May Russell Endowed Scholarship Fund
Established in 1984 in memory of May Russell, president of St. Mary's Junior College, to recognize outstanding students.
Recipient 2013-14: Anna Hoover
Recipient 2012-13: Amanda Norman
Recipients 2011-12: Emma Decker and Amanda Norman
"The Russell family is very honored that the lodge is being named for May. She was an exceptional individual…and she loved this place very much. To me and my cousins, May was our own Auntie Mame, and when she rolled into town, as they said in the stage play, doors were definitely going to open for us. Education is, after all, all about opening doors. Doors of the mind. Doors of the will. Doors of the spirit. May knew how to open doors for herself and for others. And she got that from her family - which is what our quadrangle gift is all about. It was a family that quite simply expected achievement. A family that prized learning, expected you to learn at the highest level you were capable, and to do something with what you learned.
May, her sister, and two brothers grew up on a St. Mary's County chicken farm in the middle of the depression. One would think it was not a hopeful time. But this was a chicken farm with books. It was also a chicken farm with my grandfather. Captain Sol Russell had been denied higher education as a youth because doctors told him his lungs would not survive the big city. He lived to be 81, and spent all those years schooling himself in everything imaginable, and, I think, seeing to it that educational doors were never closed on his children. He simply loved to learn things, loved to discuss ideas, loved to read, loved to reason and to think critically. For me, he embodies the very modern idea of life-long learning. He complained to a doctor at the age of 79 that he was very concerned because he was dreaming in French. Dr. Guyther told him that if he was dreaming in French, he was in pretty good shape compared to the rest of us.
This was not a family in love with ideas, but in love with ideas put to work. Put to the test. Revised, amended, and improved. Of course, testing and improving, often means you have to get out there and organize the project or lead the charge. May and her siblings and her Lyon cousins stepped into leadership roles with energy and grace. The Lyons and the Russells were hard working, enduring St. Mary's County people. Not famous…Just people trying to do the best with their talents for themselves, their community, and the greater truth. Unique, no. Special, yes. Together with others like them, the bedrock of our community and our great Nation? Definitely, yes.
So the dedication of the Lyon-Russell Quadrangle is about their values and beliefs. Achievement, not success. Active intellect, not amassed knowledge. Contribution, not pontification. Leadership, not titles. Life-long learning, not sheepskins on a wall. Today, people think education is about money, infrastructure, diversity, testing, international programs, intramural sports, etc., etc. May knew differently. Education is about opening doors on chicken farms.
It is fitting that the quadrangle is an open space rather than a building or a program. It will symbolize the opening up of opportunity for young people in years to come, the threshold to the life of the mind, the welcoming embrace for a new intellect alive in our world."