Stella Porter and Lester A. Russell Award


As specified in the will executed by Stella Porter Russell in 1968, her estate was primarily given to her niece and upon the death of said niece in 1998 was transferred to Southern Methodist University "for the purpose of supplementing the salaries paid to members of the teaching staff of the University." Stella Porter Russell designated that the net income from her estate shall be distributed annually as a memorial to her late beloved husband, Lester A. Russell, and herself. Each person eligible for the award with a salary of $12,000 or higher receives an equal share of the income generated by the endowment.

Eligibility Requirements

During the 2016-17 academic year, the Faculty Senate asked to have greater input into the eligibility requirements for receiving the Russell Award. At the request of the Faculty Senate, the Provost has agreed to the following eligibility requirements:

  • Full-time permanent teaching faculty and faculty administrators that teach at least six credit hours as part of their normal teaching load during the current academic year (not calendar year) are eligible for the award.

  • Courses taught for extra compensation, independent studies, and graduate student or research supervision are not considered part of the normal teaching load.

  • Part-time faculty, visiting faculty (teaching or research), research faculty, or staff are not eligible for the award.

  • Full-time permanent teaching faculty and faculty administrators on leave of absence will continue to receive the Russell Award during the leave of absence (the six credit hour requirement does not apply) as long as part of their nine month base salary is paid with SMU funds and they received the Russell Award in the preceding year with the following exceptions:

    • Faculty on leave of absence due to a retirement agreement already receive additional salary as part of that agreement and are not eligible for the Russell Award.
    • Faculty with a full-time job in government or at another institution during the leave of absence are not eligible for the award even if funds designated for their salary pass through the University.
    • Faculty on unpaid leave for the entire nine-month academic year are not eligible.

The Russell Award is typically given to faculty in their November paychecks. Since 2005, the amount has varied from $1,500 to $2,200 depending on the income generated by the endowment and the number of persons eligible for the award. The number of persons eligible for the award in 2017 may increase due to the new eligibility requirements leading to a decrease in the award amount.