ETSU’s Dr. Ronnie Gross receives Walter O. Mason Jr. Award


JOHNSON CITY (September 17, 2014) — Dr. Ronnie Gross, director of East Tennessee State University’s TRIO programs, has received the 2014 Walter O. Mason Jr. Award from the Council for Opportunity in Education.

TRIO programs are federal outreach and student services programs designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Gross became ETSU’s TRIO director in 1991. He has successfully generated over $30 million in Federal TRIO funding, leading to programs serving more than 29,000 individuals in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.

Under Gross’s guidance, ETSU has become one of a small number of universities with nine or more TRIO programs, including an Educational Opportunity Center, Educational Talent Search, Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program, Student Support Services, Upward Bound (three programs), Upward Bound Math/Science and Veterans Upward Bound.

Gross holds undergraduate and master’s degrees from Lincoln Memorial University, as well as a doctoral degree in educational leadership and policy analysis from ETSU.

The Council for Opportunity in Education is a nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding college opportunities for low-income and first generation students, veterans and students with disabilities.

The award is presented to honor outstanding educational opportunity professionals who exemplify the sense of leadership and ideals of the late Walter O. Mason Jr., who was a special assistant to the president at the University of Oklahoma. 

For further information, contact Gross at 423-439-4002 or

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