Hundreds Gather to Honor Ross School Founder

On Sunday, June 3, Ross School celebrated the contributions of its founder, Courtney Sale Ross, in advance of her transition to a new role as Trustee Emeritus. More than 400 members of the Ross community attended the gathering, including alumni, parents, current students, and special guests. The focus of the event was reflecting upon the ways in which Mrs. Ross impacted their lives and global education over the last 27 years.

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Among those present were some of the school’s earliest supporters, including founding mentors Dr. Ralph Abraham, professor of mathematics at University of California, Santa Cruz, and Dr. Howard Gardner, developmental psychologist and the John H. and Elisabeth A. Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Additional mentors in attendance included Dr. Bruce Stewart, guest scientist in the Department of Applied Science at Brookhaven National Laboratory and Ross School parent; Dr. Marcelo Suárez-Orozco, Wasserman Dean at UCLA’s Graduate School of Education and Information Studies and Dr. Carola Suárez-Orozco, co-director of UCLA’s Institute for Immigration, Globalization & Education, both Ross School parents. Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman and Frank Quevedo, executive director of South Fork Natural History Museum & Nature Center, were also on hand.

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Nicole Ross Eloff ’01, Courtney and the late Steven J. Ross’s daughter and the school’s first student, along with her husband Rob Eloff, announced the dedication of the Courtney Sale Ross Lecture Hall in the Senior Thesis Building and the Courtney Sale Ross–Steven J. Ross Center for Well-Being which will honor their vision and legacy as founders of the institution and educational leaders.

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The program’s events highlighted the school’s rich international community with a series of vibrant multicultural presentations that included a performance by First Baptist Church’s Genesis Gospel Choir, Chinese songs played on a traditional Chinese harp by a Ross student, and Native American dances and drumming by members (one of whom is a Ross alumnus) of Shinnecock Indian Nation, marking the group’s long-standing collaboration and friendship with Ross School and Mrs. Ross. Offerings from Ross School’s Lower School choir and Upper School drummers and jazz ensemble rounded out the afternoon’s entertainment. Audiences were also treated to screenings of Don’t Dream Small, a documentary film chronicling the school’s history. 

“I am proud of all we have accomplished in our first 27 years. The upcoming integration of the Lower School into the East Hampton campus fulfills our goal of creating a sustainable pre-nursery to postgraduate school in one location, which allows students of all ages to interact with and learn from one another,” Mrs. Ross said. “When my late husband and I founded Ross School, we had the vision to prepare students to become global citizens. That work continues, and I look forward to the school’s future guided by a new generation of leaders.”

Mrs. Ross went on to express her gratitude for the decades she spent working with the school and those with whom she collaborated during her 27 years. “There is immense satisfaction in preparing young people to meet the world’s challenges,” she said. “Ross School continues to be the greatest learning experience of my life.”