It was announced on April 28, 2000, that in recognition of his excellence in teaching physiology and dedication in serving as pre-medical/pre-professional career advisor and mentor, an Endowed Chair in Biology had been established to honor Russell R. Rulon, Professor of Biology at Luther College from 1963 through the 2000 academic year. More than 900 alumni and friends of the college pledged over $1 million dollars to honor him.
Russell Ross Rulon graduated from Luther College in 1958 with majors in biology and chemistry. He completed the M.S. (1960) and Ph.D. (1961) in physiology at the University of Iowa and served as an instructor in the Department of Physiology, College of Medicine, until 1963 when he joined the biology faculty at Luther College. He served as head of the Biology Department from 1972-82. Sabbatical leave opportunities allowed him to complete a postdoctoral fellowship in cardiac electrophysiology at the University of Virginia College of Medicine (1969-70), do research on heart mitochondria respiration at Mayo Medical School and Graduate School of Medicine (1975), and to serve as a visiting professor at the Institute of Arctic Biology at the University of Alaska (1989). For 37 years (1963-2000) Russ focused his teaching on physiology, pathophysiology, endocrinology, and general biology. His classroom handouts containing a plethora of detailed information contributed to his reputation as an outstanding teacher of thousands of students. He is remembered by students, laboratory assistants, and faculty alike for his elaborate laboratory sessions in physiology and for his characteristic whistling as he worked to prepare yet another laboratory exercise for his students. Advising and mentoring have been the great passions of Russ's professional life at Luther. For the duration of his tenure at Luther, Russ served as chief health careers advisor, working with hundreds of students as they sought advice and applied to professional schools. He is legendary for his letters of recommendation written on behalf of students seeking admission to medical school and other professional schools in the health sciences. Russ Rulon - professor, advisor, mentor, friend and colleague - is honored by many alumni and friends. The Russell R. Rulon Chair in Biology is funded in recognition of his lifelong service to education and to Luther College.