Campus: CSU Long Beach -- May 24, 2002

Utah Jazz Star Bryon Russell to Graduate from Cal State Long Beach 9 Years After Leaving University for National Basketball Association

Former Cal State Long Beach and current Utah Jazz basketball star Bryon Russell will achieve another goal on Wednesday, May 29, when he walks with the graduating class of 2002 during the 1 p.m. ceremony for the university's College of Health and Human Services.

Russell, a native of San Bernardino and graduate of San Bernardino High School, played four years (1990-93) at CSULB after red-shirting the 1989-90 season. He was selected in the second round of the 1993 NBA draft by the Utah Jazz, and over the past nine seasons, the 6-foot-7, 225-pound guard/forward has enjoyed great success, averaging 10.8 points and 4.6 rebounds per game.

When he left the university in 1993 to play in the NBA, Russell was just three courses shy of completing his bachelor's degree. He recently served an internship with the South Salt Lake City Police Department and will have fulfilled the course requirements for his B.A. in criminal justice.

"I was a student before I became a professional athlete," said Russell. "The possibility of entering the NBA didn't come until my senior year at Long Beach. Up until that point, I considered a career in law. My degree was always important to me and it was something I needed to complete."

"When a successful professional athlete such as Bryon Russell comes back years later to complete a degree, well, that says something about that person and the institution," said President Robert C. Maxson. "It sends the message that education is important, no matter how successful you are in other areas of your life and it's the right message to send. Bryon is a wonderful man, and I am glad to call him my friend."

Russell and his wife, Kimberli, are very heavily involved in their community through the Bryon Russell Foundation, which helps promote positive change in the community. Among the local organizations the foundation has sponsored are Toys for Tots, Rape Recovery Center, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Adoption Exchange of Utah, Ogden Youth Authority, Boys & Girls Club of Murray and St. Vincent de Paul.

The Russells have a daughter named Kajun, who turns 7 years old in July, and twins Brittani and Brandon, who will be 4 years old, also in July. Kimberli, whose maiden name was Peters while a student at Long Beach, earned a degree in psychology in 1994 and serves as co-founder and president of the Bryon Russell Foundation.

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