Staff Profile: Gary Ross ’77

Jaclyn Cohen

“There are some people who might get incentives or stock bonuses in their jobs, but when students tells me that they’ve had an excellent first year at Colgate there’s nothing better,” Dean of Admissions Gary Ross said. “I’ll take that over a stock bonus anytime.” Seeing students enjoy their time at Colgate is especially meaningful for Ross, who is himself a 1977 graduate of the school. “I would not trade my Colgate experience for anything,” Ross said. After graduating from Colgate, Ross attended the University of Southern California, where he earned his Master’s degree in educational counseling and administration. After graduating, he worked in Indiana for the father of a Colgate friend who was running for governor. Next, he moved to Colorado, where he worked as a police officer for four years. He resigned from the police department after the small businesses he had started became successful. In 1985, he returned to Colgate to serve as assistant to the secretary and president of the Board of Trustees. “When I came back to visit Colgate on my interview I saw the Colgate students and immediately realized if Colgate wanted me to come back here I would be a fool not to take advantage of the opportunity,” he said. He has since become dean of admissions, presiding over the recruitment, application and selection process of entering classes. He also travels the country touting Colgate’s virtues. “I enjoy meeting people,” he said. “This past weekend I was in several different cities meeting with prospective Colgate students and it was a thrill and privilege to be around sensational young men and women.”His responsibilities as a dean tend to keep Ross busy. “If one’s looking for a position where one has a lot of free time this is really not the type of position they ought to seek, because there really isn’t any down time,” he said. Even though admission decisions were sent out in March, Ross has spent recent weeks preparing for April Visit Days, during which he enjoyed the assistance of the entire Colgate community. “There were so many students who helped us in very meaningful ways over April Visit Days,” he said. “To me this demonstrates that we have a magnificent student body with tremendous pride in their institution and I’m so grateful for their efforts.” In fact, Ross considers the best part of his job the opportunity to work with students. “I have the greatest privilege of working on a daily basis with Colgate students,” he said. “It’s a part of my job that I don’t even consider a part of my job. If I’m having a bad day, which doesn’t happen very often, all I need to do is have a conversation with a Colgate student and even the worst day can turn into a great one.”Ross particularly enjoys being able to watch students grow during the duration of their time here at Colgate.”To stay in touch with students for four years and see them a changed person when they graduate [is a great pleasure],” he said. “You only need one of those kinds of examples to realize that this has got to be the best job in the world. It gives me more personal and professional satisfaction then I could quantify.” One of the ways Ross gets to know these students is through attending campus events.”My most favorite thing to do is to support students in their efforts,” he said. “That includes everything from art exhibitions, theatrical and music performances [to] athletic events of all types.”Ross finds the most difficult aspect of his job denying entry to potential Colgate students. “The way I justify it is Colgate is in an extraordinary position in that it is now capable of attracting students who could attend any university,” he said. “While on an individual basis I still feel very badly for anyone who is denied admission, I am delighted that Colgate has received national and international recognition and attracts a talented applicant pool.” Ross thus looks forward to the perpetuation of Colgate’s character. “This is a place where everyone cares about one another and I hope Colgate never loses that,” he concluded. “I know my life would be much less fulfilled if I didn’t have my Colgate undergraduate experience.”