Russ Patton '66
I am not speaking for the focused, academically oriented students who are destined for success either by intellect or advantage. I am speaking for the underperforming, uncertain student who may question the value of continuing his/her education. The lesson is to never stop learning, never give up. My educational detours were enriching additions to the sum of my education. MacMurray taught me how to think, rather than what to think.
Russell Patton may not have earned a degree from MacMurray College, but the education he gained inside and outside the classroom shaped his future accomplishments. During his time at MacMurray in the 1960's, he changed his major frequently and studied subjects such as business, history, biology, and literature. It was not until he had gained more life experience and a new perspective on what he was learning that he focused his degree on business at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.
Patton credits Dr. Palmer, one of his professors, for his writing and problem solving skills and to his ability to challenge consensus today. Patton recalls a snowy day during his freshman year that he was struggling to find information for a research paper for Dr. Palmer's class. It was then that Dr. Palmer drove Patton to the Springfield Library in order for him to complete his research. It was this and other experiences which taught him valuable life lessons.
Since his time at MacMurray, Patton has developed Byerly RV, an esteemed retailer of RVs in the Midwest. He has also been actively involved in Rotary Clubs, especially the International Youth Exchange. Patton feels strongly that students greatly benefit when they see the world for themselves. Patton says that MacMurray gave him a picture of the world from inside the classroom, and after he left MacMurray he was able to explore and learn from it himself.
Patton currently serves as a trustee for MacMurray College. Besides managing his RV business and serving on the Rotary Club, Patton is also involved in local trade associations and has served with Meals on Wheels.
He and his wife, Adrienne, have one son, Warren.