Dr. Russell “Russ” E. Shea
Retired R-MC Professor of Biology
The Randolph-Macon College community mourns the loss of Dr. Russell “Russ” E. Shea,
professor of biology, who passed away on June 3, 2008. Dr. Shea was an esteemed
professor whose talent and expertise in the classroom earned him the Thomas Branch
Award, the Sears-Roebuck Award and the United Methodist Church Exemplary Teaching
"Russ's passion for his work was obvious to all who knew him," said R-MC President
Robert Lindgren. “He inspired his students to think creatively, both in and out
of the classroom and to exceed their own expectations –and he loved doing research.
He also showed tremendous courage throughout his difficult illness. His family is
in our thoughts and prayers."
Dr. Shea began his career at Randolph-Macon in 1987 after earning a Ph.D. in biology
from the University of Pennsylvania where he also served in the classroom. He also
taught at Cabrini College and the University of Wisconsin, Madison. In 1994 he was
named a Fulbright Scholar and taught at the University of Jordan in Amman. Dr. Shea
built an impressive portfolio of professional activity, pursued scholarly research
with gusto and compiled an extensive list of publications in notable journals. His
service to the college was equally strong, and he served as acting chair of the
biology department and faculty representative to the President’s Cabinet. In addition,
Dr. Shea also served on a host of important committees, including the Committee
on the Faculty.
In 2000, Dr. Shea was the recipient of a kidney donation from colleague Dr. George
Spagna Jr., a physics professor at Randolph-Macon, in a highly magnanimous and humanitarian
gesture. Dr. Shea’s health continued to be problematic, however, and in 2007 he
formally retired from the college with the provision that he would continue doing
research, as his health would allow.
"This is a tremendous loss," said President Lindgren, "but we will always remember
Russ for the warmth and kindness he showed to everyone he met."
Dr. Shea, a native of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, is survived by his wife Beverly
and their children Ellie, Max and Clara.