Faculty Profiles

George K. Russell

Professor Emeritus

Science Building Room 103

General Information



PhD in Biology, Harvard University (1963)

BA in Biology, Princeton University (1959)

Personal Statement

Personal Statement

Professional activities

My special interests and areas of expertise in the life sciences include the following: (a) The genetics and biochemistry of photosynthetic organisms, (b) a wide rage of contemporary environmental issues and (c) humane alternatives and the appropriate use of animals in the teaching of biology at the secondary and college levels. A principal and ongoing concern is to find outstanding scientists and writers who are able to convey meaningfully through the pages of Orion magazine a picture of current environmental issues and help us to find creative solutions.

My major publications include: A series of peer-reviewed articles on the genetics and biochemistry of photosynthesis in the unicellular algae, Euglena and Chlamydomonas.

Laboratory Investigations in Human Physiology (Macmillan 1978); a college level laboratory manual for the study of human physiology using the students themselves as experimental subjects.

A series of articles on the teaching of biology (secondary and college levels) in which harmful experiments with animals are replaced with humane alternatives that fully meet the pedagogical requirements of life science curriculum but cause no harm or suffering to sentient life.

Plenary lecture at the Third World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences, held in Bologna, Italy from 29 August to 2 September 1999. The text version of the talk was published as "Alternatives in the teaching of biology at the secondary and university levels: an ongoing success story" and appeared in Progress in the Reduction, Refinement and Replacement of Animal Experimentation (Edited by Balls, van Zelder and Halder), Elsevier, Amsterdam and elsewhere, pp. 79-90 (2000).

I am a co-founder and long time Editor-in-Chief of Orion magazine and now serve as Senior Editor. Orion (www.orionmagazine.org) is dedicated to the finding of solutions to the problems of our increasingly beleaguered natural environment, and the magazine has drawn to its pages many leading writers, scientists and environmentalists. Orion has received many awards and was once cited by the Boston Globe as “the leading environmental magazine in the country.” Orion is the literary offspring of The Myrin Institute, a private operating foundation located in Great Barrington, MA (www.myrin.org). I am presently a Vice-President and Treasurer of Myrin, and much of my work outside of Adelphi has been with and through the Myrin Instiute.

Children and Nature: Making Connections, a compilation of 12 essays was published by the Myrin Institute on July 1, 2014. In my introductory essay I write that “…direct personal encounter with nature, and the attendant feelings of wonder and delight, form the basis of a genuine ethos for protection of the natural environment. We will honor and preserve what we have come to love and admire.” A chief personal concern is that the average young person in this country spends almost eight hours each day on a screen and there exists a profound disconnect between children and nature. My book addresses this issue and seeks to aid teachers and parents in meeting this concern.

I have worked diligently over the years to develop a living approach to the study of biology and have written extensively on the subject of humane treatment of animals in the teaching of biology. I am the author of Laboratory Investigations in Human Physiology (Macmillan, 1978), a college level laboratory manual that studied physiological processes with student themselves as subjects thus avoiding the invasive animal study so common in contemporary biology teaching. In 1998 I was given the William A. Cave Award by the ARD Foundation and cited for “outstanding achievements in the development and advancement of humane alternatives in biology education and the promotion of compassion in the biomedical sciences.”

My wife and I lead and teach in The Franz E. Winkler Center for Adult Education (www.winklercenter.org), a non-profit educational group that works with adults, chiefly drawn from the community surrounding the Waldorf School of Garden City. We address the philosophical and practical aspects of Waldorf education and include a rich admixture of the arts (painting, music and eurythmy) in the curriculum.

I was long active in the field of substance abuse and helped to form The American Council for Drug Education, (www.acde.org) now an affiliate of Phoenix House in New York City. For many years I lectured to school and parent groups on the subject as well as assisting independent schools in formulating their policies on substance abuse.


l. Recipient of Flambeau award for excellence in teaching and service to students, presented at Adelphi University convocation, May 1976.

2. Selected to Outstanding Educators in America, 1978;

3. Recipient of First Annual Award for the monograph, Marihuana Today, presented by the Maryland Drug Abuse, Research and Treatment Foundation, M-DART, Baltimore, MD, 1977;

4. Merit award from Adelphi University for excellent in Teaching and Scholarly Work, 1990;

5. Science laboratory at The Waldorf School of Garden City, NY rededicated as "The Russell Biology Laboratory" on November 21, 1996 in recognition of my service to the school as Trustee Chair and science advisor to Upper School teachers.

6. William A. Cave Award from the Alternatives Research and Development Foundation (Jenkintown, PA0 given on February 15, 1998 for “outstanding achievements in the development and advancement of humane alternatives in biology education and the promotion of compassion in the biomedical sciences.” The award consisted of an inscribed plaque and a $5000 honorarium.

7. Outstanding Science Professor (Adelphi) awarded by AED/Tri-Beta, May 1999.

8. Nominated for Professor of the Year (Adelphi): 1996, 1998; finalist in 2000.

9. Orion magazine has received 40+ awards for excellence. In 2005 the Utne Reader ranker Orion first in the category of “general excellence.” I cannot, as cofounder and first Editor-in-Chief, claim personal responsibility for these awards. They are, perhaps, the achievements of the offspring of a proud parent with considerable input from the parent.

10. Franz E. Winkler Leadership Award (with Leonore Russell) from the Waldorf School of Garden City, May 11, 2007.

11. Teaching Excellence Award (tenured faculty), May 2, 2007.

12. Inducted into Omicron Delta Kappa: The National Leadership Society (Adelphi chapter), May 18, 2007.

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