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Gary Ross: Reaching beyond to enrich MSU

Gary Ross, Minot State University business administration professor, is no stranger to forging new paths. From the classroom to China and beyond, he finds life contains many avenues.

From teaching, to department chair and much more, Ross is now back in the classroom, with a wealth of knowledge to share.

Ross, originally from Warren, Minn., earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Minot State University in 1980 and went on earn his masters and doctorate in philosophy from the University of North Dakota in 1984 and 1997 respectively. He started working at Minot State as the director of student loan collections in 1981. In 1984 he began his teaching career as a business instructor, and by 2002 had climbed the academic ladder to become a full professor.

In 2003 Ross switched gears and moved into the position of chair of the Department of Business Administration. He also took on the role as the director of the Master of Science in Management program, working with foreign universities to bring graduate students to the MSM program.

"The international students really bring richness to the campus that domestic students would not experience otherwise," Ross said. "It enriches my teaching too. It's a real eye-opener."

Having traveled to universities in China, Vietnam, South Korea, Norway and Sweden, Ross has been instrumental in recruiting foreign students to Minot State University. He continues to foster the international partnerships through regular communication and travel.

"When dealing with other cultures, you can't just negotiate a contract," Ross confessed. "You must develop a relationship first and maintain it. A contract is almost meaningless if you have lost the relationship."

Ross decided to hang up his coat as department chair in 2013 and return to his first love, teaching. Unfortunately, the new academic year started off with an unforeseen challenge. Ross's brother needed a kidney, so he stepped up to the plate and offered one of his own.

"It was one of those things: either see my brother live the rest of his life on dialysis and suffer all kinds of other medical problems down the road, or donate a kidney. Since my sister blazed the trail by donating a kidney to him before, it wasn't a huge frightening thing for me." Ross said.

Due to necessary recovery time, Ross was not immediately able to return to the classroom. He was, however, able to teach online classes from home. Once fully recuperated, Ross returned to the classroom where he continues his mission of making a difference in students' lives and, as MSM director, recruiting students from foreign countries.