Since 1991, Dr. Russell F. Proctor II has been NKU’s biggest fan, and even now, as Professor Emeritus of Communication, he remains dedicated to the success of NKU and its students. He shares, “NKU has become my second home and alma mater. I feel more allegiance to NKU than to the schools I’ve actually attended. This is a very special place to me.”
There are three sentiments that Dr. Proctor shares with students as they approach graduation. “You need to talk us up, you need to make us proud, and you need to pay us back,” he says.
Following his own philosophy, Dr. Proctor has given back to the university he loves by establishing the Dr. Russell Proctor Endowed Scholarship for Communication Studies and Public Relations. “This is something I’ve always wanted to do, and I’m thankful to be at a place in life where I can make it happen,” he says. “I want to help Communication Studies and Public Relations majors, specifically those in their second or third year who are actively engaged on campus, get rewarded and retained through these scholarship dollars.”
Dr. Proctor wants the recipients of his scholarship to receive a diverse liberal arts education, a strong grounding in communication theory, research and skills, and then to take what they have learned and adapt it to the latest trends in the contemporary workplace. He says, “Great alums will go out there singing the praises of this university, enjoying great success in the marketplace, and eventually they will give back to the university that was devoted to them.”
Dr. Proctor loves that the faculty in the Communication Studies and Public Relations programs keep in touch with alums. “Connecting with alums is huge. I think our faculty and our students benefit from maintaining or building those connections,” he says. “Keeping their fingers on the pulse of what is happening in the workforce and how alums are using their degrees will inform us of what we need to update or rework in our courses to better match those expectations and opportunities.”
Fostering an environment where meaningful relationships can form is the foundation of Dr. Proctor’s pedagogical philosophy. “It’s simple. I believe people learn best in relationships. That people learn best from professors who they believe care about them, their lives and as a person beyond their status as a student,” he says. “I never viewed teaching as a ‘move them in, move them out’ kind of thing. That’s why I have so many ongoing relationships with former students. It’s the richest part about all of this.”
Dr. Proctor is one of NKU’s strongest advocates, earning him the Faculty/Staff Strongest Influence Award in 1993 and the Frank Sinton Milburn Outstanding Professor Award in 1997. His unwavering commitment to students, fellow faculty and staff members, and our university’s mission has created a lasting impact. And through his gift, his legacy and school spirit will live on to influence and support students for many years to come.