Lancaster – Josh Russell is getting a degree from Ohio University Lancaster this spring that has been 20 years in the making.
"It's pretty emotional. It's surreal," said Russell."I can't believe it's finally here."
Russell was born and raised in Flint, Michigan. He is 38 years old and started his effort to get a college degree at Eastern Michigan University when he was 18. Russell ended up in the marines, moved to Ohio and went back to college several times before deciding to finish things up at Ohio University Lancaster.
'I was working as a manager at a lumber company," said Russell. "I was going through a divorce, lost my job and decided to finish my degree."
The father of three is graduating with a bachelor's degree in History from Ohio University Lancaster. He worked third shift at Cardinal Health in Groveport, while taking classes during the day.
"I'm really tired," said Russell.
But, that doesn't mean he is done with higher education. Russell has been accepted to West Virginia University for graduate school. He wants to be a History professor, like Dr. Mark Nevin and Dr. Ping-Yuan Wang, who he has taken classes from at OUL.
"I am interested in labor history," said Russell. "My father was a labor leader in Flint, Michigan. My grandfather was a teamster. It's in my blood, I guess."
After graduate school, Russell hopes to write a book. He plans to focus on a strike at the General Motors plant in his hometown.
'There was a big strike in Flint in 1937," said Russell. "It forced General Motors to recognize the United Auto Workers."
Russell will walk at the Ohio University Lancaster Honors Convocation on Friday, May 3 at 7 p.m.