About the Commissioner
Dr. David Russell, Commissioner
David R. Russell, Ph.D.
Commissioner of Higher Education
David R. Russell became commissioner of higher education for Missouri in July 2010, following a 19-year career with the University of Missouri System, where he served as a senior associate vice president and chief of staff.
Dr. Russell’s work at the Department of Higher Education has focused state and system resources to eliminate barriers to college completion for Missouri’s students. He has expanded outreach efforts to encourage students to complete college application and financial aid forms early; consider career pathways linked to projected state workforce needs; and prepare for careers in such high demand areas as the sciences, education and the health professions. He also has challenged the state’s colleges and universities to work closely with Missouri’s public school districts to create seamless transitions from high school to postsecondary education that will ultimately contribute to student success.
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.
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.