President George E. and Elizabeth Ross have cemented their commitment to Central Michigan University and its students with a $1 million gift endowing three scholarships to benefit vocal music, accounting and medical school students.
“It’s the truest gift from a president’s heart that I’ve ever seen,” said Robert K. Martin, vice president for advancement. “President Ross stepped up to the plate. When he asks others to give to CMU, he asks them to support students — just like he and Elizabeth have.”
Ross was an accounting major in college; Mrs. Ross earned a business education degree. She has an affinity for vocal music and is known for occasional singing appearances during community functions and in church.
Their fondness for CMU’s College of Medicine, which graduated its first class in May, stems from two facts — it opened its doors under Ross’ leadership, and its students are dedicated to rural and medically underserved communities.
“For almost 12 years total, Mount Pleasant has been home for us. We’re truly blessed by the opportunities we’ve had, and we want to give back to students,” Elizabeth Ross said. “When Dr. Ross was asked to come back to CMU as president, it was the highest honor we could imagine.
“We’ve come to know so many students here, and we appreciate how smart, energetic, respectful, warm and resourceful they are,” she said. “Students are our future. It’s our responsibility to educate them and prepare them to be leaders.”
“It’s the truest gift from a president’s heart that I’ve ever seen.” - Robert K. Martin, vice president for advancement
Those who know President Ross well note that he has chosen CMU three previous times:
• In 2002, when he was appointed vice president for finance and administrative services.
• In 2010, when he left the presidency of Alcorn State University in Mississippi to take the reins at Central.
• Again in early 2015, when he chose CMU over the presidency at the University of Nebraska, where he had been recruited.
Ross, one of 12 children, attended Flint Northern High School and credits his high school math teacher, Miriam Schaefer, for persuading him to stay in school and graduate.
“Education is transformational,” he said. “It changed my life. Helping students earn their degree is our way of giving back — to CMU, to the students who make us proud every day and to Mrs. Schaefer. Elizabeth and I believe in paying it forward.”