The woman I respectfully refer to as the  "little giant" is receiving a giant-sized honor and community-wide acknowledgment for a huge contribution to this region.

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Ted Robertson Award Winner Chosen

The Past Chairs of The Greater Yakima Chamber of Commerce have announced Dr. Kathleen Ross has been selected to receive the 2022 Ted Robertson Community Service Award.

If you have seen her, you know why I describe her as "little", and if you've seen what she has accomplished with her passion, drive, and commitment, you know why I include the word "giant" in her description.  She is the heart and soul of the can-do spirit that ultimately brought about Heritage University in Toppenish.

Always A Passionate Educator

Dr. Ross’s career started by teaching high school in Spokane but soon moved to higher education, focusing on cross-cultural communication. Her career in higher education spans more than four decades.

In the 1970s she served as provost of Fort Wright College of the Holy Names in Spokane where she oversaw the creation of outreach programs in Toppenish and Omak,  that extended the opportunity for four-year college degrees to rural, minority, and low-income populations typically not served by higher education institutions.

Sister Ross Shared A Vision For An Underserved Population

That was the warm-up act.  When the sponsoring institution closed, she worked with two Yakama Nation women to found Heritage University and became its first president in 1982. She then oversaw its growth from 85 students to more than 1200 today.

Doctor Ross stepped down in 2010 and continues to live in Toppenish, where she is an active member of the Catholic religious order, the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary.  In 2021 Sister Ross completed a seven-year term as a half-time member of the order’s international leadership team.

The Ted Robertson Award honorees are selected by the Past Board Presidents/Chairs of the Chamber for their inspiring leadership, achievements, and commitment to the improvement of our community as businesspeople and citizens of the Yakima Valley.

The good Doctor, Sister Kathleen Ross certainly exemplifies the best of that intent.

Congratulations -- much deserved!

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