G. Robert Ross (1972-1973)
G. Robert Ross was the twenty-third man elected to the presidency of ACPA. His election as president-elect was reported at the 1971 ACPA convention in Atlantic City during the Executive Council meeting on Saturday morning, April 3 in the Dennis Hotel and at the annual Business session on Tuesday night, April 6 in the Shelburne Hotel. Ross was professor of Educational Psychology and Measurements and Vice Chancellor and Corporation Secretary for the Board of Regents in the University of Nebraska System at Lincoln. He was 42 years of age, married, and the father of four children.
Robert Ross, who was born in Kerens, Texas, graduated from high school in Bryan, Texas. He attended Texas A & M where he received his B.S. (1949, Agricultural Economics) and M.S. (1950, Sociology) degrees. He served two years in the U.S. Air Force and was a Lieutenant Colonel in the Inactive Reserve. After his release from active duty, Ross began doctoral study at the University of Denver where he performed a variety of functions as a Graduate Assistant and was awarded the Ph.D. (1955, Psychology and Education).
His first post-doctoral position was at the University of Texas (1955-56) as Counseling Psychologist and Lecturer in educational psychology. At the University of Denver (1956-59) he was Assistant Professor of Psychology, Assistant Dean of Students, and Director of the Counseling Center. He moved to Ball State University as Dean of Student Affairs, 1959-62. During the next 11 years in Nebraska, he was Dean of Student Affairs and Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln (1962-63). In 1963 he was named Vice Chancellor. In 1968 he was appointed Vice President of the University of Nebraska System and Corporation Secretary to the Board of Regents, with specific responsibility for developing and implementing innovative educational programs for the system, one that attracted national attention as the University of Mid-America.
In January 1973 Ross was appointed Chancellor and Professor of Education and Psychology at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. He left in the summer of 1982. In January 1983 Ross was named President of Western Washington University and Professor of Education and Psychology.
Ross was a member of the ACPA Publications and Research Committee and Associate Editor of P-O-G during 1956-57, when he worked in the Testing and Guidance Center at the University of Texas (Austin). Ross participated with 22 other people in the ACPA pre-convention workshop at Detroit in 1957.That was the year he was named P-O-G Editor. Ross attended the Executive Council meetings and the two business sessions. At the Thursday afternoon Executive Council meeting on April 18, Ross discussed some plans for P-O-G which would eventually lead to professional Journal status.
At St. Louis in 1958, Ross attended the ACPA Executive Council meetings on Sunday night and Tuesday afternoon, March 30 and April 1. The Publications and Research Committee was divided into two committees. Ross was appointed by the ACPA Executive Council first to serve as ad hoc Publications Committee chairman, then chairman of the established committee. Also, he became proceedings Editor of P-O-G, after serving as Editor for one year, he was ACPA Recorder Coordinator and proceedings Editor Representative to the 1958 APGA convention committees. At the ACPA Executive Council meeting on April 1, he reported on the P-O-G and for the Publications Committee. In the 1958 elections, Ross and 12 others were chosen to serve as ACPA delegates-at-large to the 1959 APGA convention. He was an ex-officio member of the 1959 ACPA Program Committee.
At the 1959 Cleveland convention, Ross participated in the ACPA Executive Council meetings on Sunday night, Tuesday afternoon, and Thursday morning, March 22, 24, and 26. He presented the report of the Publications Committee at the Sunday night meeting in Hotel Cleveland. Ross presented at a Tuesday afternoon program labeled Developing Human Resources through Occupational and Educational Information and a Wednesday morning meeting on Self-Concept Differences and Changes Among College Students. During 1959, he became Dean of Student Affairs at Ball State Teachers’ College (Muncie).
Ross reported for the Publications Committee at the Executive Council meeting on Sunday evening and again at the annual luncheon on Monday, April 10-11, 1960 at the Philadelphia convention, he appeared on the convention program Tuesday morning on the Use of Faculty as Student Personnel Workers and Wednesday morning on The Applications of Self-Concept Theory to Orientation Programs.
In the 1963 elections, G. Robert Ross was elected a member-at-large to the ACPA Executive Council for two years. He served a one-year appointment on the Executive Council during 1965-66. Then in the 1967 elections, he was elected to a three-year term as member-at-large. In the 1971 elections, he became ACPA president-elect. With only several exceptions, he was present at all the ACPA Executive Council meetings and business sessions during those years. At the Boston convention in 1963, he participated in the three-day pre-convention workshop on Thursday through Saturday, April 4-6. He served as chairman of the Selection Committee for Journal Editor.
During 1963-64, he chaired the ACPA ad hoc Committee on Ethics. At the 1964 San Francisco convention, Ross was recorder at a Tuesday afternoon program in the Fairmont Hotel on Review of Strengths and Weaknesses of Student Personnel in Higher Education as I Have Seen It. At the Sunday, April 11, 1965 Executive Council meeting during the Minneapolis convention, he reported for the ad hoc Committee on Monograph Publishing Policy. At the Executive Council meeting on Thursday, President Berdie announced the appointment of Ross to the 1965-66 Budget Committee and Convention Study Committee.
At the Sunday afternoon, March 19, 1967 Executive Council meeting at the Dallas Convention, President Black appointed him a member of the ad hoc Committee to Study Membership Problems. Ross reported briefly on the ACPA Awards Committee. At the Executive Council meeting Thursday morning, March 23, he was selected a member of the Policy and Planning Committee. At the 1969 Las Vegas convention, during the Executive Council meeting on Sunday morning, March 30, Ross reported for the search committee to propose an Editor-elect of the Journal, and his motion to establish a Commission Editorial Board was passed.
President Butler and President-elect Ross met in Chicago on Wednesday, June 2, 1971 to discuss merger talks with NASPA and NAWDC presidents and presidents-elect. Ross worked with the officers of NAWDC to develop joint programs and joint placement activities for their 1973 convention in Cleveland. In August, Ross was named Vice President of the University of Nebraska System. On Monday, September 20, he and President Butler met at APGA headquarters in Washington, DC to discuss the APGA reorganization proposal.
At the Chicago convention in 1972, ACPA President-elect Ross participated in the Executive Council meetings on Saturday and Sunday, March 25-26 in the Conrad Hilton Hotel. Among his input were procedures for incorporating ACPA and filing for non-profit status. At the business session Monday afternoon, Ross reported continuous talks were being held with NASPA and NAWDC. He presided as president at the Executive Council meeting Wednesday afternoon, during which time his operating budget of $60,300 for 1972-73 was approved.
The President’s Communiqué, a newsletter, was introduced during his presidency. He met with NASPA and NAWDC officials in Chicago on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 9-10, 1972. Late in May he met with ACPA and NAWDC convention planners in Cleveland. He and Past-president Butler met with officials in the U.S. Office of Education to discuss financial support for the second phase of the Tomorrow’s Higher Education Project. In mid-July, Ross took a funding proposal to Washington, DC.
Ross presided at the mid-year ACPA Executive Council meetings in Cleveland on Thursday through Saturday, October 5-7, 1972 at the Statler Hilton Hotel. On Saturday, Ross met with the Executive Councils of ACPA, NASPA, and NAWDC at the Sheraton Cleveland Hotel. As of March 1, 1973, ACPA membership totaled 7,556.
The forty-sixth annual ACPA convention was held jointly with NAWDC at Cleveland in 1973. The theme of the convention was “What, Then Is a Human Being…?” Headquarters hotel for ACPA was the Statler Hilton. President G. Robert Ross presided at the Executive Council meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, April 3-4, and the annual business session Thursday afternoon in the Statler Hilton. Among actions taken at the Business session (approximately 211 people were in attendance), an office of Vice President for Commissions and an office of Vice President for State Divisions was approved. A motion to poll the ACPA membership on disaffiliation or continuance with APGA was approved. At the Executive Council meeting Saturday afternoon, Ross was recognized for the outstanding service and leadership he contributed to ACPA.
His term as an Executive Council member ended at the 1974 national convention in Chicago. At the April 14 meeting in Chicago, members approved his motion to at least minimally participate in the annual APGA convention program when a separate ACPA convention was held.
At the 1978 ACPA national convention in Detroit he was one of four university presidents who participated on the general session titled “The President’s Perspective—What I Expect.”
Former ACPA President Ross was killed in an airplane crash with two university vice presidents and the aircraft’s pilot early in November 1987. He was survived by his wife, Betty, a son, a daughter, a sister, and his parents.
G. Robert Ross was recognized posthumously for his distinguished service to higher education and ACPA at the opening session of the ACPA national convention in Miami (1988).