Dr. Russ Wigginton graduated from Rhodes College with a B.A. in history and received a Ph.D. in history from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Effective fall 2017, he is Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students. From 2011-2017 he served as Vice President for External Programs, and from 2006-2011 as Vice President for College Relations. In these roles he helped establish and implement institutional strategy for the college’s engagement in Memphis and beyond, and oversaw the college grants, foundations and government relations, alumni relations, communications, career services and continuing education departments. He served as Special Assistant to the President from 2004-2006, and taught in the history department at Rhodes from 1996-2004, specializing in African American and community history. In 2006 Wigginton published a book entitled The Strange Career of the Black Athlete: African-Americans and Sports, with Greenwood Press. He has also published articles and essays on African American social and labor history. He has served or currently serves on numerous boards as part of his civic involvement, including the National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis Zoological Society, ArtsMemphis, UrbanArt Commission, New Memphis Institute, Ballet Memphis, Big Brothers Big Sisters, KIPP Schools, Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association (MIFA), Memphis Literacy Council, Memphis Symphony Orchestra, St. George’s Independent Schools, Memphis PREP Program, Facing History and Ourselves, and Buckman Boys and Girls Club.
He has a son who is a senior at The McCallie School in Chattanooga, TN.