NASFAA honors Joseph Russo with Lifetime Membership Award

by Paul Murphy

Joseph Russo

The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators honored Joseph Russo, director of financial aid at the University of Notre Dame, with its Lifetime Membership Award at the organization’s national conference, held July 19 in Boston.

Russo is the first recipient of the award, given annually to recognize an individual with distinguished leadership in the financial aid profession, who was not a previous CEO or president of the association.

“I’m humbled by the award given its previous recipients,” said Russo. “It was very moving for me.”

As a leader in the financial aid profession for 46 years, Russo also has served as director of LeMoyne College and Genesee Community College. He has sat on the Advisory Committee for Student Financial Aid and is a longtime member of College Scholarship Services and the Financial Aid Standards and Advisory Committee.

In 2004, Russo was inducted into the College Scholarship Services’ Hall of Fame and received the CSS Midwest Regional Assembly Distinguished Service Award.

Russo said he enjoyed the background role he played as a writer, mentor and editor in working to develop the association.

Lori Wolf, former NASFAA Chair, left; Joseph Russo, center; Justin Draeger, current NASFAA President, right

“In a quiet, dignified demeanor, he has dedicated himself to providing financial assistance to students and is an exemplary model to all of his colleagues in the financial aid profession,” said Lori Wolf, past NASFAA chair.

In addition to his accomplishments with NASFAA, Russo has testified before congressional committees on major public policy issues related to student aid and published a book, “The Art and Science of Student Aid Administration in the 21st Century,” which has become a training manual for industry professionals.

Russo graduated from LeMoyne with a bachelor’s degree in English. He also holds two masters degrees, one in student personnel from Syracuse University and the other in education from the State University of New York.