Michael Russell

Atlanta Businessman Invests in the Next Generation of U.Va. Engineers

Michael Russell (Engineering ’87)

Michael Russell has made a $150,000 gift to the University that combines his love for the School of Engineering and Applied Science and his support for the University’s continuing efforts to foster diversity on Grounds. Specifically, his gift will create a Ridley Scholarship for a student majoring in engineering.

Named for Walter N. Ridley, U.Va’s first African American graduate, the Ridley Scholarship Fund provides scholarships for African American students who demonstrate high academic performance, leadership and community service.

In making his generous gift, Mr. Russell recognizes the “positive influence” that the University had on his life and career and hopes to benefit the next generation of African American engineering students.

Serving since 2003 as the CEO of H.J. Russell & Co., the Atlanta-based real estate and construction firm established by his father, Herman, in 1952, Michael Russell regards his time at U.Va. as one of the formative experiences of his life, a chance to expand academically and personally.

As a civil engineering major, Mr. Russell gained a broad base of knowledge and made connections with different instructors who had a lasting influence. “I remember well my class with Professor Kinnier and the transportation class I took with Lester Hoel,” he recalled. “Also, Nicholas Garber was my thesis advisor. I’m very grateful for his guidance and support.”

From 2001 to 2007, Mr. Russell served on the Engineering School’s Foundation board. He is also a member of the National Committee on University Resources (NCOUR), whose members act as ambassadors for the University and help to extend the reach of the campaign.