Resting on a kitchen shelf in Russell Norman's Glendale home is a novelty coffee mug gifted to him two decades ago. "A good teacher teaches, a great teacher inspires," it reads.
It is a fitting message for a man who, 55 years after conducting his first accounting class at Glendale Community College, continues to educate and charm students and colleagues alike. Norman, 92, was recently honored by the Glendale Community College Board of Trustees for his five-and-a-half-decade tenure, believed to be the longest in the state.
"He is walking history of the college," said Phil Kazanjian, a former college trustee and current business professor who has known Norman since 1981. "He really knows the college. And in California I don't know anyone who has been teaching longer than he has."
Norman retired from full-time duties in 1995, but has continued to teach at least one class each semester since then. He has taught accounting, written business communications and mathematics in finance, interacting with thousands of students. In addition, during his first year at the college in 1955, he founded the business and judo clubs, the latter of which went on to win the first Southern California Kodokan Judo Assn. Collegiate Championship.