Russell C. Walker was born in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, and graduated from Latrobe High School. He earned his undergraduate degree in mathematics from the University of Akron, and his Masters and Doctor of Arts in Mathematics from Carnegie Mellon.
He is a Teaching Professor Emeritus in the Carnegie Mellon University Department of Mathematical Sciences. He was also the Associate Head of the Department from 1985 to 2007. He retired after the Fall 2018 semester.
His thesis was an exposition of developments in the area of the Stone-Čech compactification during the 1960s. An expansion of his thesis was published as the monograph "The Stone-Čech Compactification" by Springer. His thesis advisor was Stanley Franklin making him an academic great grandson of R. L. Moore.
He did a bit of research in topology in the first couple of years after publishing his thesis, and is currently investigating some questions regarding the category of graphs.
His Erdös number is three.
He has regularly taught calculus and operations research at Carnegie Mellon. He has also taught discrete mathematics for the Pennsylvania Governor's School for the Sciences. His text, "Introduction to Mathematical Programming," was written for the undergraduate business program at Carnegie Mellon.
His responsibilities as Associate Department Head included advising students, planning the teaching schedule, training and assigning Teaching Assistants, overseeing the undergraduate curriculum, meeting with prospective students, and placing incoming students into mathematics courses.
He was one of the early participants in the Carnegie Mellon campus in Qatar. In 2004 he developed a mathematics assessment for applicants and interviewed prospective students for the first entering class. In the Spring of 2005, he taught Concepts of Mathematics, and in the Fall of 2007 he taught Graph Theory there. He has also taught in the Summer College Preview Program for high school students in 2007, 2008, and 2009.
In addition to working at Carnegie Mellon, he taught and chaired the Mathematics Department at Seton Hill College, now Seton Hill University, for nine years. He also taught at Ohio Northern University the year after completing his doctorate.
He has earned some recognition for his work including the Pennsylvania Governor's School for the Sciences Award for Exemplary Service in 2004, the Carnegie Mellon University Academic Advising Award, 2003-04, and while at Seton Hill, the Alpha Lambda Delta Book Award as Professor of the Year, 1982-83.
His hobbies are art, stamp collecting, and tropical fish, and he also enjoys caring for house plants. He enjoys playing cribbage, and once played a lot of basketball. He occasionally gives talks on aspects of Rembrandt's life and work, and wrote a murder mystery designed to be solved by the lab work of beginning science majors at Carnegie Mellon.