At the Awards Banquet on September 24, William D. Russell received the JWHA President’s Award for faithful and constant service as a Founding Member. In making the presentation, President Hales noted that Bill is the only member present at the conference who also attended the inaugural 1981 meeting.
Bill has been a prime mover in planning virtually every JWHA conference and a ubiquitous face at the podium in every meeting. He has also been a worthy ambassador at MHA and Sunstone meetings and has served as President of both JWHA and MHA..
Bill’s remarkable institutional memory has been a valued resource at the Board table for many years, and his affable personality has engendered much of the convivial spirit seen at each Annual Meeting.
Bill’s intellect and prolific historical productivity have added much to the advance of the tradition of progressive thought in the New Mormon History. Author of two popular books (with two more near completion) and scores of published articles, he has touched on virtually every subject in the field.
With a B.A. in religion from Graceland College, an M.Div from Saint Paul School of Theology, and a J.D. from the University of Iowa, Bill carved out a professorial portfolio at Graceland that included courses in religion, history, political science, and the sociology of racism.
Bill’s many contributions to Community of Christ include committee service on publications, racism, peace and justice, and the human rights commission. With side interests over the years that include 45 years of weekly columns in the local newspaper, 46 years on the Decatur County (IA) Democratic Central Committee, and 25 past marathon runs, he shows little sign of slackening the pace in his eighth decade. As he leaves the Board of Directors for the final time, he merits the gratitude of the entire association.