory, from teenagers to post-doctoral investigators. An unusually high proportion have been women, many Maine natives, and many have stayed in Maine to carry on scientific research  and the education and encouragement of young women.

During her term as trustee of the University of Maine, she was a strong advocate of placing women in upper-level positions in faculty and administration, at a time when this placement was much rarer than now. Dr. Russell's efforts toward education and professional employment of women, together with her outstanding personal example as mother, teacher, scientist, and humanitarian, have made an enduring impact on the lives of many women in this State.

1989 Photograph