Datatel Mourns Death of CEO; Vernon Hollidge Named Interim Chief Executive Officer.
"We have lost a dynamic leader and an amazing human being," said Mr. Hollidge. "Russ built a corporate culture centered on client service and employee satisfaction, which helped us grow as a company and as active members of our local community. He was my friend for nearly 50 years, my mentor, and the most ethical businessperson I have known. All in the Datatel community will greatly miss him."
Mr. Griffith came to Datatel in 1972 after the company purchased O'Brien and Lowe, where he was a programmer. He was steadily promoted to positions of greater management responsibility, and in 1978 became vice president of Datatel and president of Digital Management Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Datatel.
In 1989, Mr. Griffith assumed the role of vice president of sales and marketing where revenues doubled under his leadership. He was named executive vice president in 1991, president and chief executive officer in 1992, and chairman of the board in 2005.
Mr. Griffith created a corporate culture at Datatel that fosters consistent profitability and growth by focusing on its clients' needs while assuring a supportive and creative workplace for its employees. Washingtonian Magazine named the company a "Great Place to Work" in the Washington, DC metro area for three consecutive times.
In 2002, Mr. Griffith was named the Greater Washington Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year and, in 2003, accepted the National Capital Business Ethics award on behalf of the company. The American Society of Engineering Management honored Mr. Griffith as Engineering Manager of the Year in 2004.
Mr. Griffith attended the University of Maryland and was a lifelong and passionate supporter of higher education, promoting the early use of technology for institutions to advance and better serve their constituents. He also played a pivotal role in establishing the Datatel Scholars Foundation, which since its inception has awarded more than $4 million in scholarships to 3,205 college and university students. He was also instrumental in establishing George Mason University's Masters Program in Technology Management.
Mr. Griffith was a member and former president of the Continuous Quality Improvement Network (CQIN), and also served as the chairman of the American Association of Community Colleges Corporate Council.
From 1968 to 1970, Mr. Griffith served as a Platoon Sergeant in the U.S. Army's First Air Cavalry Division, completing a tour of duty in Vietnam. During his service, he was awarded the Combat Infantryman's Badge, the Bronze Star, the Army Commendation Medal, and the Air Medal with Oak Leaf Clusters.
Mr. Griffith was an avid private pilot and a board member and executive committee member of the Washington Airports Task Force. He was also a lifetime member of the Air Safety Foundation and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. He was an enthusiastic scuba diver who was PADI-certified as a rescue diver.
Mr. Griffith was 59 years old and is survived by his wife, Nancy, their two adult children: Casey Griffith and Ginny White, two grandchildren: Hannah and Haley White, mother, Betty Mosley, and two sisters: Amy Sigmon and Kelli Howell.
In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that donations be made in Mr. Griffith's name to the Datatel Scholars Foundation: 4375 Fair Lakes Court, Fairfax, VA 22033.
A memorial service will be held on Tuesday, August 15 at 7:00 pm at the National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, located near Dulles International Airport: 14390 Air and Space Museum Parkway, Chantilly, VA 20151.
About Datatel, Inc.
Datatel is a leading provider of fully-integrated enterprise information management software and professional services for higher education. Headquartered in Fairfax, VA, the company has more than 725 client institutions throughout North America. Datatel has exclusively focused on meeting the needs of colleges and universities for more than 25 years, helping them operate more efficiently so they may better serve their constituents. For more information, please visit www.datatel.com.
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