The Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies dedicated an undergraduate conference room in honor of the late professor's memory.
To see the effect [my father] had on countless students who cherished his guidance throughout his... career makes us grateful to have shared him with Fairfield.
— Christine Ross Earls, PhD, biology professor and daughter of Dr. Donald J. Ross Sr.
More than 50 Fairfield University faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends gathered at the Marion Peckham Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies on Wednesday, April 25, 2018, to honor the legacy of beloved biology professor, the late Donald J. Ross, Sr., PhD, with a special health studies conference room dedication held in his name.
Meredith Wallace Kazer, PhD, dean of the Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies, opened the ceremony by touching upon the energy and devotion that Dr. Ross brought to the Biology Department, and shared stories of admiration from alumni and faculty who had the privilege of working with the professor during his 48-year tenure. Following her comments, Rev. Charles Allen, S.J., University chaplain and special assistant to the president, performed a blessing and led the ceremonial unveiling of the Dr. Donald J. Ross Health Studies Conference Room honorary plaques.
Christine Ross Earls, PhD, biology professor and daughter of Dr. Ross spoke words of gratitude on her family’s behalf, which includes her brother, Fairfield Senior Graphics Designer Edmund Ross ’86, MA ’89, who was also in attendance.
“I have always been very grateful to have had such a kind, loving, inspiring, and intelligent dad,” Dr. Earls said. “To see the effect he had on countless students who cherished his guidance throughout his long career makes us grateful to have shared him with Fairfield University."
Dr. Donald J. Ross worked as a biology professor and advisor to premedical students at Fairfield University for 48 years, during which he also served as Biology Department chair. Following his retirement in 1998, he continued to teach courses as a professor emeritus in biology until his passing in 2008. A recipient of the Fairfield Silver Jubilee Faculty Award, he was also honored with the Fairfield University Distinguished Faculty Service Award and Fairfield University Teacher of the Year Award, in addition to being recognized as one of the Outstanding Educators in America. Dr. Ross is credited with helping more than 800 Fairfield alumni earn their acceptances into some of the top medical, dental, and graduate schools in the country, and in 2011, the College of Arts and Sciences established the Dr. Donald J. Ross Biology Lecture Series to continue his legacy of educating and engaging students in scientific inquiry.
“No Fairfield faculty member has been more instrumental in getting students into successful health programs than Dr. Ross,” said Brian Walker, PhD, associate biology professor and former student of the late professor. “His energy was incredible, and it will take years for our biology faculty to catch up.”
Both Dr. Walker and Associate Biology Professor Geoffrey Church, PhD, were instrumental in helping the Office of Advancement raise funds for the conference room dedication, and for the continuation of the Dr. Donald J. Ross Biology Lecture Series. The professors reached out to the hundreds of alumni, friends, and family mentored by Dr. Ross during his tenure, and received a tremendous outpouring of support that will be used to fund the lecture series for the next five years.
“My family and I express our sincerest thanks to [those] whose generous donations made this dedication possible and will keep the Biology Department Lecture Series running in dad’s memory,” Dr. Earls said. “To have his legacy of ‘cura personalis’ and ‘magis’ memorialized by these students is a source of great comfort to his family.”