1982 Metcalf Cup & Prize
C. Allyn Russell, CLA
During his twenty-three years at Boston University, students and colleagues alike have found C. Allyn Russell an outstanding scholar and a consummate teacher. He infuses his courses in religion with an enthusiasm and sense of drama that excites not only religion majors but also the many students who take his courses as electives. On attending his classes one is struck by the unusually warm, empathetic, and inviting environment he creates for students. His deep care for each student is as unmistakable as his high expectations from them. Noting a fundamental secret of good teaching, one of his students writes, “He motivated me to outstanding performance…because I did not want to disappoint him.”
Professor Russell’s lectures are rich in historical and social detail, spiced with anecdote, and balanced with analysis. Carefully prepared and delivered with great enthusiasm, his lectures are models of precise and rigorous scholarship and infectious narrative.
Professor Russell’s classroom performance is only a small part of his larger contribution as a teacher at Boston University. Beyond the confines of the classroom he has consistently worked to personalize the Boston University education. He holds many office hours a week; he is faculty advisor to over a score of students; he has been a Danforth Associate since 1965 and a faithful faculty associate at Brooks Hall for many years.
The man Dean Geoffrey Bannister writes of as a “sensitive and caring teacher” is perhaps best summed up by the student who remembers him as “a great teacher, a guiding hand in difficult years, and a warm authority figure.”