qwe - Loyola University New Orleans

Welcome to the Loyola University Newsroom

Print this page

Loyola Mourns Loyola Legend, Photographer Russ Cresson

Loyola announcement - April 26, 2017

Loyola University New Orleans is grieving the passing of Russ Cresson, a beloved alumnus and longtime Loyola photographer who retired from the university in 1987 with nearly 40 years of service. Cresson died Sunday. He was 96.

Cresson joined the Loyola community as student in 1946. A former Navy man who served in World War II and attended college on the GI Bill, he delighted in campus life and all Loyola had to offer. Cresson played catcher on the university baseball team for four years and lettered in his sport. He also took photographs for The Maroon, which led to photography work for Loyola’s public information office. When Cresson graduated in 1949 with a bachelor of science degree in marketing, Loyola asked him to be the university’s first official university photographer.

For 38 years, Cresson captured life at Loyola through the lens of his camera — delighting students, staff, and faculty with beautiful and compelling photographs of campus and student life. Cresson also captured meaningful photos of the Jesuits and thousands of Loyola alumni weddings. Today, his photos are displayed prominently throughout the Loyola campus, especially in the university’s J. Edgar and Louise S. Monroe Library.

Cresson’s powerful photographs also fill pages of Founded on Faith, a book by Bernard A. Cook that celebrates Loyola’s 2012 centennial and the university’s Jesuit heritage and rich history. Cresson’s work also includes photographs of celebrated visitors to Loyola, including Cardinal Frances Spellman; Earl Warren, the former chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court; Rev. Fulton Sheen; Mother Teresa; and Fulton Oursler, author of The Greatest Story Ever Told.

Cresson was the first of four official university photographers who have captured life on campus since 1949. Tracy Smith served two years as university photographer from 1987 to 1989. Harold Baquet served as university photographer from 1989 to 2014. Kyle Encar has served as university photographer since 2014.

Cresson is remembered on campus and throughout the New Orleans community for his character, kindness, integrity, and adherence to Jesuit values. In recognition of his character and service, Loyola awarded him its Co-Adjutor Optimus Award as a Distinguished Employee in 1983; its Adjutor Hominum Award as its alumnus of the year in 2004; and the St. Sebastian Award in 2007, awarded to an athlete who exhibits outstanding charitable, community, civic, and spiritual service to humanity.

Cresson and his wife, Claire, were married 66 years and had nine children; all but one graduated from Loyola. The couple have also enjoyed 22 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Friends and family are invited to the visitation from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, April 28, at Lake Lawn Metairie Funeral Home, 5100 Pontchartrain Blvd., with a rosary at 7 p.m. Visitation on Saturday will begin at noon at St. Dominic Church, 775 Harrison Ave., followed by a Mass of Christian burial at 1:30 p.m. Interment will follow in Metairie Cemetery. The family has requested in lieu of flowers, any donations be made to Loyola University in Russell Cresson’s name or to the Sister Servants of Mary, 5001 Perlita St., New Orleans, LA 70122.