Spotlight: Willard Ross Dedicates Decades to WPU

November 29, 2021

Liz Rieth

Willard G. Ross, Chief Strategy and Talent Officer at Coastal Credit Union, courageously gives to WPU as a member of the Board of Trustees and Chairman of the WPU Foundation Board. Decades ago, Ross’ father supported Peace in similar ways. We caught up with Ross to learn more about why he courageously continues his support of Peace.

Willard G. Ross remembers in the 1960s, his dad rallying for what was then called Peace College. There was a chance the school would be merged with another, but he said his father was one of many to ensure William Peace University had its own place. His dad then helped bring in large donors to support the growing educational institution.

Ross wanted to continue his father’s legacy of dedication. He has served on the William Peace University (WPU) Board of Trustees for more than 20 years, working with four presidents.

“I honor my father now by doing what I can to keep WPU growing and prospering,” Ross said. “I am confident that WPU is well-positioned to thrive for the long term, and I am honored to continue helping.”

Living Courageously

Ross’ confidence in WPU embodies the campus focus of instilling courageous confidence in students. For Ross, courage means realizing one’s potential and stepping outside of your comfort zones.

He remembers building courageous confidence throughout his life. For example, as a junior in college, he studied in Germany. “It was a life-changing experience for me. Learning a new culture, taking classes in German, traveling in 17 countries, and being away from home for 12 months — it certainly built my courageous confidence,” he said.

“Later, I became President of a Savings and Loan Bank at age 32. I would not have been a candidate for that role without the courageous confidence I built in my late teens and 20’s from that experience and others.”

Focused on Education

Part of why Ross supports WPU is because he feels the faculty and staff and the immersive on-campus experiences help shape tomorrow’s leaders. To Ross, it is essential to support education that prepares students for a career.

“Education is important because it teaches and develops the critical thinking skills necessary to succeed in whatever career an individual pursues,” Ross said. “WPU’s internships and immersive learning opportunities provide practical experience that helps prepare students for their entry into the working world.”

About Ross

Outside of serving as a Board of Trustees Member and Chairman of the WPU Foundation, Ross is the Chief Strategy and Talent Officer at Coastal Credit Union. He has been in banking for more than 45 years with two credit unions, two banks, and two Savings and Loans.

In his free time, he is an avid upland bird hunter. Ross said he loves being in the wilderness with good bird dogs on the search for quail.