Almost every sports team has a utility player—an individual who by virtue of their skill and versatility, plays multiple roles and adds tremendous value to the team. For GW, Steve Ross, BBA ’81 meets that description perfectly. An active volunteer since 1986, member of GW’s Board of Trustees since 2006 and current chair of its Committee on Development and Comprehensive Campaign, and generous donor, Steve is among the university’s most ardent cheerleaders.
Over the course of the Making History campaign, Steve has been a key campaign advisor and enthusiastic connector (and re-connector) of countless GW alumni, particularly those who attended GW before it evolved from a largely regional institution to one with a national and international reputation. Steve has made re-engaging these alumni a priority, and he considers this critical for GW to continue enhancing its stature as a world-class institution.
Steve’s extensive philanthropy stretches across the university and his gifts touch every corner, from Athletics to Career Services and Hillel to Multicultural Student Services. The GW School of Business, from which Steve received his degree, has been a significant beneficiary, including the Program on Applied Research and Investing, the Duques Fishbowl Project, and the New Venture Competition.
In addition, Steve has been a longtime champion for student support. He and his wife Lori, BA ’84 (who he met at GW) are benefactors of GW’s Power & Promise initiative, which enables more students to take advantage of a GW education through scholarships and fellowships. Steve has deployed his philanthropy in strategic ways; for example, as a consistent advocate for annual giving, he has, on more than one occasion, lent his name and contributed matching funding as challenges to inspire others to give, at all levels.
Steve often relates a story about how difficult it was for him personally to take the first step and write GW a check for $25. However, once he did, he says that giving has become easier and easier. To use one of Steve’s favorite financial market metaphors, he considers himself a lifetime “investor” in GW’s “stock”—and the university is all the richer for his passion, his commitment, and his generosity.