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Russell E. Thornhill

Antioch University Los Angeles

Russell is a progressive theologian, liberated Biblicist, and social justice advocate who has a profound love for his family, and proclaims the love of the Creator for everyone. Russell has worked in the nonprofit arena for 20 years and is on the AULA Teaching Faculty in nonprofit and is the Co-Director of the Bridge Program.

Elder Russell, as he is known in his community and church denomination, has a deep commitment to issues concerning Social Justice and Equality developed when he joined Unity Fellowship of Christ Church, Los Angeles (UFCC) in 1990. His discovery of the “sacredness of all life” has been accredited to the mission of Unity, “God Is Love and Love Is For Everyone.” As a pastor, Russell practices a theology of critical biblical engagement and biblical resistance to counteract the negative use of scripture in the LGBTQ community and towards women and other people living in the margins of life.

Russell is an HIV/AIDS advocate. He has a heart and depth of experience supporting people living with HIV/AIDS and has been a personal “buddy” to men in their final stages of the AIDS pandemic. He has worked on the HIV planning council for the County of Los Angeles as well as speaking on panels in Washington, DC and throughout Los Angeles County.

Russell is an alum of the distinguished youth education touring group, Up With People, traveling to ten countries on three continents, and living with over 250 families during a four year period.

Russell is a mentor to young people in his community who are seeking ways to continue their education and guidance on life concerns. Russell has 25 years in the restaurant business and twenty years in the nonprofit sector.

During his free time, Russell likes to visit and spend time with his four children and ten baby-grands in Las Vegas.

Educational History

BA in Liberal Studies, Antioch University Los Angeles, 2013
MA in Organizational Management, Antioch University Los Angeles, 2014
MA in Religious Studies, Claremont School of Theology, 2018

Teaching Statement

Russell has a profound passion for teaching and enlightenment on both the university campus as well as in his church community. He stands in agreement when The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said, “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”

Russell’s work in the Antioch University Bridge program was nurtured by the words of Gloria Anzaldúa when she writes, “I will no longer be made to feel ashamed of existing. I will have my voice: Indian, Spanish, white. I will have my serpent’s tongue – my woman’s voice, my poet’s voice. I will overcome the tradition of silence.” This is the important work of The Bridge Program.

Russell’s foray into higher education teaching and student mentoring began with his work as a Teacher’s Assistant (TA) in the Bridge program during his undergraduate days at Antioch.  Russell’s passion for student development surfaced when he organized the homework lab to support students one on one. He developed the future education planning process to assist students in planning for their future educational needs.

In 2014 Russell became a Site Director (SD) for the Long Beach, CA Bridge program cohort. He implemented the “open house” experience as a way of educating the community about the Antioch University Bridge Program. The “open house” program helped to engage community partners from South Los Angeles, the Los Angeles South Bay and Long Beach communities. This approach also brought forth students who participated in the Bridge Program.

With twenty years of experience in the nonprofit sector as a community volunteer and program manager, he earned his MA in Organizational Management and brings a profound love of teaching nonprofit work to the AULA community.

Critique of the Black Church, Religion, and Biblical Language for Inspiring and Empowering Black Gay Men Claremont School of Theology

Founders Award as community Elder In The Meantime Men’s Group

Russell Thronhill headshot

Teaching Faculty,

BA in Liberal Studies Program


The Bridge Program

UGS Coordinator,

Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP) credential


Courses Taught

Nonprofit Management (BUS 3200)
Nonprofit Advancement (BUS 3390)
Management in the Multicultural Workplace (BUS 3620)
Applied Studies Seminar: Cultural Contexts (APS/BUS 3990A)

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