Faculty, Staff, and Alumni Honor the Memory of Dr. Donald J. Ross Sr.

Submitted by Carolyn Arnold on September 12, 2011

Dr. Donald J. Ross Sr., who taught at Fairfield from 1950 until his death in 2008, continues to be remembered as a teacher who inspired his students and encouraged them to excel in their studies. To honor his memory, the Donald J. Ross Sr., Ph.D. Chair in biology and biochemistry was established as a result of gifts from various donors in honor of his legacy. September will also start a series of special biology seminars held in Dr. Ross’ memory.

Dr. Donald J. Ross Sr.

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Rev. Paul Fitzgerald, S.J., senior vice president for academic affairs, says, “This lasting memorial to the excellent example of teaching and mentoring set by Dr. Ross is most fitting. He was among the best of the founding cohort of professors here at Fairfield who set us on track to be who we have become – one of the top universities in the country in terms of the quality of our teaching and, consequently, of our students’ success.”

Dr. Ross offered courses in several areas of biology, including biochemistry, and guided over 800 future doctors and dentists into medical schools while helping countless others into various science and health fields. He was a strong proponent of Jesuit education and lived his life committed to the principles of St. Ignatius Loyola. He referred to his work as being done “ad majorem dei gloriam” – for the greater glory of God.

On September 26, Dr. Glenn Sauer, associate professor of the Biology Department in the College of Arts and Sciences, will be installed as the first holder of the Chair in a ceremony held in the atrium of the Rudolph F. Bannow Science Center. “Dr. Sauer is ideally suited for this honor, for he embodies that same passion and talent for teaching excellence,” says Fr. Fitzgerald.

Dr. Sauer, who received his Ph.D. in marine science from the University of South Carolina, has been teaching at Fairfield since 2000. He teaches courses in biochemistry, endocrinology, and general biology. He also teaches “God & Modern Biology,” a course that examines various topics in science and religion.

“The dedication of this Chair brings comfort to our family because Dad will be remembered by the university he loved and to which he dedicated 58 years of his life,” says Christine Earls, professor of the practice of biology, and Dr. Ross’ daughter. “Particularly touching is that so many of his former students contributed to the establishment of this Chair in his honor,” she continues.

In addition to the installation of the Chair, students will be able to attend a series of free biology seminars throughout the year. Each month a guest will be on campus to discuss a biological topic. On September 28, 2011, Dr. Carolyn Stankiewicz Schober ’05 will speak on the investigation of the requirement for VRK1 in mammalian germ cell development, research that she conducts at Yale University’s School of Medicine.

Professor Earls says, “My hope for the seminar series is that students become excited about scientific inquiry, particularly in the field of Biology.  He loved working with students in the laboratory as well as the classroom and to have some of his former students return to Fairfield to speak about their research will be such an inspiration to current undergraduates and a wonderful tribute to my Dad.”

For a full list of events check out the poster:

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