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, trustee since 2006 and chair of the board’s Committee on Development and Comprehensive Campaign, and generous donor, Steve is among the university’s most ardent cheerleaders.
Steve is an enthusiastic connector (and re-connector) of countless GW alumni, particularly those who attended GW before it evolved from a regional institution to a major research university with an international reputation. For him, re-engaging alumni is a priority that is critical for GW to continue enhancing its stature as a world-class institution.
As evidence of this commitment, during the final months of 2017, Steve offered a $100 bonus as a matching gift for each of the first 250 new donors who made gifts to their favorite areas of GW. This goal was surpassed quickly and increased to 350 donors. Steve’s generosity helped spark an increase in first-time donors—who supported student life, scholarships, and GW schools.
Steve’s own philanthropy stretches across the university and his gifts touch every corner of campus, 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. Steve and his wife Lori, BA ’84 (who he met at GW) also are benefactors of the Power & Promise initiative, which enables more students to take advantage of a GW education through scholarships and fellowships.
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.