Dr. Kathleen Ross, PhD, Education

Dr. Kathleen Ross, PhD, Education
Sister Kathleen Ross received her PhD in Education from CGU in 1979. She is nationally known
as a leader in higher education, especially in the field of cross-cultural communication.
Ross is a member of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, an order of Catholic
Sisters dedicated to education, especially for the poor and disadvantaged. Her career in higher
education spans more than three decades. In the 1970s she served as provost of Fort Wright
College in Spokane, Washington, where she oversaw the creation of outreach programs in
Toppenish on the Yakama Nation Reservation that extended the opportunity for four-year
college degrees to rural, minority, and low income populations typically not served by higher
education institutions. When Fort Wright College closed in 1982, she became the founding
president of Heritage University in Toppenish, where she oversaw its growth from 85 students to
more than 1400, stepping down in 2010. Ross is currently on a sabbatical as a Visiting
Research Scholar at Claremont Graduate University. She is working to design a new Heritage
University endeavor which will promote degree completion by low-income, first-generation-tocollege students nationally.
Ross has received numerous awards, including the 1989 Harold McGraw Prize in education, the
1991 John Carroll Award from Georgetown University, the 1995 State of Washington Medal of
Merit, and in 1997 she was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow, the so-called "Genius
Award." She has received honorary degrees from more than a dozen colleges and universities
including Dartmouth College, Alverno College, Pomona College, University of Notre Dame,
Whitworth University, Gonzaga University, Pacific Lutheran University, University of Puget
Sound, and Seattle University. Ross holds a BA degree from Fort Wright College (the
predecessor to Heritage University), and an MA from Georgetown University. Her PhD
dissertation at CGU was developed under the guidance of Howard Bowen and Peter Drucker. It
focused on cultural factors affecting the success of American Indian students in higher