Russell received his bachelor's degree in music from Grove City College, and studied music education and conducting at Penn State with D. Douglas Miller and Bruce Trinkley. Joining the staff in 1994, he coordinates and markets more than 400 public events each year, and is responsible for marketing aspects of the Music at Penn’s Woods Orchestra Music Festival. In 2004, he received the College of Arts and Architecture's award for Outstanding Service, and he currently serves as the music staff representative on the college Staff Advisory Council. Russell is the director of music at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church (State College, Pa.) where he conducts the Chancel Choir, "In God's Company" (youth choir), and coordinates a part-time staff of eight musicians. He is a member of Leadership Centre County, and also holds memberships on the alumni boards supporting the Penn State Blue Band and the Penn State Glee Club. In addition, he is frequently seen and heard during pledge periods for WPSU, the local NPR-affiliated radio and television stations. In his spare moments, Russell can be found riding his bicycle around the Centre region, logging 2,500 miles annually on his road bike.