ECU alumnus gives $4 million to university for School of Dentistry
Dr. Ledyard E. Ross
(Feb. 26, 2010)
Two years after local, state and university leaders broke ground for the new East Carolina University School of Dentistry, many of those same officials were on hand today to recognize a retired Greenville orthodontist for his gift to the new dental school.
The orthodontist, Dr. Ledyard E. Ross, 84, has pledged $4 million to ECU for academic purposes at the School of Dentistry. His gift is one of the largest to the university in its history.
During its regularly scheduled meeting, the ECU Board of Trustees voted to name the new building housing the School of Dentistry as Ledyard E. Ross Hall.
“This generous gift comes at a time when we are starting a new school and puts us in a position to support faculty and students at its inception,” said Chancellor Steve Ballard. The funds will be used for as student scholarships, faculty research and other academic enterprises.
A 1951 graduate of then East Carolina College, Ross has been a supporter of several academic and athletic initiatives at the university since establishing his dental practice in Greenville. He is a member of the Leo Jenkins Society and Order of the Cupola.
“Dr. Ross’ gift to the university reinforces that the N.C. General Assembly saw the wisdom of establishing a School of Dentistry at ECU and reinforces the vision they had and we have for this school,” Ballard said.
Dr. James Hupp, dean of the School of Dentistry, said, “The difference between being a good dental school and a great dental school hinges on private giving. Dr. Ross’ very generous philanthropic gift will propel us toward greatness, allowing us to accomplish our grand vision of improving the health and quality of life of North Carolinians by leading the nation in community-based, service-learning dental education. We cannot thank him enough.”
ECU’s dental school plans to admit its first students for the fall semester of 2011. About 50 students will enter the program every year.
Ledyard E. Ross Hall, on the ECU Health Sciences campus, will have more than 100,000 square feet. The North Carolina General Assembly has provided about $90 million for construction. That appropriation covers both the dental school building in Greenville and 10 community service learning centers in rural and underserved areas of North Carolina.
The first three locations announced for those centers are Sylva, Ahoskie and Elizabeth City. Dental school faculty members will be based in the centers, along with advanced dental residents and senior students who will receive enhanced dental education in real practice settings. The students and faculty will offer much-needed dental care to citizens in the areas surrounding the centers.
Ross attended Greenville High School and Hardbarger Business College before being admitted to East Carolina College. He graduated from Northwestern University Dental School with a Doctor of Dental Surgery in 1953, and received a Master of Science degree in Orthodontics in 1959 from UNC-Chapel Hill. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps First Marine Division from 1943-1946.
He is married to Alta Dant Ross. He has four children, Dr. Dennis Ross of Greenville, Cynthia Teague of Raleigh, Kathryn Ross Pitts of Huntersville, and Jody Ross Odaniell of West Linn, Ore.
Dr. James Hupp, Dr. Ledyard E. Ross, and ECU Chancellor Steve Ballard at the announcement of Ross' gift to the university.