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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Robert Ross, Chairperson of the International University of Nursing

Robert Ross, age 91, is a role model for how the "fountain of youth" is work!  It keeps him active, vital, engaged, and with a sense purpose.  Ross has done some of his best and most important work since the age of 63, when most people would be considering retirement.

Today, Ross (an upper east side Manhattan resident) is the active Chairperson of the International University of Nursing (IUON.ORG).  IUON is headquartered in midtown Manhattan, New York City with its campus on the island nation of St. Kitts in the Caribbean.  Robert Ross launched this for-profit higher education institution about seven years ago as his entrepreneurial solution to the nursing crisis. 

Robert Ross says that there is a vast shortage of nurses throughout our nation. Demographics show that deficit this will grow worse during this decade because of the increased aging population and the increased pressure which the Obama administration's expanded health care services will mean with more care to millions of additional people.

Robert Ross' success here marks his second go-around in for-profit higher ed.  At age 63, incensed that the son of an employee was denied admission to medical school---Ross started his own.  Ross University School of Medicine and Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine has about 7,000 alumni. (Ross sold the schools in Year 2000 and today both are owned and operated by DeVry, one of America's largest private enterprise education systems.)

Ross, became a pioneer and maverick in the face of the American Medical Association's cartel influence to control the number of medical school graduates in America.  In 2010, more than 25% of all physicians practicing in the United States are foreign-trained. American-based medical schools with their off-shore campuses have gained in sophistication and respect.  So Ross as an off-shore medical school pioneer has lived to see where the AMA has adopted a much more tolerant, outreach approach to the graduates of these schools who have now become their members!

About two years ago, Robert Ross launched the University of Medicine & Health Sciences (UMHS.ORG) also at St. Kitts (and based in midtown Manhattan, New York City).  They will soon be having their first graduating class.  

 From the time he was a boy growing up in Detroit, he honed his entrepreneurship skills as a paper boy delivering both the *Detroit News* and the *Detroit Free-Press*.  In an effort to help provide food and necessities for his parents during, "The Great Depression", Ross sold so many newspapers, he was chosen as one of America's most outstanding paper boys, with a trip to Yankee Stadium to watch the World Series one year!

After military service in France during World War II, Ross opened a small chain of sundry stores in the mid-west.  His first monetary fortune came from obtaining the distribution rights for television sets in the late 1940's (similar to the Internet fifteen years ago).  For many decades, Robert Ross has been an international commodities trader with raw materials usually from third world countries to industrialized nations.  He was transacting business in places like the old Soviet Union and Red China---long before American corporations had a presence there.  We are pleased to present him as our latest Mover and Shaker! 

Peachy Deegan interviewed Robert Ross for Whom You Know.

Peachy Deegan: What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were in your youth?
Robert Ross: When I was a young man, I which I knew more about opportunities in real estate and venture capital.  As an entrepreneur I would have liked to participate in those areas.
What was it like to win that trip to Yankee Stadium from your paper route?
This was exciting for me because it marked the first time I traveled to New York City by myself, on my own!
What is your secret to staying young?
W-O-R-K because it keeps a person vital, active, engaged, and with a sense of purpose.
What would you say to those who are considering the medical profession?
Whether it is becoming a doctor or a nurse, these are two of the best careers among the employment spectrum today, especially when it comes to helping people.
We know Boston College has an excellent school of nursing.  Do you have an opinion on it?
From what I understand, Boston College, like many others with a nursing program is unable to handle the capacity of applicants who want to enroll for a nursing degree.

[Peachy Deegan has worked with Boston College Admissions since 1994; we know personally it is an extremely selective university with applicants who must meet its academic standards first, which we agree with.]
What enticed you to trade with the Soviet Union and Red China in past years?
Entrepreneurism.  I saw a future in our ability to transact business with these nations, the opportunity to make a breakthrough.
Are you still active in commodities and what are your current opinions of the commodities markets?
Yes, I remain active in this business.  It is one of my enterprises. Today these raw materials markets are very volatile and you can make a lot of money in them.  There are a lot of shortages which must be taken into account.
What or who has had the most influence on your pursuit of excellence?
No one in particular.  When I was the Chairperson of Ross University School of Medicine, Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine and now as the Chairperson with the International University of NursingI have had the opportunity to confer honorary degrees on a number of American Presidents, heads of state, and Nobel recipients.
What are you proudest of and why?
That I have been able to have a part in producing thousands of graduates who are now practicing medicine in the United States and internationally.
What would you like to do professionally that you have not yet had the opportunity to do?
Continue to build my latest project, the University of Medicine & Health Sciences (WWW.UMHS.ORG), a medical school which I established about two years ago.

What honors and awards have you received in your profession?
Two honorary degrees.

What is your favorite place to be in Manhattan?
Any fine Manhattan restaurant!
What is your favorite shop in Manhattan?
I have no patience when it comes to shopping.  Not something I like to do.

What is your favorite drink?
Coca Cola!
What is your favorite restaurant in Manhattan?
Spark's Steak House

What is your favorite Manhattan book?

If you could have anything in Manhattan named after you what would it be and why?
There is nothing I need named after me at this point.
What is your favorite thing to do in Manhattan that you can do nowhere else?
Attending concerts and Broadway shows, among some of the finest in the world.
What has been your best Manhattan art or music experience?
I absolutely loved "Phantom of the Opera".

Other than Movers and Shakers of course, what is your favorite Whom You Know column and what do you like about it?
Since I have found out about "Whom You Know," the content most interesting to me is the restaurant reviews like, 'PEACHY'S PICKS", ''TASTY TIDBITS", and "EAT DRINK & BE HEALTHY".  All this goes with my enjoyment of Manhattan restaurants and dining, fine food, along with my interest in staying active and healthy, now at age 91.

What else should Whom You Know readers know about you?
I am a great listener, and I feel that listening carefully to people gives me an important advantage in business.

How would you like to be contacted by Whom You Know readers?

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