Lifetime Achievement Awardee

Russell Mawby

Russell Mawby’s interest in rural community development is rooted in his youth working on a family farm in Michigan. The first member of his family to earn a Bachelor’s degree, he went on to obtain a PhD in Agricultural Economics from Michigan State University where he was also Assistant Director of Extension. Responsible for 4-H Clubs and Youth programs in Michigan early in his career, he purposefully emphasized leadership training and the development of junior and adult leaders in the programs. The combination of these two interests made Mawby a natural fit for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. He joined the Foundation as Director of the Division of Agriculture in 1964 where he developed the Michigan Agricultural Leadership Program. Mawby quickly advanced at Kellogg and was named President and CEO in 1970.

Mawby was an extraordinary leader of the Foundation and steward of the vision and values of W.K. Kellogg, its founder. During the twenty-five years that he served as CEO expenditures grew from approximately one million dollars per month, to one million dollars per working day (or from $12 to $270 million annually). Keeping true to Mr. Kellogg’s priorities and educational pragmatism, Mawby steered the Foundation’s programming toward leadership, philanthropy & volunteerism, and minority populations while maintaining topical foci of health, agriculture, and education. His leadership in the field of philanthropy is globally known and umbrella organizations, like the Michigan Nonprofit Association that he helped found, are nationally recognized models for effective philanthropy. Retired in 1995, Mawby’s lasting legacy is not only the thousands of lives that he touched directly as a leader, but the hundreds of thousands he touched by supporting the work and development of the next generations of leaders through initiatives like the Kellogg National Fellowship Program, support for the inclusion of leadership skills in college curricula, and the creation of Kellogg College at Oxford University.

Oral history is an excellent method for collecting and interpreting memories and fostering new knowledge. Dr. Phil Scarpino, past president of the National Council for Public History and Professor of History at IU, exhaustively researches each recipient prior to conducting his interviews and uses the highest standards prescribed by the American Oral History Association.

The Tobias Leadership Center focuses on research and programs related to the study of leadership across all sectors – including corporate, public service, education, religion, medicine, and non-profit organizations. Its focus on multiple sectors and on both the practice and theory of leadership distinguishes its agenda among leadership programs nationwide. Through ongoing research in a variety of sectors, it generates knowledge about leadership and disseminates this knowledge through a variety of programs.

Oral History with Russ Mawby
View all oral histories here

2010 Leadership Legacy Induction of Russell Mawby