Staying Involved – Russell Fugett ’01

Staying Involved – Russell Fugett ’01

Interviewed by Kevin Torres ’21

KT: Do you have any advice for current students?

RF: Stay involved. It’s a little easier now with social media. I would encourage students to just soak it all up, to build those relationships, the learning does not stop once you leave. I’ve been blessed to have the opportunity to email faculty periodically. My former advisor, Professor Leech, and I still communicate. It has been great to maintain that and to look back and still have access to those experts and those people that were just genuinely invested and interested in your success. Part of what makes Trinity special is that the faculty and staff were engaged in your development as a student and a person, and that is why I encourage anyone when they find those people; your peers, faculty or whoever it may be to engage in and build those relationships that are going to last. I can’t tell you what I learned in all of my political science classes , but I could tell you about broadcasting courtside at the basketball game, or about other experiences or relationships that stand out and you’ll draw on that later on in your career. What I think will sustain you is the relationships that you make on that beautiful campus, and you really don’t realize that until you graduate and have to start adulting. Make the most out of it while you are there.

KT: Is there something that you think alumni maybe don’t know about or should take advantage of after Trinity?

RF: To be frank it was difficult to stay engaged. As a majority of the alumni base is around Hartford, New York and Boston. Which is completely understandable. So being down here in Maryland and living about 45 min from DC with no traffic. I guess I would be open to seeing more ways that Alumni could more readily stay engaged. I don’t know if that would be through technology or webinars or other things or events. Again when you get married and have kids and it becomes challenging to make the time and have the time to do certain things. I do hope to get my kids up to Trinity later this year and for them to experience a homecoming event. I am hoping that the university can create more opportunities to foster connection to the school with some more connectivity. I am know that is something to help with donations and funding from alumni.

KT: I was wondering if you could reflect on some experiences that you have had since Trinity?

RF: My thoughts of Trinity are very fond, and that time of my life certainly looking back now. I think something that is actually exciting for me now is something that is happening next week. I am going to South Africa next week as part of a private U.S business delegation that has been funded by the U.S embassy there to meet with universities in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban. I am going to southern Africa private equity venture capital conference to speak about eco system of government, and tech transfer and innovation as well as job creation. So of course going into that you have to understand the history and political environment that public policy and government, and the law. Things that can happen to foster a better environment for business and for early stage companies, so again drawing on my political science understanding to be able to understand that context and be able to place these things, and working with and visiting these publicly funded universities and understanding what their role is in society and why they have a responsibility and trying to figure out how to take that technology and intellectual property that is being developed in their universities and being able to commercialize it and to create industry in their country. Again I believe that my education, my business partner relationships and the skills that I developed having the cross courses classes at Trinity will carry forward into this next opportunity that I have the chance to be a part of for the two weeks that I am there and allow me to effectively engage and create some opportunity that will hopefully be lasting for the people of South Africa and the delegation that I am a part so I think that is something that I am working on now and that I am very excited about and certainly will probably have more to say about it in two weeks when I am back and we could certainly follow up about that and talk anything about that. Besides that I still have my eye on the elected officials that have been elected in the state house and paying attention to what is going on. I don’t live far from the state capital in Maryland, and just staying pretty connected  politically in this world more broadly and that is not necessarily a hobby, but is just in part from being on SGA and being a political science major it is just kinda who I am, and I said that my brother ran for office and may again one day. Certainly, again those four years that I spent at Trinity on that campus and my good education that I got from Professor Chambers and others certainly have helped shaped who I am and how I go forward and interact and volunteer and help raise money or do digital strategy for the candidates and the people that I work for or the volunteers or the people that I advise.

KT: Wow! That is amazing to hear. Sounds like you have an amazing trip ahead of you and a lot to look forward to.

RF: Yeah my kids are 1 and 4 years old and my 1 year old is going to be freaking out that I am going. I haven’t been away from them for more than a few days so that is going to be tough. However, other than that I am extremely excited about it. I actually emailed the person that organized the trip on my podcast I am about to publish it so I will share that with you. So yeah share it, subscribe, you know hey Trinity alum doing a cool podcast. Each episode is 15 minutes or less so it is very short, but I interview different people from different business fields, sometimes it is just my perspective of business news a short 5-10 minute op-ed. However, most of the time it is just going to be interviews. I am going to be interviewing everyone in my delegation and a lot of the people that I meet and work with in South Africa. So the next few weeks I have a lot coming to that channel so I’ll send you the link and you can share that if you want.

KT: Oh, of course definitely that would be great.

RF: I am getting happy to talk more about this project and I am looking forward to see what comes out of this. I am excited to hear that students like you, and the political science department, and trying to engage and tell more stories. I do without being bragging realize that my experience was very unique because of my position that I was able to hold for three years there as SGA president. When you think of it that way it was like what was I thinking it was crazy right. But I got so much exposure and got to meet so many people and trustees and every speaker that came to campus I got to meet and all these wonderful people I got to meet at dinners and trips. So many wonderful things and of course the faculty not just from political science and getting to interact with all there different backgrounds, and interacting with people on the trustee board and all these things. Again, I do think that Trinity was very special and I had a very special experience there, and again no place is perfect, but I am always a fan, I always think fondly of my time there.

KT: That is great to hear. I appreciate this conversation, you provided a lot of perspective because I think that not all students realize that the relationships that are made at Trinity are huge.

RF: Yeah, it is hard but you’re gonna love it. Try and get the most out of it and enjoy it. It’s a unique place. Make those connections and try to maintain them, and the value will continue to carry you forward in your life.