Dr. Stephen B. Ross

We are sad to announce the recent passing of Professor Emeritus Stephen Ross. Thank you to Terrence Wiley for contributing the following beautiful tribute to Steve’s life and legacy:

Professor Stephen B. Ross (1935-2020)Picture of Stephen Ross

It was with great sadness that we learned last week of the passing of our colleague, teacher, mentor, and friend, Professor Stephen B. Ross. Steve was a major force in the development of the Linguistics program at CSULB as well as ESL and EFL programs on the campus.    

Steve grew up in Oregon and did his undergraduate work at George Fox College, where his father served as President. Steve received his B.A. there in 1957. Next, he received a degree in Divinity at a theological seminary in Kansas. After moving to California, he completed an M.A. in English from the University of Southern California in 1968, which was followed by a Ph.D. in Linguistics  in 1973. Steve began his career at CSULB while completing his doctorate at U.S.C. Over the years, he served in numerous important positions at CSULB. He was, for example, Director of the American Language Program (ALP) from 1970-1979, and he was founding Director of the Interdisciplinary Linguistics from 1985-1992. Steve was also instrumental, with colleagues, in establishing the Department of Linguistics. Steve was similarly very active in professional organizations such as TESOL, the American Association for Applied Linguistics, and particularly CATESOL, for which he served as president in 1984-1985.

At CSULB, Steve taught foundational seminars in syntax, phonology, language acquisition, research methods, and language testing, as well as seminars dealing with pedagogical grammar and communicative syllabus design. He was an excellent advisor to students and mentored many into professional organizations by involving them in panels and workshops at CATESOL and TESOL, where he was also a frequent presenter. Steve was also active in leading CSULB students on international field experiences, for example, to Upsala Sweden in 1976, and Taiwan in 1988. Additionally, he helped to coordinate numerous EFL summer institute programs at CSULB, which brought EFL students from around the globe to campus and provided EFL teaching-internships for students specializing in TESOL. Steve tirelessly provided advice and mentorship to his students. He retired 1999 and FERPED until 2004.

Steve was also an avid supporter of CSULB athletics. He served a Statistician for CSULB’s erstwhile football program (1976-1978) as well as Official Scorer for CSCULB’s Women’s Basketball from 1979-1988. He also served as an Official Basketball Scorer for the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

Steve married Teresa Ross in 1983. It was a second marriage for both. Tere Ross, now retired, served as an ESL/EFL teacher and later became Interim director of the American Language Institute at CSULB. Together they brought to their marriage eight children and 15 grandchildren.

Preparations for a memorial celebration of Steve’s life are currently being planned for later this year. An update will be provided as more information is received. Steve will be greatly missed by his former students, colleagues, family and friends.