Creating Pathways to Success

Donor Susan and Ken Ross

Susan and Ken Ross

Creating Pathways to Success

Several years ago Ken Ross, a 1974 graduate of the USM School of Business, came across a statistic that really struck home. "I read somewhere," he said, "that Maine students graduate from college shouldering higher than average debt loads. My wife Susan and I decided we wanted to do something to help."

Ken and Susan Ross of Scarborough have always been strong advocates of education as "the single-most influential solution" to many of society's ills. Ken Ross has lived out this philosophy by tirelessly supporting his alma mater, believing that the University of Southern Maine and the education it provides are vital to the region's economic health and development.

Susan Ross, a former elementary school teacher, understands from personal experience the importance of education in fostering success at an early age. So when she and Ken decided to endow a USM scholarship in their names, the choice to put the focus on educating Maine's future teachers came naturally.

They have included a bequest for USM in their estate plans that will be used to establish the Kenneth A. and Susan A. Ross Educators Scholarship Fund. The purpose of the fund is to provide financial assistance to Maine residents who aspire toward careers in teaching.

"We thought long and hard about how our bequest to USM might make a lasting impact," Ken explained. "We wanted to help Maine residents who are committed to sharing knowledge with others and we knew they would receive a quality education at USM. The Ross Educators Scholarship Fund aligns with our family values and beliefs."

Ken, who is president of Portland-based Clark Insurance, has a long history of active commitment to USM. A former member and past chair of the USM Board of Visitors, Ken has been involved in the University's strategic planning efforts, is a member of the USM Foundation Planned Giving Advisory Council and a member and past chair of USM Corporate Partners. All of this earned him the University's prestigious Hilltop Award in 2006, in recognition of his outstanding commitment and support for the betterment of USM.

In addition to including USM in his estate plans, Ken helped create another pathway toward career success for students at USM. In 2007, he was instrumental in mobilizing Maine's insurance industry to develop and support a Risk Management and Insurance (RMI) track at the School of Business. A concentration within the General Management major, the RMI program gives students a head start in a field that is thriving as the U.S. population ages and new risks emerge.

"It has been very exciting to see this program come to fruition," said Ken. Already, the relatively new concentration boasts an extraordinarily successful track record for placing students in jobs right out of college--many of those jobs are with Maine companies. "Our business alone has gained three quality employees thanks to this program," says Ken, who continues to serve on the USM Risk Management and Insurance Advisory Board.

Through their bequest and in so many other ways, Ken and Susan Ross are helping to make opportunities available for a new generation of USM students who will serve Maine as future teachers and business professionals. How better to show appreciation for the institution they value so highly?


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