A Ford City High School alumnus now living in Paris, France, is returning to his hometown to deliver a message inspired by the late Dr. Seuss to the school’s 2002 graduating class.
To the Rev. Marvin Russell it’s not the graduates’ successes of yesterday that are important, it’s the successes they hope to achieve that matter.
Russell will speak to the Ford City’s graduating class at 6 p.m. Sunday during the school’s baccalaureate service at Ford Memorial United Methodist Church.
He lives in Paris with his wife, Catherine, and is the vice president and chief learning officer for Pechiney Industries, a international manufacturer of aluminum and other products.
The title of his speech is “Are you readyâ¢ Oh the places you will see.”
“When you grow up in a small town you can miss a lot of what the rest of the world is about,” he said. “I am fortunate that I have been able to see so much.”
Part of the speech’s title comes from the Dr. Seuss children’s book “Oh The Places You Will See” which he said is becoming a very popular book to many graduating classes.
“The book tells us don’t sit still, don’t get caught up in the waiting place, and drive forward,” he said.
“I hope to give them the message that what you are today, what you think you want to be today, might not be what you are going to be tomorrow,” Russell said, “but you control so much of that.”
Russell is a 1972 Ford City High School graduate. He received his undergraduate at Notre Dame and was the starting middle linebacker for the Irish and its 1973 National Championship team.
He completed his master’s degree at Indiana University and doctorate from Century University in comparative organizational behavior, and he was ordained by the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church.
The American Embassy invited him to be a guest speaker in France where he is also a member of the American Chamber of Commerce.
Locally, he is a member of the Ford City Heritage Hall of Fame and the Armstrong County’s All Sports Hall of Fame.
“It’s great to have a Ford City graduate speak who has done some great things in his life,” said Rev. Wayne Cleary, who arranged to have Russell address the students.
“He can bring hope at a time like this to the graduates.”
Russell, who said he enjoys motivational speaking, implements Pechiney’s high performance learning system, and is pleased to have the opportunity with the students.
“I always wanted to work with young people and challenge and motivate them,” Russell said. “This is a good opportunity to help.
“I love my hometown, it was good to me and was good place to grow up. I am always willing to come back if I can help.”