Ross Named Duke's First Sanford Fellow

After leading the UNC System for five years, Thomas Ross ’75 (JD) is spending the spring semester at Duke, where he is the first Terry Sanford Distinguished Fellow at the Sanford School of Public Policy.

Ross is expected to help the school develop the idea of putting the drawing of North Carolina legislative and congressional district boundaries in the hands of an independent commission. He also is expected to work directly with students and faculty and to give guest lectures to classes.

According to the school, the fellowship will last at least through this spring semester. The fellowship and lecture are endowed by the William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust.

Ross had agreed to take a one-year sabbatical when he left the system position at the start of this year and then to take a faculty position in UNC’s School of Government. He will keep that commitment, according to media reports.

The BOG voted, with little explanation, in January 2015 to relieve Ross of the presidency as he began his fifth year.

Ross made it clear he was not ready to retire. The board’s then-chair, John Fennebresque ’70, offered no explanation about why the board shortened Ross’ presidency, and none emerged in the ensuing months. The board has come under continuing criticism for the move, which is widely seen as the political strategy of the Republican-dominated board.

Previously, Ross was a judge, executive director of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation and president of Davidson College.