Russ Pennington

Checking in with Alumni Board Member Russ Pennington

There’s a group of committed UGA alumni who dedicate their time, energy, and financial resources to bringing Bulldogs together year-round, worldwide, and lifelong. The UGA Alumni Board of Directors represents UGA’s diverse and passionate alumni family and strives to provide feedback, guidance and leadership as the university seeks to ensure that its graduates Never Bark Alone. Throughout the year, we’ll get to know these spirited graduates who hail from various backgrounds and are involved in all corners of campus.

Their goal: to empower the next breed of Bulldogs to continue that tradition of excellence.


  • Russ Pennington

I live in:

  • Atlanta, GA


  • 2001 – Bachelor of Science in Biological Engineering (UGA)
  • 2006 – Master of Business Administration (UGA)

I joined the board in:

  • 2016

Ways I support UGA:

Russ with interim Uga mascot

Russ with the former mascot Uga IX, also known fondly as “Russ.”

My first job after graduation

If I had $1 million, I would support the _____ fund on campus.

The UGA class that I enjoyed most was

  • A Maymester course called “Geology, Hydrology and Soils of Georgia,” where we spent the term camping around the state and learning about Georgia’s natural resources.
Russ with family a UGA homecoming football game

Russ with his wife, Kelli, and two daughters, Caroline and Eleanor, at a UGA football game.

 A story that stands out as a UGA student was:

  • I remember my first time riding a UGA bus. I jumped on an Orbit bus and after a complete loop around campus, I realized I had no clue where I was going!

My family includes:

  • Wife, Kelli (BBA ’00)
  • Two daughters: Caroline and Eleanor
  • Two dogs: Gertie and Hattie

A special connection I have to UGA is …

  • In May 2014, I had the humbling experience of being the keynote speaker for the College of Engineering’s Convocation. I realized in that moment that my school could give me so much more than I can give it. It also was amazing to see the college grow from where it was when I graduated to where it is now.
Russ delivering convocation speech 2014

Russ delivering his convocation speech to engineering students in 2014.

A memory from my acceptance into UGA:

  • I remember vividly getting the envelope with the red stripe in the mail. I decided to go early and start classes in the summer semester. I never went back home!

As a student, I was involved in:

On a Friday night in college, you would have found me:

  • Participating in the downtown nightlife!
Russ with wife at football game

Russ and his wife, Kelli, as undergrads.

The most significant change to the physical campus since I was a student:

My favorite tradition at UGA

  • The Battle Hymn trumpet solo

When I visit Athens, I have to grab a bite at:

  • The Last Resort
Russ Pennington Alumni Weekend photo shoot

Russ participating in a photo shoot to promote Alumni Weekend.

When this song comes on the radio, I think of college:

  • “Babs O’Riley” by The Who

My most disliked athletic rival:

  • The Gators

My dream weekend in Athens includes:

  • When Notre Dame played UGA in 2019— the prime-time kickoff, the flyover, the new LED lights and the victory— it was as good as it gets!

No. 1 tip to a fellow Georgia grad who has lost touch with their alma mater:

  • You really need to understand how much you can get back from your alma mater.  It is easy to move away and forget about the students, but giving back is so rewarding. Everything has changed so much and the direct hand that our alumni have in that change is incredible. Be involved and you will be blown away as to how much you will learn and benefit from the experience.


Russ’s support across campus— including being a committed advocate for the College of Engineering— embodies the spirit of UGA. We appreciate his unwavering dedication to his alma matter.