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Davidson President Tom Ross To Head UNC System

The President of Davidson College Tom Ross will soon head the University of North Carolina system. For three years Ross has overseen the education of 1,700 students at Davidson College. Soon he will be responsible for 225,000. "This particular opportunity is certainly a place where I feel like I can serve the state of North Carolina and the people of North Carolina," says Ross. "The University and its seventeen campuses is really in my view one of the most, if not, the most important institution to the state's future." Ross has pledged to find ways the University can help grow the economy in parts of the state that are struggling. He says the UNC system does plenty of outreach including helping farmers boost crop yields and cities plan for growth, but more could be done to channel the university's research. "We need to have a particular focus on that research that might produce discoveries and ideas that could lead to new business and could lead to enhancing the production of businesses we already have," says Ross. Ross went to law school at UNC Chapel Hill and was appointed to the North Carolina Superior Court as the youngest judge in the state. He was 33. Today Ross is 60 and well-known in higher education circles not only for his position at Davidson. He's also served on numerous university boards and was president of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation. Ross said it was a tough decision to leave Davidson. Many students there are sorry to see him go. Junior Christina Blackwood is one of several student leaders who regularly meet with Ross. "He had a lot of plans such as building a literary center and the diversity initiative that we have on campus," says Blackwood. "I hope the new president will be able to follow through with them. But I'm really sad that he's decided to take another position." "Personally and selfishly I'm sad, but Tom has accomplished so much here and led this place so well that I'm also celebrating," says Ed Kania Vice President for Finance and Administration at Davidson College. "Tom's a Davidson alum and he's living a life of service, which is what we call us to do." Ross will stay on at Davidson through December. He begins his new job as President of the UNC system in January. He'll be making $525,000 a year.