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University of Missouri

‘Ole Tiger’ Gives Back

Mizzou alumnus, anesthesiologist and philanthropist Russell Shelden died June 20, 2014, at 92.

Russell Shelden

Russell Shelden watched Columbia grow since he stepped on campus in 1938. The anesthesiologist and philanthropist died June 20, 2014, at 92. Photo by Rob Hill.

When Russell Shelden first arrived in Columbia from his hometown of Kansas City, Missouri, in 1938, Mizzou was a small college in a small town. There were two dorms, Memorial Union was only a tower and the Tigers were in the Big Six. When Shelden, BA ’42, BS Med ’47, ScD ’07, graduated, there were 4,436 students at MU. Known on campus as “Ole Tiger,” Shelden died June 20, 2014, in Kansas City at 92.

Shelden spent most of his career practicing anesthesiology in Kansas City, but he returned to Columbia from 1958 to 1983 to help support the School of Medicine’s anesthesia residency program, attaining the rank of clinical professor before retiring. Throughout those years, he and wife Mary watched Mizzou and CoMo grow. The philanthropic couple’s gifts to MU include funding for two endowed chairs in anesthesiology, a clinical simulation center and an academic resource center for student-athletes. For his support, Shelden received the Mizzou Alumni Association Faculty Alumni Award and the Distinguished Service Award.

Much has changed since Shelden’s student days at MU but not everything. Freshmen still paint rock M on the north end of Memorial Stadium; students still eat at the Shack (though now it’s in the MU Student Center); and alumni still love reminiscing about Old Missouri. In the Winter 2008 issue of MIZZOU, Shelden recalled memories from his days as a student. The article is reprinted below.

The Way It Was