2012 Distinguished Alumnus
Stanley Russ was born in Conway, Arkansas on August 31, 1930. He was educated in the Conway Public School System, and after graduating from Conway High School he attended Arkansas State Teachers College (now the University Central Arkansas) and Arkansas Tech University at Russellville, Arkansas. Later, he transferred to the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, where he received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agriculture.
Sen. Russ was a Korean War Veteran and served in an army artillery division. He continued to serve in the military as a member of the National Guard and became the Commander of the army unit in Morrilton, Ark. He received an honorable discharge from the army in 1954.
His main source of income came from his insurance business, which was located on Front Street in downtown Conway. He also was involved in agriculture and raised cattle. Mr. Russ was elected to the Arkansas State Senate in 1974. He replaced Mutt Jones, another long-time State Senator from Conway.
Sen. Russ served in the Arkansas Senate from 1975 to 1999. During this lengthy period, Sen. Russ became the third ranking Senator. In addition, he was the President Pro Tempore of the Senate from 1995 to 1997. He was the Majority Leader in 1997. He served on the following committees during his career as a State Senator: Chairman of the Joint Budget Committee, Vice-Chairman of the Insurance and Commerce Committee, Vice-Chairman of the Education Commission of the States, member of the Efficiency Committee, member of the Joint Committee on Energy, member of the Joint Legislative Facilities, and member of the Education Committee.
Sen. Russ was also a member of the following civic organizations: Past president of Faulkner County United Way, past president of Conway Kiwanis Club, past president of Conway Chamber of Commerce, Arkansas Cattlemen’s Association, Faulkner County Farm Bureau, past president of Future Farmers of America, past director of Conway Corporation, Boy Scouts of America, past chairman of Foothills District, and Arkansas Basin Association.
Sen. Russ was the recipient of many honors including the following: Named one of 10 outstanding State Legislatures in the U.S. at the Assembly of State Governmental Employees in 1981, honored by the Municipal League for distinguished service in 1985, honored by Arkansas School Boards Association in 1985, received the Distinguished Service Award from the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce in 1986, he was inducted into the Arkansas Tech Hall of Distinction in 1994, inducted into the U.S. Field Artillery OCS Hall of Fame in Fort Sill-Oklahoma in 1995, awarded an American Farmer Degree from the Future Farmers of America in Kansas City in 1995, awarded Paul Harris Fellow by the Conway Rotary Club in 1997, received the Counseling Associates Community Leadership Award in 1996, and received the Faulkner County Leadership Award by the Faulkner County Leadership Institute in 1997.
Sen. Russ was also a member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Governors for the Arkansas Livestock Show Association, a member of the Board of Directors of the State Legislative Leaders Foundation of Centerville – MA, elected Chairman of the Center for Legislative Energy and Environmental Research, a member of the Legislative Advisory Council, Southern Regional Education Board, and was selected as one of only 30 state politicians throughout the United States to attend the National Education Summit as a resource person on educational issues in Palisades, New York in May 1996.
He was married to Nina Russ for 54 years before her death in 2005. They have two children, Stanley Russ Jr. and Debbie Russ-Merritt.