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Retiring teacher rebuilds tech

6/12/2014

By ELIZABETH GOLDEN

egolden@dailynews.net

Twenty-five years of service might seem like a long time for some. But for John Ross, it's just the beginning.

Ross, who has spent the last 25 years at Fort Hays State University and the last 15 years as director of Forsyth Library, is closing his book for the final time.

"I decided it was time for a career change," Ross said. "I also decided this was a chance to expand my knowledge and rekindle some skills I haven't used in a while."

Ross enjoys studying space exploration, science and technology, as he began in the technology field more than 30 years ago. He began as the manager of microcomputer services in 1989 shortly after beginning work at the university as a nontraditional student.

"I had a business repairing electronics," he said. "But then I thought going to the university would be a good thing to do, so that's what I did. I was 28 when I came here."

While at FHSU, Ross heavily was involved in the food packaging efforts and the creation of the MakerSpace.

The MakerSpace is an area in Forsyth Library for any student or community member to access the 3D printer and 3D scanner.

"I enjoyed having the chance to provide leadership with the food pantry," he said. "I've had a chance to work with students and faculty. Those moments really stood out to me. I'm working on establishing a hunger ministry with my church."

Ross believes the library will continue to grow and be the focal point for the institution in terms of resources and scholarship.

"We've seen the library come a long way," he said. "We've touched a lot of people because of the things we do here."

After leaving his role as director, Ross will continue to work as an adjunct faculty member, teaching English composition through the Virtual College.

"I really have a love affair with the university," he said. "People have been so great to me. I started out as a blank slate, and people cared, taught me and were gracious to me. The faculty and administration have really broadened my horizons."

Ross plans on developing another career as well, but his priority is with his family.

"I have three small children to provide for, and I want to have time with them," he said. "I really want to increase what I'm doing for our church. In terms of another career, it's definitely something I plan to do. I don't intend to stop thinking or stop doing for a long time."

Ross' last day as director is July 19.