Russell Sawyer, DC, a long-time advocate for chiropractic, will be honored at an upcoming gala event.
At Northwestern Health Sciences University’s “Stars Among Us” Gala in November, Russell Sawyer, DC, will be given the school’s highest level of recognition: the Brilliant Star Award. Sawyer is being recognized for his dedication to the chiropractic profession and his longtime support of Northwestern.
“We are proud to recognize a doctor whose efforts touched many and whose work left an impact on the profession,” says Northwestern President Mark Zeigler, DC.
Retired since 1996, Sawyer enjoyed a successful practice for 35 years. He advocated for chiropractic throughout his career, amassing a long list of professional accomplishments that culminated with his being elected president of the American Chiropractic Association (ACA). Although being a chiropractor became his life passion, he stumbled into the profession by accident.
After serving in the U.S. Army in the 1950s, Sawyer worked as an insurance salesman. While learning new sales techniques at a conference in Chicago, Sawyer first heard about chiropractic. Shortly afterward, he ran into a friend who was attending Northwestern College of Chiropractic at the time.
“My friend told me what he was doing and I said, ‘Boy, that sounds better than selling insurance,’” Sawyer recalls. He visited Northwestern to find out more. “I knew nothing about chiropractic but I just walked in. I went in on a Thursday and classes were starting the following Monday. I started right then. If classes had already been going for two months, I probably never would have done it.”
“I fell for the entire program 100 percent. I loved it. I still love it.”
Upon graduating from Northwestern in 1962, Sawyer moved his family to Nebraska in response to a shortage of chiropractors in the state. Always one to seize every opportunity that presented itself, Sawyer was elected to the Board of Directors of the Nebraska Chiropractic Physicians Association that same year.
Thus began a string of professional achievements including:
- Chiropractor of the Year, State of Nebraska, 1975
- President, Nebraska Chiropractic Physicians Association, 1977-1979
- Member, Northwestern Board of Trustees, 1985-1997
- Recipient of Northwestern’s Distinguished Alumnus Award, 1988
- Secretary and vice president, ACA Council of Delegates, 1986-1989
- President, ACA Council of Delegates, 1990
- Vice president, American Chiropractic Association, 1992-1993
- President, American Chiropractic Association, 1994
- Elected fellow of the International College of Chiropractors
- Member, Knights of the Chiropractic Roundtable
- Trustee Emeritus of Northwestern Board of Trustees, 1997
“All my successes in life — whether social, business, or personal wealth — 100 percent of that comes from my chiropractic practice and thus from my education at Northwestern,” Sawyer explains. “I’ve always given back.”
When Sawyer had to sell his practice in 1995 following a kidney transplant, he took up his second passion — traveling. He and his wife, Jane, crisscross the country in their motor home, visiting their children and grandchildren. He stays in touch with the Northwestern Board of Trustees and other colleagues around the country. The couple generously supports Northwestern through the Gail Sawyer Scholarship, established in 1985 in memory of his first wife.
“Dr. Sawyer has served the profession in a number of capacities, including ACA Delegate from Nebraska, member of the ACA Board of Governors, and president of the ACA. He has also served Northwestern well over the years and it is fitting that he has been named Northwestern Health Sciences University’s 2011 Gala Honoree. Congratulations Russ!” — ACA President Rick McMichael, DC.
If you want to attend the Stars Among Us Gala Nov. 5, 2011 at the Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn., you can register at www.nwhealth.edu/gala.