Professor Bernard H. Ross, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Public Administration and Policy in the School of Public Affairs, passed away on July 31. Bernie Ross joined the faculty of what was then AU’s School of Government and Public Administration (SGPA) in 1967 while finishing his Ph.D. at New York University. He remained on the AU faculty for his entire career, until his retirement in 2005.
Professor Ross was an exemplary teacher, scholar, and mentor. He had a remarkable influence on many students, alumni, and colleagues during his 38 years at AU. During his time on the faculty, he directed SGPA’s Center for State and Local Government, the Urban Affairs Program, and later, AU’s World Capitals Program, the forerunner of AU Abroad. Most importantly, he served for a decade as chair of the Department of Public Administration (and before that, for five years as director of Public Administration programs before the department was formed). During those years, from 1983 to 1998, the department achieved national recognition as one of the top ten Public Administration programs in the nation. He also led the expansion of the department’s offerings in the field of Public Policy, and played a key role pioneering SPA’s executive education programs, directing programs for the U.S. Postal service, IBM, General Electric, and Cray Research.
Over the years, he won numerous awards, both within the university and in the profession for outstanding teaching, scholarship, and service. In 1998, he was elected a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration, a singular honor accorded to scholars and practitioners whose work has significantly advanced the public interest. He was the author of four books, and many articles, most of which focused on urban affairs, a field in which he became national renowned. His text book, Urban Politics(with Myron Levine), went through seven editions.
Like many faculty at AU, Bernie Ross’ scholarship was enriched by his firsthand experience with government. For six years, from 1978 to 1983, he directed the Center for Urban Policy Analysis, a joint project of AU and the Department of Housing and Urban Affairs Office of Policy Development and Research.
He will be dearly missed by his loving, devoted wife, Marlene; his three wonderful children, Jeffrey (Mary) Ross, Joanne (Sean) Coleman, Carolyn Ross (Michael) McKinney; his seven grandchildren: Michael, Nicole, Emma, Andrew, Madison, Alexander, and Wyatt; his colleagues and friends; and thousands of students whose lives he influenced. Funeral services are scheduled for Tuesday, August 3rd, 1:30 pm at the Kay Spiritual Life Center. Interment will follow at Garden of Remembrance Memorial Park, Clarksburg, MD. The family will receive visitors Tuesday evening from 7 to 9 p.m., and Wednesday evening from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Community Room of 5450 Whitley Park Terrace, Bethesda, MD.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to The Bernard H. Ross Scholarship Fund, SPA, American University, 4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20016 or The Parkinson Foundation of the National Capital Area, 8300 Greensboro Drive, Suite 800, McLean, VA 22102.